|Screenshot of J.T. Ready|
On May 2nd, 2012, J.T. Ready and four others were found dead in a massacre in Gilbert, Arizona, and police believe Ready shot the other four and then pulled the trigger on himself.
How could this happen?
His former political mentor, former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, offered this explanation in a statement given to the media:
"Regarding whether I knew JT Ready, I did, as did many of us who have been 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 as 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 life over, his heart changed, and he began to associate with the more despicable 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 angry with me and stayed angry with me, and it has been several years since I have had reason to speak with JT.
This sounds like exactly how Satan leads people away. A man accepts the light of Christ in his life, then Satan goes to work on him, leads him to situations and companions who behave in an un-Christlike fashion, they change his heart, and light is gradually replaced by darkness. One goes from being a champion for Christ to being a possible murderer. It does not happen abruptly, but incrementally, at a pace slow enough so that the target doesn't truly realize he's being led down the wrong path.
Until it is too late. The rest of the story appears after the jump:
J.T. Ready was born on February 17th, 1973. But we first pick up his story when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Although he achieved the rank of lance corporal, he was demoted in 1996 following his first of two court martial convictions. The first time, after being AWOL for eight days, he was convicted of unauthorized absence, failing to follow an order or regulation, and larceny and wrongful appropriation. He was demoted to private and jailed for three months. Later that same year, Ready was court-martialed again for conspiracy, assault, and wrongful solicitation and advice. He was found guilty, spent six months in detention, and received a Bad Conduct Discharge from the Marine Corps.
Despite this experience, he still took pride in his Marine Corps service, and retained a strong patriotic attitude towards America. Back in Arizona, he attracted the notice of State Senator Russell Pearce, who saw significant political potential in him. Ready got introduced to the LDS Church, was baptized sometime in 2003 (media sources do not provide the specific date), and was ordained an elder in July 2004. Mentored by Pearce, Ready first ran for the Arizona State House in 2004; one of his campaign goals was to defeat the threat posed by illegal immigrants to American health and culture. He was defeated. In 2006, Ready was elected to a post as GOP precinct committeeman in a west Mesa district, but was defeated in a subsequent campaign for a Mesa City Council seat.
J.T. Ready then switched from elective politics to advocacy politics, joining the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. But his lurch to the right continued, and he soon became a racial conservative. In September 2007, Ready appeared at a National Socialist Movement (NSM) rally in Omaha, Nebraska, giving a speech where he was billed as an “Arizona Republican activist". He then appeared at the now-defunct National Vanguard's Winterfest gathering in Phoenix in December 2007. Leading Republican politicos soon learned of his neo-Nazi associations and demanded everything possible be done to expel Ready from his position as GOP precinct committeeman. Ready solved their problem by not running for re-election as committeeman in 2008. But Russell Pearce found it necessary to sever political ties with Ready, which also severed the friendship.
But rejected by the Republican Party establishment, Ready decided to formally join the NSM. He appeared at several NSM rallies held in 2009 and 2010. Then he decided it would be more important to confront illegal immigrants directly on the routes they use to enter the U.S. So he left the NSM and organized the paramilitary U.S. Border Guard. To ensure that only serious people would participate and to keep everything legal, Ready established rigorous qualification requirements for people who were interested in joining him on patrols for illegal immigrants; only Tier I and Tier II members are considered qualified for combat patrols. Many patrols have been done during the summer in full combat dress in 100F heat, so only the fittest can be allowed to patrol. Whenever the U.S. Border Guard encountered suspected illegals, they would detain them, give them food and water if needed, and turn them over to immigration officials. There are no documented instances of the U.S. Border Guard abusing suspected illegal immigrants.
The Phoenix New Times reveals that Ready's interest and involvement in the LDS Church began to cool around the time he got involved with the NSM. Mike Cooley was Ready's bishop, and he said Ready seemed sincere at the time but that Ready is no longer active in the Church. He further stated that had the Church known about Ready's neo-Nazi sympathies, he would not have been accepted for membership. The New Times also quoted LDS spokeswoman Kim Farah as stating, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abhors hatred, intolerance, or abuse of any individual or group. We are all brothers and sisters, equal in God's sight as His children." For his part, Ready has told the New Times that he's a "recovering Mormon", but it has not been disclosed whether or not he's still formally on the Church's membership rolls. There are unsubstantiated rumors that Ready had started flirting with Christian Identity, and an unverified comment to a subsequent Phoenix New Times story implies Ready was excommunicated before Russell Pearce publicly disavowed him in 2008.
J.T. Ready was also in the middle of a campaign to become the new Pinal County Sheriff. He decided to run as a Democrat, and despite his white separatist and national socialist leanings, pledged to enforce the law equally among all constituents if elected. He also pledged to get deputies out looking more aggressively for illegal immigrants.
But then on May 2nd, 2012, it all came crashing down on J.T. Ready. When the smoke cleared, Ready, along with his girlfriend (and ex-wife), Lisa Mederos; her 22-year-old daughter, Amber; 22-year-old Jim Hoitt, Amber's boyfriend; and their 18-month-old baby, Lilly, lay dead. Police believe Ready shot the four of them and then turned the gun on himself because there was allegedly a domestic violence-related incident between Ready and his girlfriend earlier in the day; a new Arizona Republic report describes Ready as being "cruel and controlling" at home. However, police have not completely ruled out other possibilities, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has now responded to the scene to assist Gilbert police in their investigation. Update May 8th: All other possibilities have now been ruled out. KSAZ Channel 10 has now published the tapes of the 911 calls which show unmistakeably that J.T. Ready was the perpetrator -- and the ONLY perpetrator -- of the Gilbert Massacre which claimed five lives, including his own.
It is way too early to speculate on J.T. Ready's future in the spirit world; the cause of death has yet to be verified. But we as Latter-day Saints believe that those who commit capital murder (or premeditated murder) can only aspire to the telestial kingdom, the lowest of the three degrees of glory, in the next world. But even if it is proved that Ready pulled the trigger, that doesn't mean it was premeditated; it could have been a crime of passion. That's why it's easier to simply leave such decisions in God's hands and concentrate on perfecting our own lives. This whole case is a reminder that it is possible for Satan to deceive even the very elect.