In the ignominious tradition of camera-hogging police chief Charles Moose (remember him?), Pima County (AZ) Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has become America’s new worst celebrity lawman. While he cuddles up to MSNBC’s entire Tea Party-bashing line-up, more facts about Tucson massacre suspect Jared Loughner’s encounters with law enforcement are coming out. We now learn: “The police were sent to the home where Jared L. Loughner lived with his family on more than one occasion before the attack here on Saturday that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and six others dead, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said on Tuesday…The news of police involvement with the Loughners suggests that county sheriff’s deputies were at least familiar with the family, even if the reason for their visits was unclear as of Tuesday night.”
Also still unclear: What Dupnik knew and when about Loughner’s history of making death threats.
Despite continued revelations from Loughner’s friends about his nihilist, Nietzschean nuttiness, Sheriff Dupnik is clinging to his Climate of Hate blame game — embarrassing his fellow lawmen, Arizona’s largest newspaper, and the rest of decent America with every new baseless utterance aimed at suppressing conservatives’ political free speech.
I had hoped against hope that President Obama, who heads to Arizona today to speak at a memorial for the massacre victims, would spurn Dupnik’s demagoguery. But as ABC News reported last night, Obama phoned Dupnik and offered him thanks for his service. New tone? With GOP-basher-in-chief Nancy Pelosi accompanying Obama tonight, not likely.
The worst sheriff in America
by Michelle Malkin
There are many heroes who showed indomitable courage and grace under fire during this weekend’s horrific Tucson massacre. Blowhard Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was not one of them.
If the White House has any sense, President Obama will stay as far away from the demagogic Dupnik and his media entourage when he visits Arizona on Wednesday to memorialize the victims. Indeed, if the White House is truly committed to unifying the country, it will explicitly disavow Dupnik’s vulture-like exploitation of the shooting rampage.
Within hours of the bloody spree, Dupnik mounted more grandstands than a NASCAR tour champion. A vocal opponent of S.B. 1070, the popular state law cracking down on illegal immigration, Dupnik immediately blamed Arizona for becoming a “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” To date, there is no public evidence that massacre suspect Loughner was in any way motivated by the national rancor over illegal immigration and the Arizona law (though open-borders extremists from the Justice Department on down most certainly wish it were so). When he complained about non-English-speakers, Loughner’s nonsensical diatribes were aimed at illiterates in general – not illegal aliens — and “grammar control” by the government.
No matter. Dupnik vehemently singled out “people in the radio business and some people in the TV business” like Rush Limbaugh for creating the New York Times-patented “Climate of Hate.” Sounding more like an MSNBC groupie (which, surprise, he confesses to be) than a responsible law enforcement official, Dupnik baselessly suggested that the shooting was part of a larger conspiracy and railed against “vitriol” from limited-government activists who are stoking “anger against elected officials.”
Sheriff Dupnik’s mouth has done more to stoke self-inflicted ire against elected government clowns than anything the Right could muster against him. Had the hyper-partisan Democrat been more in tune with his job than the media airwaves, the murderous, maniacal gunman might have been stopped.
As Sheriff Dupnik himself has now admitted, Loughner leveled death threats against others that were investigated by law enforcement – and then apparently shrugged off. Locals note that Loughner’s mother worked for the county and may have had some pull. Pima County College campus police reported five serious confrontations with the mentally unstable young man before he was kicked out of the school, which he decried as an unconstitutional “torture facility.” Classmates said they feared for their lives. His friends say he was a pot-head, a 9/11 Truther, and a UFO conspiracist so kooky that even flying-objects adherents spurned him.
Despite zero evidence that Rush Limbaugh, cable news, the Tea Party movement, or immigration enforcement activists had anything to do with accused shooter Jared Loughner’s warped attack, shameless Sheriff Dupnik shows no signs of shutting up.
The worst sheriff in America is walking in the footsteps of another infamous law enforcement official who put fame, ambition, and ideology above public safety: disgraced Montgomery County, Md. Police chief Charles Moose, the publicity-hungry Keystone Cop who grossly bungled the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002. Like Dupnik, Moose let politically correct assumptions drive his investigation and incessant press conferences. He insisted on hunting the wrong vehicle while the snipers’ Chevy Caprice (spotted by several witnesses and stopped at least 10 times for license-plate checks during the shooting spree) got away. The hapless Moose clung to the notion that white militants in a non-existent white box truck were to blame – leading to a string of unnecessary murders as the real shooters escaped capture for several deadly weeks. No matter. Chief Moose cashed in on his notoriety, inked a fat book deal, and beat a hasty retreat to Hawaii.
Sheriff Dupnik is now following the same ill-gotten path. But decent Americans understand that he and his civilian counterparts have traveled a smear too far. Despite desperate attempts by the progressive Left to pin the massacre on the “harsh tone” of its political opponents, a vast majority of Americans reject the cynical campaign to criminalize conservatism, suppress political free speech, and capitalize on a madman’s crime for electoral gain. At the risk of being accused of inciting violence, you might say they’ve done gone and shot themselves in the foot.