It was brutal, violent end to the life of one of Arizona’s most notorious anti-immigrant leaders, J.T. Ready — and he killed four people along with himself. From the Arizona Republic:
For several years, Arizona vigilante J.T. Ready conducted armed, civilian patrols along the U.S. border, urging the use of violence to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration.
On Wednesday, the former Marine, who was running for Pinal County sheriff, went on a shooting rampage in a sedate Gilbert neighborhood, killing four people before he took his own life, authorities believe.
And, of course, Ready’s colleagues were quick to blame others:
Ready, a prospective candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, was founder of U.S. Border Guard and a member of the Minuteman Project, both nationally prominent anti-illegal immigration organizations. At one time, he also belonged to the National Socialist Movement, which espouses White-supremacist theories.
On Wednesday afternoon, someone posted a message on Ready’s Facebook page: “Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered J.T. Ready and several of his friends and family. … This page’s admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible.”
The only update is that four people are dead at the hands of Ready. He murdered them.
There’s also a lot of talk about the relationship between Ready and former State Senator Russell Pearce, who is now the Vice Chair of the Arizona Republican Party. Initially, an aide to Pearce said he wouldn’t comment:
Party spokesman Shane Wikfors said Pearce would not comment on Ready’s death. “He’s not going to want to have anything to do with him,” Wikfors said. “We categorically, absolutely had nothing to do with him.
But, Pearce absolutely had something to do with Ready in the past, so had to issue a statement after all. Rather than rely on Pearce’s spin, Think Progress took a deeper look at the ties between Ready and Pearce:
Ready’s beliefs were extreme even among extremists. In 2007, for example, he wrotethat illegal immigration occurs because “negroids screw monkeys and rape babies in afreaka [sic]. Then stupid white man who licks kosher jew rear lets negroids in.” Yet Ready traveled surprisingly close to the center of power in his state. Ready claims he was a protégé to former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R), the author of Arizona’s harsh immigration law who was recently removed from office in a recall election, and there is ample documentation that the two men knew each other and that Pearce once supported Ready politically.
Pearce and Ready’s relationship stretches back at least to 2004, when Pearce ordained Ready as an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. By 2006, when Ready ran for Mesa City Council — a campaign that sputtered after the public learned that Ready was once court-martialed and kicked out of the Marine Corps — he received Pearce’s endorsement. Ready also claims that he was with Pearce’s son Josh when Josh Pearce got a tattoo of an iron eagle with a swastika on his neck and chest, but that he also talked Josh out of joining a skinhead group.
Pearce later tried to distance himself from Ready, but Ready insisted as recently as last year that Pearce was a seminal figure in his life. In an interview with a local Fox station, Ready called Pearce “a surrogate father” who “enlightened him,” that they spent time together at Pearce’s cabin, and that they were “around each other quite a bit.” In the same local news segment, Pearce admits that he had an association with Ready, but denies that it was as close as Ready suggests.