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Methinks The Sheriff Doth Protest Too Much

One of the first voices out of Tucson after the shooting was Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who wasted no time in talking about how the toxic political climate was to blame for the atrocity. When pressed, he couldn't cite specific proof of the causal relationship, but he was certain.

Well, we now just might know why he was so eager to point fingers -- he seems to have a hell of a good incentive to make certain those fingers point in places other than at him.

The early reports about the shooter (no, I will NOT use his name) from those who know him talked about how they all got bad vibes off the guy, how they were convinced he was dangerous, how they all feared that some day he'd be the nut with a gun who goes on a shooting spree. Even his college professor was frightened of him, to the point where the professor persuaded the college to kick him out -- and not return without a note from a psychiatrist.

At that point, I commented (elsewhere) that perhaps the college has some moral (but not legal) culpability for not making more of their concerns. They saw something, but didn't say something.

But if they had some responsibility, then Sheriff Dupnik holds a hell of a lot more. Because the shooter gave off a LOT of warning signs that he was heading for a major breakdown. He had been caught making death threats, and those had been reported to his department.

And Dupnik did nothing. At least, nothing official, that might have kept the shooter from owning a gun and ammunition.

Why would he do that? Well, one thing that certainly has been a factor in other cases is a bit of cronyism. The shooter's mother is an official with the Pima County Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division. As Tom Lehrer put it so memorably in "My Home Town,"

I remember Sam, he was the village idiot.
And though it seems a pity, it
Was so.
He loved to burn down houses just to watch the glow,
And nothing could be done,
Because he was the mayor's son.

Did Dupnik give the shooter a pass from the sort of attention and scrutiny that most people who make death threats? And did the shooter's mother's position influence that?

I dunno. But there's a hell of a lot more here worth looking into than some Arizona nutjob punk's mythical ties to an East Coast group, or how some 22-year-old, parents' basement-dwelling, pot-headed, occult-dabbling, flag-burning, black-wearing 9/11 Truther who denounced people for being "stupid" and "ignorant" would be so strongly influenced by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.


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Comments (32)

This reminds me a lot of th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

This reminds me a lot of the Amy Bishop incident. She murdered her brother and was a seriously and dangerously disturbed individual. But her mother worked for the local government (I think it was the Township) and a call was made and everything just went away.

Here we see Jared Loughner making death threats and mom works for the city and, miracle of miracles, all the problems are swept under the rug.

This is not a right or left issue this is an issue of political cronyism.

But in light of this it does make Sheriff dipstick's comments on the evening of the event look to be very self serving. What better to do than to distract everyone's attention with some bogus and unsubstantiated allegations? The sheriff at that point knew who it was and probably knew that he was sending death threats to people in the community. It sure looks like the sheriff had something to hide and wanted to make sure people were focused on something else other than this kids mental problems.

"The kind of rhetoric that ... (Below threshold)
skip j:

"The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said today. "[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences."

Clarence Dupnik,



"There are a whole lot of people in this country who are very angry about the politics of people like Gabrielle," Dupnik said. "There was a lot of vitriolic statements made night and day on radio and TV about her support of health care, about her support of some of the other things, and some of the vitriol got .... a lot of people agitated. But you took the words out of my mouth...you're talking about irrational behavior here."

Kelly asked if there was anything the sheriff had discovered in his investigation that suggested that Loughner was "listening to radio or watching television and was in any way inspired by what he heard or saw?"

Dupnik said that he did not yet have any such evidence, but that the investigation had only just begun.

Clarence Dupnik,



Yes, I'm not as concerned a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Yes, I'm not as concerned about the pathological homicidal maniac being personally influenced by the far right or the far left if you will. The guy is absolute nut job,-perhaps the tea party or a religious cult even or a socialist or communist party might have given him some direction or saved him. It is all the others who could have helped this wacko who did nothing, including the police force. Surely, if ever someone was a danger to others or if anyone ever needed counselling, it was him. Pehaps they were intimidated by the culture down there, or he didn't stand out so much, which is perhaps more scary, or we have become so jaded that he isn't considered anyone's responsibilty.

The Sherrif simply remember... (Below threshold)
Greg Author Profile Page:

The Sherrif simply remembered the method used by Ray Nagin and Governor Blanco of Louisiana during hurricane Katrina. If you can implicate a hated conservative target the media will gladly follow your lead and give you a near total pass in their zeal to take down someone, anyone, on the political right. Not a bad strategy really.

I was concerned that there ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I was concerned that there were all these signs in the classroom that he was seriously disturbed and nothing was done.

Now to hear that he was making death threats to people in the community and that every opportunity to get him help was seemingly deflected by a parent with political connections just turns that concern into anger.

This kid was a mess and obviously people knew it and did nothing. If this information turns out to be true then the parents (and the Sheriff's office if they did run interferrence for Loughner) are open to a really expensive wrongful death suit. 6 of them.

Having viewed Dupnik severa... (Below threshold)

Having viewed Dupnik several times on TV while in Tucson, he's a political hack. However, I doubt any political cronyism was taking place.

The Supreme Court has made several decisions over the years, which essentially say 'Americans have the right to shoot their mouths off'.

If I tell you Jay Tea, "I'M GONNA FUCKING KILL YOU!" - is that a 'threat'? (short answer, yes)

However, you tell a cop that I said that - even in front of numerous witnesses, the chances of anything being done are NON-EXISTENT and NONE. Why?

Because the 'threat' is general in nature with no nexus for action. In other words, the threat is not based on some requirement (that you stop posting on Wizbang; that you stop supporting DADT, etc.). Not only that, but do I have the present means and ability to perform the act? Seeing as I live on the opposite end of the country from you - I'd rate the chances as pretty thin.

Actually, I could be right next to you and say "I'm gonna blow your head off with a freaking bazooka." Threat? (yes) - next question - DO I HAVE A BAZOOKA? (no) Again 'present means and ability'.

So the shooter may have made 'threats', and they MAY have been reported. But those 'threats' are going to have to be evaluated based on parameters set by the courts.

The guy's a nut case, yet it appears that he's never been declared such by a court. Seems EVERYONE knew he was a nut case, but once again, THE SYSTEM FAILED. After all, any liberal worth their salt will tell you that "nut's got rights!" - up to and including NOT taking their medication.

We don't 'warehouse' mental cases anymore. California opened the doors to their asylums in the early '60's. As long as someone could find shelter (an underpass), clothes (Goodwill Bin) and food (McDonald's dumpster - there was no reason to 'restrict their freedom'.

We're so enlightened today on how we treat our mentally ill.

Steve,All the commen... (Below threshold)
jim m:

All the comments from classmates and teachers indicates that this kid stood out alarmingly. When the teacher is saying that he feared to turn his back on the kid because he was afraid that he might get shot and the classmate is emailing that she is afraid he will bring a gun to class and shoot everyone so she sits by the door so she can get out fast, that is a sign that he stands out.

Don't believe the self serving crap from Sheriff Dufus that everyone in AZ is a rabid racist. It really is just self serving crap and today he admited he has nothing to justify his statements and that it was just an opinion.

Loughlin stood out. He could have been stopped.

In Arizona what role does t... (Below threshold)

In Arizona what role does the county sheriff play in getting a gun permit? That would be interesting to find out.

Oh, one other thing I forgo... (Below threshold)

Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. NO REAL COP would ever comment on a suspect's mental state outside of a court of law.

Years ago, while working the front desk one evening, a guy came in the lobby with a large knife and covered in blood. Said he'd just killed his wife - and went on about space ships, Martians, flashing lights......etc. He was booked for murder when it was confirmed his wife had been slashed to death.

Could I have committed him for a 72 hour psych eval, seeing as he 'was a danger to himself or others'? Yes - but he'd committed a crime and it wasn't for me to hand him a defense for the act.

Defense Attorney: "Ladies and gentleman of the jury, my client was so mentally impaired that even a dumb flat-foot cop recognized it."

No - mental culpability is established in COURT, not be a loud-mouth senile old man posing as a Sheriff.

Funny how todays comments f... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Funny how todays comments from Sheriff dipstick describe himself to a tee:

"...in my judgment, he’s irresponsible; uses partial information, sometimes wrong information. Attacks people, ... and that kind of behavior, in my opinion, is without consequence and I think he’s irresponsible,”

Of course he is once again claiming that Rush Limbaugh is responsible for the shooting. Oddly enough Rush was 1000's of miles away and the leftist pothead that committed the crimes most likely never listened to him.

But it is ironic that the Sheriff should now be the one casting out baseless accusations, without a shread of evidence, in the most irresponsible and imoral way.

GarandFanI understan... (Below threshold)

I understand that all threats can’t be thoroughly investigated and and\or prosecuted. Most are said in the heat of the moment and are not considered legit threats. That doesn’t mean others haven’t and such threats have resulted in successful prosecution. When a person is reported several times especially by different people it warrants an investigation.

Specifics on this case are not known so I not willing to pass pass judgment on it.

The death threats are anoth... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The death threats are another issue here. A serious pointed death threat is a crime in Arizona. What did the police do after receiving five of them from this maniac, and a generalized threat death against the police, themselves? What more did they need? They should have some mechanism for keeping an eye on him, and then if he purchases one of those Glock specials? Are they just so overwhelmed down there?

"In Arizona what role does ... (Below threshold)

"In Arizona what role does the county sheriff play in getting a gun permit? That would be interesting to find out."

Arizona has passed what they call “Constitutional Carry.” That means anyone who can legally own a firearm and is 21 or older can carry it concealed without any type of permit/license. This new law became effective July 29, 2010.

There are 'restricted areas' where you CANNOT carry a weapon - polling places on election day; schools, bars, etc. And a business owner can demand you leave if they do not want you carrying inside their business.

The law was passed, in part, because of asshole sheriffs like Dupnik. If you were political pals, you got a CCW permit, if not, you were out of luck.

Seeing the right wing blovi... (Below threshold)

Seeing the right wing bloviators hanging the sheriff in effigy for pointing out the obvious truth is predictable -- as predictable as the outcome of Sarah Palin's hit list resulting in violence.

After all - the Tea Party Masters have now put the sheriff on their own hit list.

TPN founder Judson Phillips, in an article linked off the e-mail "The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the left's attack on the Tea Party movement," described the shooter as "a leftist lunatic" and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik as a "leftist sheriff" who "was one of the first to start in on the liberal attack." Phillips urged tea party supporters to blame liberals for the attack on centrist Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot through the head and is now fighting for her life, as a means of defending the tea party movement's recent electoral gains.

Tea Party Masters say "Bark" - and the tea Party followers say "Woof".

But don't think for a second that there is a connection between the Sheriff speaking his mind and him now becoming a target of the Tea Party movement -- naw, move along - that's conspiracy thinking. Jay Tea just happened to decide to write about the sheriff - it's not because someone told him to do it - oh no...

Thanks, GarandFan. What is ... (Below threshold)

Thanks, GarandFan. What is necessary for someone to not be legally allowed to have a weapon once they're 21?

That's why a lot of places ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

That's why a lot of places have "Shall issue" laws to keep the Sheriff from being arbitrary in the issuance of permits.

And there wasn't anything special about the glock. It was just a regular Glock19 with an extended mag. Those mags have always been available even during the clinton assault weapons ban. Older mags that were manufactured befoer the ban were still legal and still available, even though they were more expensive.

The issue is that if the sheriff's dept knew he was a dangerous head case and they covered for his family then he would not have developed the record that would have potentially prevented him from getting a gun. If anyone who received a threat had taken it to the point of getting an order of protection he would never have gotten the gun legally.

"Specifics on this case are... (Below threshold)

"Specifics on this case are not known so I not willing to pass pass judgment on it."

Wayne, my point was that the "threats" mentioned in news articles, at this point, have no meaning.

As you say, SPECIFICS are not known.

"threats have resulted in successful prosecution"

Yes they have. When 'conditional', 'immediate', 'specific', AND the suspect has 'the present means and ability' to do so.

The courts have set up the conditions.

"What is necessary for some... (Below threshold)

"What is necessary for someone to not be legally allowed to have a weapon once they're 21?"

The standard rules: If you're a convicted felon, or have been convicted of certain violent misdemeanors.

In California, when I retired in 2005, in addition to being a felon, there were also 26 different misdemeanors which would also preclude you from a firearm.

"Seeing the right wing blov... (Below threshold)

"Seeing the right wing bloviators hanging the sheriff in effigy for pointing out the obvious truth...."

Hey asshole, you set a pretty low standard for establishing "truth".

Thanks again. It will be in... (Below threshold)

Thanks again. It will be interesting to see what additional details come out about his history of making death threats.

Woop,The Sheriff i... (Below threshold)
jim m:


The Sheriff is supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer in the county and it is highly inappropriate for him to be speculating on motive especially when there is no evidence to support his assertions.

All criticism of him in this regard is quite warranted.

And nor has he pointed out an "obvious truth". All he has done is repeat a political attack line that has been shown to be a bunch of crap. There has been no link demonstrated between any political rhetoric and this kid's actions what so ever. The only obvious truth on display here is that he is an insensitive political hack angling for national media exposure. Now the suggestion that he has something to gain by diverting attention from the incompetence of his own department suggests that his motives for making his bogus political charges might possibly be even more base than anyone thought.

If what has been said is true, that the Sheriff's dept talked people out of pressing charges against this kid, then his statements become a pattern of distraction in an attempt to cover up his department's malfeassance.

If they talked people out of pressing charges because the mother worked for the county then this becomes a major issue and suggests possible civil liability for those who protected this kid.

Sounds like Pima County She... (Below threshold)
John S:

Sounds like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is personally culpable in these murders. As for Loughlin, we could save a lot of grief by simply holding him in the general population of a federal prison. Save us all the expense of a trial, and feeding him for 40 years until his execution.

Wonder what the left would ... (Below threshold)

Wonder what the left would say if the jerk-off suddenly starts screaming that his actions were "in defense of the Palestinian homeland".

I'm sure Jimmah Carter would be right there to hold his hand.

Let's see... a guy who like... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Let's see... a guy who likes flag-burning, the Communist Manifesto, and opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...yup, another typical Republican. /sarc

Bottom line: yet another liberal Democrat goes nuts, and Sheriff Dupnik tries vainly to "Dupnik" the Dems out of responsibility.

"The Sheriff doth protest t... (Below threshold)

"The Sheriff doth protest too much"

Just like Barry doth protest the rotten economy and lack of job creation he has spawned. These damn liberals are so stuck on stupid and themselves it is truly pathetic to watch.

Jim M, I wouldn't waste the... (Below threshold)

Jim M, I wouldn't waste the bandwith to talk to woop. His facts are always wrong and he incites just for sport.

I am sure his mom put the fix in. That always happens with a wink and a nod. The Sheriff does have explaining to do.

The commenter that said "the culture down there" is way off. Arizona's cities are very clean and civilized. It is not a third world country or the wild west. That is what the MSM is trying to paint. It is a border state that is overwhelmed financially with illegal immigrants as is my great state of Texas.

The killer, who I won't mention either, is a sick individual. He should have had help years ago. He did a terrible thing but look at his mug shot. He is crazy and evil. ww

WoopIt is not the Sh... (Below threshold)

It is not the Sheriff's job to state his opinion of the motive. That is up to the prosecutor. The defense now has the foundation for their case. All they have to do is replay Sputniks comments. Also he has tainted the jury pool. His job is to investigate and give the FACTS to the prosecutor and Keep His Mouth Shut. You would think that as long as this guy has been sheriff he would know how to act professionally. Everything he does from the moment of the first shot fired will have a bearing on the outcome of the trial. Having recently experienced the murder of a good friend's daughter and the trial, I can say our local police and prosecutor handled everything with common sense and professionalism. Every step of the way they made sure nothing was done that would effect the outcome of the trial. They easily got their conviction (life without parole).

Oh yeah, it's highly inappr... (Below threshold)

Oh yeah, it's highly inappropriate for the sheriff to comment on conditions in his community which lead to violence and death.

Just ask Giffords.

Woop, are you really that i... (Below threshold)

Woop, are you really that ignorant or are you just practicing?
For a senior law enforcement official of the county to make an announcement implicating anyone or any entity BEFORE any investigation is conducted is the heighth of irresponsibility, and contradicts the basic prinicples of law enforcement and our judicial system.

"Woop, are you really that ... (Below threshold)

"Woop, are you really that ignorant...."

In a word, yes! It's hard to be intelligent when your entire existence is based on the concept of being an echo chamber.

woop is so stupid, he doesn... (Below threshold)

woop is so stupid, he doesn't even realize when he's speaking the truth.

Oh yeah, it's highly inappropriate for the sheriff to comment on conditions in his community which lead to violence and death.

That's EXACTLY what we want from Dupnik -- to comment on the conditions in his community, where a guy everyone knew was dangerously nuts repeatedly made death threats, but he -- as sheriff -- did absolutely nothing. That's what we want him to comment on -- but he won't.

Out of the mouths of gibbering dolts...


Will the people of Pima Cou... (Below threshold)

Will the people of Pima County remember what this dipstick said, when it comes re-election time? I doubt it. This guy has to go. All of the crap he is spewing is major CYA, because of his refusal to have the shooter sent to a mental health clinic to be examined. Even with all of the warning signs, the Sheriff sends him home to Mama. If there are any lawsuits (I am sure there will be) the lawyers should name dipstick as a principle defendant.






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