The Shawna Forde Trial: Will The Mainstream Media Bother To Notice?

There's another infamous shooting of a nine-year-old girl that is making headlines this week in Tucson. This time, we wonder if the rest of the media will bother to cover it.

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The little girl's name was Brisenia Flores. She lived near the border with her parents and sister outside the town of Arivaca, Arizona. On May 30 of 2009, a woman named Shawna Forde, who led an offshoot unit of Minutemen who ran armed border patrols for patriotic "fun". Forde's gang had decided to go "operational," which meant they concocted a scheme to raid drug smugglers and take their money and drugs and use it to finance a border race war and "start a revolution against the government". They targeted the Flores home, which had neither money nor drugs, based on dubious information. They convinced Flores to let them in by claiming to be law-enforcement officers seeking fugitives, then shot him point-blank in the head when he questioned them and wounded his wife, Gina Gonzalez. And then, while she pleaded for her life, they shot Brisenia in cold blood in the head. (Her sister, fortunately, was sleeping over at a friend's.)

You can listen to the wounded mother's 911 call here:

As Terry Greene Sterling at the Daily Beast reports, Shawna Forde's trial finally opens this week, having been briefly delayed by the Giffords shooting.

Already, we're getting some fascinating details about that riveting 911 call:

Gonzalez testified Tuesday she recognized Forde for several reasons. It was the first time she'd seen her in person since the incident, she wasn't wearing makeup (the women in the photo lineup were wearing makeup), she had the same smile and her hair was styled the same way.

As for the smile, Gonzalez said that after the shootings, the home invaders ransacked her house and then left. However, when she was on the phone with 911, she looked up and saw the woman standing on the threshold, smiling.

"She saw me standing there and her face dropped and she said 'Oh, (expletive)," Gonzalez said.

The woman went back outside and a few seconds later Gonzalez said she and the tall man exchanged shots. (Prosecutors think the tall guy was Jason Bush.)

We've been following the Forde case closely from the day it was first reported, in large part because it tells us so much about the mindset and behind-the-scenes operations of would-be border vigilantes.

Indeed, one of the things we look forward most to learning from this trial is the extent to which Minutemen cofounder Jim Gilchrist was involved: there is a considerable likelihood it will turn out he tipped off Forde that federal authorities were looking for her in connection with the murders.

We're also looking forward to perhaps finally seeing some coverage of the case in the mainstream media -- perhaps even Fox News, which has been assiduous in refusing to do so. I have to admit I'm baffled that, in a cable-TV business that prizes riveting audio snippets, it's gotten so little attention elsewhere.

But then, this case always cut against everyone's favorite "neighborhood watch" narrative. It's about time we laid that one to rest for good.

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