Brisenia Flores, 9, was killed on May 30, 2009, when a group led by anti-immigration fighter Shawna Forde raided the girl’s family home in the border town of Arivaca, Arizona. Allegedly, the attack was organized in the name of the Minutemen, a crew of vigilante border patrols, who hoped to steal money and drugs to fund their revolution against immigration. The Flores household was attacked mistakenly, for they had no drugs or money, but according to reports, Forde and her cronies commenced to shoot Brisenia’s father in the head, killing him, before wounding her mother and eventually, shooting Brisenia in cold blood. Minutemen honcho Shawna Forde’s trial is set to open this week. But why has this story not been more thoroughly covered by the media in the meantime?
Opening arguments began on Friday, according to a detailed report in The Daily Beast, which provides ugly, but necessary education on a trial many have been unaware of altogether. Also noted in the article is the similarity it bears to a recent national tragedy:
Adding another layer of heartache to the proceedings, the trial is taking place in Tucson, a city still grieving over the recent massacre that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
During a hearing last week, Forde’s lawyer noted similarities in the two tragedies: the slaughter of two 9-year-old girls (Christina-Taylor Green, in the Tucson rampage), accusations that the alleged killers had ties to right-wing extremists, and the involvement of the outspoken Pima County sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. Forde’s trial in Pima County Superior Court, in fact, was briefly postponed as a result of the Tucson killings.
Forde is facing first-degree murder charges, but claims she was not at the scene of the crime. Perhaps the dovetailing of this tragedy with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffors and Christina Taylor Green will bring a sad spotlight to the trial nationwide.
But the blog Crooks and Liars posits that Flores’ killing is being under-covered in the media because it does not fit with the narrative of the Minutemen as something of a “neighborhood watch” Then, of course, there’s the sticky subject of race: victims of color, eternally under-represented, especially on cable news.
We’re also looking forward to perhaps finally seeing some coverage of the case in the mainstream media — perhaps even Fox News, which has been assiduous in refusing to do so. I have to admit I’m baffled that, in a cable-TV business that prizes riveting audio snippets, it’s gotten so little attention elsewhere.