Feathered Bastard

J.T. Ready, the Early Years, Courtesy of His Hometown Newspaper

I knew Gilbert massacre shooter J.T. Ready was from Polk County, Florida, and I had contacted some relatives of his over the weekend seeking comment. (No luck, alas.) But until today, I could find no mention of him in his hometown newspaper, The Ledger, located in Lakeland, Florida.

Thankfully, Ledger reporter Elvia Malagon fills in some of the blanks. Seems Ready had a bad attitude as a young man as well. Here's an excerpt from Malagon's piece:

Cobb, 36, of Lakeland, said he knew Ready from ROTC and hung out with him a few times. He remembers Ready being interested in the military.

Cobb said he saw how enraged Ready became at the Lakeland students the night of the party.

"He was dead-set ready," he said. "Beat them up, basically."

Cobb said he broke ties with Ready after that night and was shocked to hear about last week's shootings.

Lyn Stevens, 50, still lives next door to the home Ready grew up in Lakeland.

Stevens said she didn't know Ready well, but knew he showed an early interest in guns and the military.

"He was strange," she said. "Jason was into guns really heavily."

Stevens said Ready joined the Marines but was later discharged.

You can read Malagon's story in full at theledger.com.

The 39 year-old anti-Semite once told me with a straight face that his mother was Jewish, though I always figured he was full of it. 

Malagon didn't score an interview with Ready's mom, so I guess a debunking of this improbable piece of Ready lore will have to wait.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons