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Pearce releases statement on Ready shooting

In light of a perceived friendship between former Arizona Senate President
Russell Pearce and slain neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, Pearce released the following
statement late Wednesday night.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the surviving family members and
of the victims of today’s horrific and evil act. There are no words to
adequately express the sadness we share, as a community, with those

“I spent much of my day resisting efforts by those in the media to get me to
make a statement. Today’s events have nothing to do with me and no
connection to me. Yet TV news crews started coming to my home seeking
comments and my telephone rang nonstop with calls from those who were
desperate to score the ugliest of political points off of this tragedy. Now
my name is being mentioned in coverage and I have no choice but to

“Regarding whether I knew JT Ready, I did, as did many of us who have
involved in Mesa politics for a long time. When we first met JT he was
fresh out of the Marine Corp and seemed like a decent person. He worked
a telephone fundraiser for Christian and pro-life groups, he dated the
daughter of one of our District 18 members, and his attitudes and spoken
opinions were good and decent. At some point in time darkness took his
over, his heart changed, and he began to associate with the more
groups in society. They were intolerant and hateful and like so many who
knew him from before, I was upset and disappointed at the choices he was
making. I worked with others to have him removed from his local position
within our Republican Party because there has never been and will never be
any room in our Party or our lives for those preaching hatred. He was
with me and stayed angry with me, and it has been several years since I
had reason to speak with JT.

“In the past several years the local media has worked hard to try to tie me
to the JT Ready that preached hate, and that is nothing more than a lie.
When I learned the truth about him, I made it clear how wrong I thought it
was and I worked to remove him from our Party. Yet the lie is told and
retold over and over again. It is the ugliest form of politics. The most
radical groups I have ever belonged to are the Boy Scouts of America and
Fraternal Order of Police, and in my 65 years in Mesa, as a law enforcement
deputy, as a judge and as the head of state agencies, I have never been
accused of mistreating anyone or of unfair conduct toward anyone I have
associated with, hired or supervised.

“Finally, while I am frequently critical of the job the mainstream media does
in pursuing a political agenda instead of the truth, today’s behavior is the
most reprehensible that I have ever witnessed. On the very day that these
unspeakable crimes take place, editors and producers all over town are
making a concerted effort to make the story about a politician whose
conservative politics they disagree with.

“Today, the Devil won and claimed the soul of one young man and the lives
others, including the most innocent of all, a child. Our thoughts and
prayers are with the four beautiful souls that are now in God’s hands. We
pray that He accepts them into his kingdom and that He grants comfort
solace to the friends and surviving family.”