Minuteman "leader" Shawna Forde is headed to court next week to face first-degree murder charges in the shooting deaths of an Arivaca, Arizona, man and his ten-year-old daughter. The girl's mother was also seriously wounded in the racist attack on the Hispanic family. Ms. Forde and two male cohorts forced their way into the family's home on May 30th, 2009, claiming to be immigration officers.
Although the motive was at least partially racial, it appears that the man who was killed was suspected of being a drug trafficker, and Forde and her fellow thugs were hoping to score some cash or drugs in the assault as well.
Shawna Forde is one of Arizona's finest, if one considers the state's finest to include the likes of Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, State Senate President Russell Pearce, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, because, like them, she has built her reputation spewing racism and hatred and committing outlandish acts of oafish behavior. She came to Arizona from Everett, Washington, a few years ago to participate in Minuteman activities against Mexican immigrants. She was initially a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, a wacko group that had trouble adapting to Ms. Forde and her bizarre behavior. She eventually broke from them and formed a more wacko splinter group called the Militiamen American Defense (M.A.D.)
Although Shawna Forde apparently did not pull the triggers in the deaths of the father and little girl, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pina County alleges that she planned the attack and ordered the murders. She and each of her accomplices have been charged with first-degree murder.
Shawna Forde's trial begins this week in Tucson, and it is certain to reopen wounds that the community would like to see healed. One would hope that Arizona itself can eventually be allowed the time and space to heal, but many things will have to change there before the state can expect to be granted that luxury.