Tarheeltalker

Meet the Sheriff

The tragic events that took place in Tucson, AZ about two weeks ago have garnered much attention and have generated   a lot of commentary and analysis. Sadly, the event draws our attention, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not. There are an almost innumerable  number of ways to discuss the event and I have pondered just how to do that. I have noticed that at least one media source focused on just one aspect of the tragedy(Sports Illustrated) and I shall attempt to do so as well.

Having said that, it is still exciting to see the great progress made by Rep. Giffords who headed to rehab today. Our prayers go with her as well as for all those adversely affected by the shooting

But the aspect that I want to  focus on is a person who has been quite visible and quite outspoken since the event took place. That is Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. Like most people outside of Arizona and probably law enforcement circles I had never heard of the sheriff until a  few days ago. But now methinks I have heard far too much.

But, first a little background. Sheriff Dupnik was first appointed to his post in 1980, then elected and re-elected six more times. He is a native Texan, aged 75. Although I heard him say that he graduated from the university( presumably Arizona) with a degree in psychology, he actually got his degree from Keeler Institute in Chicago which is probably a fine institution even though he failed to mention it by name.

Until being silenced by the local district attorney’s office a couple of days ago, he has been the “face” of the investigation or maybe the voice would be more accurate term.I haven’y been fortunate to hear or read all of his  statements but some of which I am aware have been real humdingers. Before  elaborating, this makes one wonder about his media experience. It would seem that in a county as large as Pima, there would have been a number of somewhat high-profile cases, requiring his interaction with the media. Admittedly, there were probably none this high-profile. But with someone who has been described as fond of the limelight, how he could he say some of the things he has said.

This statement came on January 8, the day of the shooting when he opined that Arizona was the “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” Bet the chamber of commerce and tourism people cant wait to use that one. Or, a comment that the Bush-era tax cute and their recent extension (which Obama favored) was some  kind of motivation for violence. In the same interview with  Sari Horowitz on a Washington Post blog he maintained that rush had published his office’s email address, nearly crashing the system. Only problem, Rush didn’t do it. Of course, he had had already blamed Rush by name, before it was learned that the shooter was an apolitical guy.

There are calls for his recall(no pun intended) but I think there are misguided. The voters of Pima County have voted for him 7 times, they surely should get their money’s worth. Makes one wonder how that happened, huh?

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January 22, 2011 - Posted by | Culture, Media | , , , , , , , , , ,

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