Arizona Minuteman Murder Conviction: Does Shooting a Nine-Year-Old Girl in the Head Count as “Activism”?

People have all sorts of ways of expressing their political views. According to a jury in Tucson, Shawna Forde expressed her opposition to illegal immigration by

overseeing the murders

of a 29-year-old immigrant and his 9-year-old daughter in 2009.


Associated Press

and other news outlets are referring to Forde as a “border activist.” While it is true that Forde was involved in various political efforts to restrict immigration, many of those efforts consisted of running around with guns, as part of a self-styled “Minuteman” group.

When people do that kind of thing in other countries, taking up weapons in support of their particular causes, we tend to refer to them not as “activists,” but as “militants.” And then when they use the weapons to murder somebody, sometimes we call them “terrorists.”