Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christine & Brisenia

Christine Taylor Green

With Mom

Ballet Dancer

John & Roxanna Green

Brisenia Flores

With dad, Raul... both Murdered

This is the type of story that is difficult for me to write because it angers me, and saddens me profoundly.
The nine years that she was with us were book-ended by two national tragedies. The day she was born the country was attacked by foreign interests flying two hijacked commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, and one into the Pentagon. The day she died was marked by the senseless slaughter of six people in Tucson, Arizona, with thirteen others injured by the fire of a lone gunman armed with a 9mm Glock semi automatic pistol fitted with a high capacity magazine of 33 rounds, one of those killed the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona. One of those critically injured, after being shot point blank in the head, a United States Congressperson, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Another of those killed, the little 9 year old girl herself, budding politician, Christine Taylor Green.
An A student, she had just been elected to the student council at her school.
"She was a good speaker. I could have easily seen her as a politician," her father said.
She loved baseball, indeed she came from a family of baseball players, her grandfather former Major League pitcher Dallas Green, was the team manager for the Philadelphia Phillies when they won the World Series in 1980. Accordingly she was the only girl on her Little League baseball team, "The Pirates." She played second base, as did I.
She was filled with life and curiosity. She loved animals, danced ballet, Hip Hop, and Jazz. She was a gymnast. She liked to ride on horses, and swimming with her 11 year old brother, Dallas.
"She kept up with everyone, she was a strong girl, a very good athlete and a strong swimmer," said her mother, Roxanna Green. "She was interested in everything. She got a guitar for Christmas so her next thing was learning to play guitar."
She sang in her church's choir, and had recently received her first Holy Communion.
"She was born back east and Sept. 11 affected everyone there, and Christina Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her," her mother said.
She'd already let her parents know where she planned to go to college, Penn State, and have a career that involved helping those less fortunate than her.
Christina often repeated the same phrase to her mother: "We are so blessed. We have the best life."
"She was all about helping people, and being involved. It's so tragic. She went to learn today and then someone with so much hatred in their heart took the lives of innocent people."
What Roxanna is talking about was the "Congress on Your Corner" meeting with constituents being held Saturday morning on January 8th, by Rep. Giffords in the parking lot of a local Safeway supermarket. A neighbor of Christine, Susan Hileman, was going to the event and she invited the 9 year old. Christine being Christine naturally jumped at the opportunity to learn more about politics and went along.
Giffords had set up a table outside the store and about 20 to 30 people were gathered around her when a gunman, 22 year old Jared Lee Loughner, a high school drop out and armed services reject with strange political views and apparent psychological problems, drew a pistol and shot Giffords in the head.
He subsequently began to shoot randomly into the crowd, hitting young Christine in the chest one time. Loughner was able to empty the large magazine attached to his pistol. When attempting to reload, he dropped the new magazine and a bystander grabbed it. Another bystander hit him over the head with a folding chair, then he was tackled to the ground by a 74 year old man, a retired colonel who had been shot himself. The police arrived within 5 minutes and took charge of the gunman.
A married doctor and nurse, who had been shopping in the store attended to Christine until the paramedics arrived to take her to the University Medical Center in Tucson. One of Giffords's interns, Daniel Hernandez Jr. applied pressure to the gunshot wound on the Representative's forehead and made sure she did not choke on her own blood. He has been credited with saving Giffords' life.
Christine was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Five people died at the scene, including Chief Judge John Roll.
Susan Hileman, who had brought Christine, had been shot four times and is recovering after surgery.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, after undergoing extensive neurosurgery, is making remarkable progress, and has since been moved to a rehabilitation center in Houston.
Five days later Christine was buried after a funeral Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, near the strip mall where the she lost her life.
Organs donated from Christine's body have saved the life of another little girl in Boston according to her father, John.
The Green family, and Daniel Hernandez attended the State of the Union address last night at the invitation of President Obama and his wife Michelle.
This is what the President said about Christine at a eulogy for the victims of the shootings while in Arizona:
Jared Loughner has since pled "not guilty," on charges of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, and the murder of two of her aids. He will face further state charges. He has been uncooperative with authorities and has refused to speak to them, so the motive for the shootings remain unknown. In any case he is a sociopathic monster that deserves nothing from the humanity that he abandoned.
Former Governor Sarah Palin's political aspirations may have been permanently thwarted because of the shootings, due to a map she had posted to her Facebook account which depicted the cross-hairs of a rifle or gun sight used on a map to designate the offices of politicians who have voted in Congress on issues she does not agree with, one of those offices being that of Rep. Giffords.
The January 8th shootings in Tucson have of course gained national attention and mourning in a large part due to the injuries sustained by Rep. Giffords, and the murder of Judge Roll and Christine. Currently there is another murder trial that will begin this week in that same city which is not getting the attention it deserves. A murder involving another little girl, and her father.
Brisenia Flores, all of nine years old, a girl with an artistic bent with long, curly brown hair, who had made her mother several pairs of earrings, strung on a stand made of glue and popsicle sticks, only days before she was killed.
On the early morning of May 30th, 2009, Brisenia's father, Raul answered a knock at his front door to find a man and woman there who claimed to be law enforcement in search of fugitives. Minutes later the man had shot Raul in the head, killing him. He then shot Brisenia's mother, Gina Gonzalez, three times, who fell to the floor and pretended to be dead.
Brisenia looked to the gunman and asked, "Why did you shoot my mom?" Her last words.
The man put a gun to her head, fired two rounds, and killed her.
Shawna Forde, a strident nativist and ex-Minuteman militia member who had been asked to leave that movement due to her extreme behavior, and Jason Eugene "Gunny" Bush, a suspected serial killer, and another man are facing trial for the murder of Raul and Brisenia. Shawna'a trial begins this Friday. It has been surmised that the three had come to the Flores-Gonzalez home in order to rob them of money and drugs in order to continue to finance their Minuteman splinter group. There were no drugs or money for them to take though. It is said that Jason was acting under the orders of Shawna. They are both inhuman monsters.
Many people are blaming the current anti-immigration rhetoric in the halls of Congress and the media, especially in Arizona where the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act had been signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer the previous month, for creating an atmosphere ripe for violent actions against Hispanics, causing racist extremists to believe they were somehow justified to act as law enforcement, and to act out their anti-immigrant fantasies.
But many are concerned that the murders and upcoming trial has not garnered enough national attention, especially within the right-wing media which is responsible for most of the rhetoric to begin with. Placing the spotlight on these murders and the trial after all might preclude this kind of thing from happening again.
But who knows? All I know is that I sincerely mourn and cry for the lost lives of these two precious little girls who were so filled with life, and had so much to live for and look forward to. They were taken from us, due to unimaginably horrendous, stupid acts of senseless violence, much, much too early. May they both rest in peace.
Gina Gonzalez, Brisenia's mother, survived the attack of May 30th. She has one thing left to be thankful for. Her other daughter, Dursema, was visiting her grandmother at the time of the shootings, and was spared.
Yet Gonzalez says Dursema, “never smiles anymore.”

Update for this post dated 2-15-11: Shawnda Forde was found guilty of shooting nine year old Brisenia Flores twice in the head at close range, murdering her and her father in a 2009 attempted robbery. Today, a Tucson jury will decide Forde's punishment, which could range from life in prison to the death penalty, reports the Arizona Star.
Further update 2-22-11. Shawnda Forde was sentenced to death today in a unanimous jury decision, for the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores.
There is some justice in this world.

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