From the Arizona Republic, written by Jim Walsh and Lindsey Collom -
A border militia leader on Wednesday shot and killed four people at a Gilbert home, including a toddler, before committing suicide, sources said.
Sources identified the shooter as Jason "J.T." Ready, a reputed neo-Nazi who made headlines when he launched a militia movement to patrol the Arizona desert to hunt for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
At least one person survived the shooting, and was being treated at Maricopa Medical Center.
Authorities have not identified the other victims, but reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Hugo Maderos said the victims were his ex-wife, Lisa; their daughter, Amber; Amber's boyfriend, whose name The Republic is withholding until his next of kin could be notified, and Amber's 18-month-old baby, Lilly.
First and foremost, my deepest condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ready's victims.
While today's events aren't really surprising to anyone who has followed Ready's activities over the years (one of my FB friends referred to him as a "ticking time bomb"), they are no less horrifying for the lack of surprise.
...Other events today would normally fall into the category of "horrific", but compared to Ready's mass murder...
Note: In addition to condolences and prayers, my apologies go out to the friends and family of Ready's victims. I planned to write about the following items before the news of Ready's mass murder broke. In no way do I intend to state or imply that the following items are as horrible as the killings in Gilbert.
- In an effort led by his allies in the legislature, Russell Pearce, former senate president and a friend and ally of Ready) is in line to receive more than $260K of taxpayer money to reimburse him for expenses related to the successful recall of him in November. A conference committee made of two Democrats and four Pearce supporters amended SB1449 to include a path to payment for Pearce.
Three are in this picture, from election night in November as the Pearce camp realized that the voters of LD18 hadn't fallen for the usual smoke and BS-storm -
Pearce is at the mic, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth is to his right (left in the pic as we are looking at it), Sen. Steve Smith is directly behind Pearce, Rep. Steve Montenegro is to Pearce's left (right, when viewing the pic). Also on the committee, but not in the pic: Sen. Andy Biggs. I'm not sure, but I think he was there that night, but just isn't in this particular pic. In this pic, however, are Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (pic right, gazing at Pearce), Rep. Carl Seel (behind Arpaio), and Rep. John Kavanagh (barely inside the pic on the right, sort of behind Arpaio).
So far, Steve Pierce and Andy Tobin, the current Senate President and House Speaker, respectively, haven't said much about the scheme to give Russell Pearce a s---load of taxpayer money, but since they select the members of the conference committees, my guess is that they are completely on board.
- The House gave final approval to HB2503, a measure that exempts companies from punitive damages relating to defective or inadequate products or services if those products or services meet government regulatory standards.
Left unsaid in the bill: The fact that industry lobbyists already write most regulations, watering them down to the point of being ineffective or even counter-productive.
- The Senate passed HB2571, Governor Brewer's plan to turn the state's merit employment system into a political patronage/spoils system designed to enrich her and her associates/handlers. It returns to the House for a rubber-stamp vote on a minor amendment passed by the Senate.
- Republican legislators are working to join lawsuits seeking to overturn the recently-precleared legislative district maps, saying that the maps don't do enough to protect minority voting power.
This in spite of the fact that minority legislators are saying "the maps are fine, and since when do you folks look out for minorities, other than looking to demonize them for fun, profit, and votes whenever you can?" (OK, they didn't use those specific words, but it's a good summary. :) )
...All in all, a bad day made tragic by events in Gilbert, which are still unfolding at this hour. Federal agencies are on the scene handling a hazmat situation. Apparently, Ready had a stockpile of chemicals and munitions at the house.
Ready (left) and Pearce, in happier days
Ready getting, well, *ready* for one of his immigrant
Ready in all of his glory
The above three pics courtesy the Phoenix New Times; the press conference pic courtesy a FB friend.