A project of the Center for Community Change

Right wingers rally to support Minutemen accused of murder, who will support the real victims?

A guest post from Mary Moreno of the Center for Community Change.

It’s all a big conspiracy, apparently, the murder charges against Shawna Forde. So says a new Web site launched in her defense.

Shawna, for those of you unfamiliar with her case, stands accused of murdering 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul Flores, in Pima County Arizona, in what police have described as a home invasion. The district attorney there recently announced he was seeking the death penalty for Shawna and her two accused co-conspirators.

Shawna also happens to be a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, a one-time Minuteman member and border vigilante. After her arrest, nearly all her former associates wisely distanced themselves from her. But now, bizarrely enough, some have come back to her defense, launching a Web site that tries to paint Shawna as a victim!

Absurd is the first word that comes to mind. The Web site tries to sell this notion that Shawna is being targeted because of her anti-immigrant views, for being “patriotic.” That’s idiotic! The site also claims the case is not about murder, but about attempts to “marginalize the majority of patriotic Americans who believe in American values and sovereignty.” Two people are dead, so yes, it is about murder. Do these people really believe there is a massive conspiracy involving law enforcement and the district attorney’s office? These people are nuttier than they’re given credit.

The Web site was started by Laine Lawless, 59, who according to the Arizona Daily Star is a longtime anti-immigrant activist who founded the local group Border Guardians in 2005 and initiated the burning of Mexican flags in Tucson in 2006.

She’s trying really hard to make Shawna the victim. On the “politics” page of the Web site, Lawless writes, “Shawna is being targeted by design simply because she is a Caucasian woman who’s been doing a man’s job.” Cue the violins.

The site doesn’t present any evidence of Shawna’s innocence, and really, it isn’t up to any of us to decide that. But the idea that this whole thing is a conspiracy is preposterous, and holds as much water as all the lies spouted by the anti-immigrant movement.

Shawna and her co-defendants will get their day in court. A jury of their peers will decide their fates. But Shawna a victim? Get real.

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