We’ve been reading the words “white supremacist” quite a bit these last several days.
White supremacy by its nature is a creed of fear, paranoia and hatred that leads to all kinds of bizarre justifications. Once someone starts regarding members of a certain race or faith as inferior or subhuman, it’s possible for such a person to think of anyone else they believe is “not one of us” as suspect, too.
These are people who are afraid. Some are quite volatile.
So how did three adults find it safe to be in the same house as J.T. Ready, and to allow a 15-month-old child in it? We may never know. They are all dead.
Five people died in Ready’s Gilbert home early Wednesday afternoon. Police say that a domestic dispute of some sort was taking place before Ready, 39, killed his girlfriend, her daughter, 15-month-old granddaughter, and her daughter’s fiancé before killing himself.
News reports this week have told of military-grade weaponry, illegal for civilians to own, being found in the home. Amber Mederos, 23, had a 15-month-old girl, Lily.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Heather Morton, a friend of Amber Mederos, said Ready had said that the child was 50 percent ugly because Lily was half Hispanic. The report quoted Morton as saying the couple and child moved out a few months ago.
But on Wednesday, all three were in the home where Amber’s mother, Ready’s girlfriend, Lisa Lynn Mederos, 47, still lived with Ready.
It proved to be a fatal decision to return.
The Anti-Defamation League knows much about white supremacists. Bill Straus, ADL regional director, told me Friday that for several years his organization has been observing Ready and concluded early on that he was a white supremacist who advocated violence.
Reasonable people, even unreasonable ones, can differ on the issue of illegal immigration without defining the people involved as inferior beings. But that was what Ready believed, as according to earlier statements by the ADL, in May 2010 Ready joined other white supremacists in handing out a flier that “was clearly directed at Hispanics, particularly Mexicans. ‘When Whites are outnumbered,’ the flier read, ‘history shows that they have always been raped, murdered and massacred by the non Whites. If you can provide one logical reason why this won’t occur here as well we want to hear from you,’” according to the ADL.
Straus said Ready, who ran unsuccessfully for several offices, “loved the camera” and was able to spread the message of bigotry beyond the members of extremist groups.
“People need to get the point also that we are constantly cautioning about people like J.T. because he put his arms around the rhetoric surrounding the immigration issue,” he said. “He was able to make that crossover from extreme to mainstream. And when that happens it’s really dangerous.”
Straus and ADL regional board chair Miriam Weisman issued a statement Thursday saying that “while to our knowledge he (Ready) had no previous personal record of domestic violence, ADL has tracked many incidents of white supremacist violence against women in recent years, including domestic violence.”
The statement further said that Ready “subscribed to an ideology that embraces hate and violence. It is a culture which sees violence as a solution to social, political and even personal problems.”
In his conversation with me Friday, Straus said his organization’s investigative research director told him that violence against women is “way more prevalent in the white supremacist world than the general populace.”
Those for whom violence is an acceptable part of life may have less hesitation about it, Straus said.
“The more familiar you are with something the more comfortable you are. Whether it’s your creed or philosophy, the more comfortable you are with it,” he said. “Pick up a military grade weapon a few hundred times and you’re going to think less of holding up a military grade weapon.”
And whatever keeps the rest of us from pointing a gun at those we love and pulling the trigger, it appears that such restraint wasn’t there in J.T. Ready.
Read Tribune contributing columnist Mark J. Scarp’s views here on Sundays. Watch his video commentaries, “On the Mark,” on eastvalleytribune.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.