The Cowardly Death of Arizona Racist J.T. Ready
Last week I offered Russell Pearce’s anti-Mexican jihad as an example of the kind of overt racism that is no longer tolerated in politics. Now just a few days later we learn that J.T. Ready, Arizona’s leading white supremacist, killed himself. Along with, he murdered his girlfriend, her 2- year-old daughter, her adult daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend.
Ready was a protégé of Russell Pearce. Though Pearce has consistently claimed to have disavowed him in recent years, Ready called Pearce his “substitute father.” Last year, Pearce was recalled by his conservative Republican district for his stewardship of legislation that many have called racist (including SB1070, Arizona’s “papers-please” law.) Ready was prominent at pro-Pearce rallies leading up to the recall election.
Southern Poverty Law Center named J.T. Ready as one of the national leaders of America’s Neo-Nazi movement. He’s the founder of US Border Guard, an armed vigilante group that doesn’t actually patrol the border, but does sneak around (wearing camo and ghillie suits) in the Pinal County desert, some 140 miles to the north. He had recently threatened to run for sheriff of Pinal.
Ready was also the subject of speculation that he was involved in last month’s ambush killing of two illegal migrants. They were murdered in the Pinal County area where he was known to “patrol.”
J.T. Ready embodied the vile white-supremacist underbelly of Arizona’s anti-migrant movement, consistently promoting the notion of white supremacy and Neo-Nazi beliefs while pretending to stand for law and order. He was anti-Jew, anti-Latino, and pro-white – and he spoke adoringly about Adolf Hitler on at least one occasion.
He and his ilk are part of the same continuum of racial opportunists as some of Arizona’s top lawmakers, including Pearce, Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. All of them operate from the same playbook of imaginary threats:
“Sheriff Arpaio continues to crackdown on immigration and will not be deterred by activist groups and politicians for [sic] enforcing all immigration laws.”
— Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
“This is the minuteman project on steroids. We’ve got people with assault weapons. We will use lawful, deadly force when appropriate.”
— J.T. Ready, reported by KOLD News 13 via Southern Poverty Law Center