Jason T. (J.T.) Ready, a Phoenix-based neo-Nazi, is a well-known anti-immigrant extremist and white supremacist in Arizona. For several years, he has promoted an extreme ideology against illegal immigrants, even advocating "having a minefield across the border." Ready's recent activities have included vigilante patrols on the Arizona border with members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the country's largest neo-Nazi organization. Ready joined the NSM in 2008, but has since left the group. Prior to becoming an open neo-Nazi, Ready had been active in mainstream politics. He has been on the frontlines of the Arizona anti-immigrant movement since the early 2000s.
Early Anti-Immigration Activism and Alliances
In 2004, J.T. Ready emerged as a conservative Republican and an outspoken proponent of Protect Arizona Now (PAN), the first anti-immigration legislation in Arizona. The PAN legislation, which required individuals to produce proof of citizenship before they could register to vote or apply for public benefits, was drafted by Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, with whom Ready aligned himself sometime in the mid-2000s.
During the PAN campaign, the organizers appointed Virginia Abernathy, a member of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, to be their national spokesperson. Abernathy denied being a racist, but stated she just preferred to be "with my own kind." During this period, Ready was in the forefront of the PAN campaign, and was endorsed by PAN leadership during a failed run for the Arizona House of Representatives. His political aspirations also included a failed bid for a Mesa City Council position and a 2004 run for the U.S. Senate as a write-in candidate. Later in 2006, he successfully secured the position of Maricopa County Republican precinct committeeman, which he held until he was expelled for handing out anti-Semitic and racist literature at a Republican committee event.
Between 2004 and 2006, Ready got involved with various anti-immigrant extremist organizations he started or joined as a member/supporter. In 2005, Ready was a spokesman for the Minuteman Project, an armed vigilante group that patrolled the Arizona-Mexico border reporting undocumented immigrants entering from Mexico into the United States. Highly publicized, the Minutemen attracted a variety of anti-immigrant activists, including extremists ranging from militia members to white supremacists. During his time with the Minutemen, Ready produced a video advocating the placement of minefields across the border. In April 2006, Ready organized an anti-immigrant protest at the Mexican Consulate's office in Phoenix with United for a Sovereign America, an extreme anti-immigrant organization that hosted numerous anti-immigrant events, some featuring white supremacists as guest speakers.
Although Ready claimed to be a conservative Republican, his rhetoric became increasingly extreme and he developed ties to local white supremacists. However, Ready refrained from expressing his white supremacist views publicly.
From Mainstream to Extreme Neo-Nazi
In April 2007, a local newspaper exposed Ready as a neo-Nazi after his profile on NewSaxon, a white supremacist social networking site, was revealed. Even after being "outed" as a neo-Nazi, Ready continued to make public appearances, including sharing the podium with State Senator Russell Pearce during an anti-immigration protest at the Arizona State Capitol in June 2007. The protest attracted a crowd of approximately 350 people, many of whom cheered for Ready.
Two months later, in September 2007, Ready became an open neo-Nazi when he spoke at an NSM protest at the Mexican Consulate in Omaha,Nebraska. Prior to that event, he had attended or organized various white supremacist and neo-Nazi events, but kept those activities out of the public's eye.
In January 2008, Ready handed out racist and anti-Semitic literature at a Republican Committee meeting. Seven months later, three Arizona Republican Congressmen asked the chairperson of the Maricopa County Republican Party to remove Ready from office. When asked to respond to the Congressmen's actions, Ready stated, "They've sold out to the Zionists and the international bankers." Ready was kicked out of his position.
Ready soom emerged as an Arizona leader in the NSM. He participated in a high-profile NSM event in May 2009, when Latinos organized a "Walk for Respect" march to oppose the policies of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose hard stance against undocumented immigrants has led to accusations of racial profiling. Ready and other NSM members showed up at the march, gave Nazi salutes, shouted "Sieg Heil" and yelled derogatory remarks at the crowd while stomping on the Mexican flag.
In November 2009, Ready organized an NSM rally in Phoenix, calling it the"America First Rally," which attracted over 60 NSM members and supporters from around the country. The group marched to the Arizona State Capitol building to protest immigration.
In April 2010, five NSM members, including Ready, dressed in black uniforms with Nazi insignia and sporting weapons, appeared at a rally where Joe Arpaio was supporting a local candidate. The neo-Nazis reportedly said that they were there to show support for Arpaio. Both Arpaio and the candidate distanced themselves from the neo-Nazis.
The following month, in May 2010 (on Cinco de Mayo), when Mexican-Americans celebrate their heritage, the Arizona chapter of NSM, led by Ready, handed out "Report an Illegal Day" fliers. The flier promoted NSM's extremist rhetoric about non-white immigrants, and 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."
J.T. Ready's Final Years
In June 2010, after SB1070, the nation's most restrictive anti-immigration bill, became Arizona law, Ready formed a new extremist organization called the "U.S. Border Guard, " designed to be a border vigilante group conducting armed visits to the Arizona-Mexico border. Their first official "border operation" took place on June 20, 2010. Ready, accompanied by nine other heavily armed individuals, assembled to conduct a patrol operation he claimed would target "armed narco-terrorists….bringing loads of chemical warfare into our nation." He stated that the operation would be "like the Minutemen on steroids."
Ready tried to present himself as a "concerned" American who wanted to protect the country from drug dealers crossing the border, a position often belied by his consistently racist and anti-Semitic opinions and his statements about violence. His NewSaxon profile revealed Ready's true views. He called for people to "pick up AR-15's and join him in defending our nation against invasion…only extreme violence of force will keep us free."
Though Ready had left the NSM to concentrate on his new group, he retained his close connections with the neo-Nazi group, continuing to attend rallies organized by the NSM around the country, including NSM anti-immigration protests in Pomona, California, in November 2011; Phoenix, Arizona, in May 2010; and Los Angeles in April 2010. At the same time, NSM members also joined his vigilante border patrols, with some neo-Nazis coming from as far away as California to participate in his armed "operations."
To satisfy his constant cravings for publicity, Ready also announced in early 2012 that he would run for Pinal County Sheriff on the Democratic ticket. Although he had no chance of winning election, it would help keep him in the news.
Ready's last act occurred on May 2, 2012. When police from the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Arizona, responded to a shooting incident at the home of Ready's girlfriend, they found a grisly scene: four dead bodies and the body of a dying infant, all shot to death. In addition, they found the body of J. T. Ready. Though the investigation is ongoing, early reports have suggested that Ready took the lives of the four others before shooting himself.
If the investigation confirms the early reports, Ready will have left a double legacy: a career built on a foundation of racism, anti-Semitism and hate; and a final explosion of extreme violence directed at the people closest to him.