Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik may pay the price for going off half-cocked. Whoops, can’t say that any more. May pay the price for shooting off his mouth? Nope, can’t say that either.
One thing you can say about the Tucson sheriff who was quick to jump to conclusions about the motivation behind the shootings two Saturdays ago that killed 6 and wounded 14 is that he may not be sheriff much longer.
Dupnik achieved national fame following the January 8 shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hospitalized, but it was not for his crackerjack police work. It was for his gratuitous slur on the presumed perpetrators—the Tea Party—and on the state of Arizona, which he summarily dismissed as “a mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
Now group opposed to illegal immigration has mounted an effort to recall the sheriff in a special election. The Washington Times quotes one of the sheriff’s detractors as saying:
I haven’t been a fan of Dupnik’s for a long time, but this really was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He’s law enforcement. We expect ‘the facts, ma’am,’ not his opinion. He leans far left, always has, and frankly, people have had enough.
But Dupnik also has his share of admirers. A Facebook fan page titled “Clarence Dupnik is my Hero” has 9,582 who followers. The page’s description reads:
He is not afraid to call the bullies out on their part in this mess. Civility without hate speech is our mission!
To be sure, there is much to revere about free speech and upholding any citizen’s First Amendment rights. The question that hangs on Dupnik’s remarks, however, is not one of free speech but of responsible speech. If his screed had led to further violence by one of his fans eager to settle the score, would the consequences not have been on Dupnik’s head?
Another factor that suggests the sheriff may not be going anywhere soon is Pima County’s left-leaning proclivities. In Arizona, which is predominantly a red state, Pima County is something of a political outlier. Dupnik has never lost an election, nor has he ever been in a close race. Says Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers:
He wins by huge margins. He is a widely respected and beloved public official. You want to run for office in this town, you want a picture of Clarence Dupnik standing next to you.
Just make sure the picture doesn’t have a crosshairs or bulls-eye superimposed over it.
- Authorities have obtained video of Tucson shootings
- Diary of a madman: Police release Jared Loughner’s “genocide school” video
- Tucson shooting survivor arrested after making death threat to tea partier
- American history and the fallacy that all violence emanates from the right
- The shooting in Tucson and the political blame game
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