Pima County sheriff’s inaction may have led to this tragedy


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Sheriff Dupnik

Sheriff Dupnik

In today’s Wall Street Journal John Fund wrote a brief story entitled “Sheriff Dupnik Misfires.” Mr. Lund’s opening sentence says it all.

“Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s department was well aware of Jared Loughner’s mental instability and may have been slow to respond to death threats.”

So instead of being pro-active and heeding the warning signs of this deranged young man, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik goes on the news circuit for his 10 minutes of fame while making statements against Rush Limbaugh for which he has no evidence. Furthermore, this is not what we are to expect from any law enforcement leader.

“The Arizona shootings have made Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the man in charge of investigating the tragedy, a liberal hero for his comments targeting what he calls the “irresponsible” political rhetoric of conservatives. But he also has critics who say his department was well aware of Jared Loughner’s mental instability and may have been slow to respond to death threats the suspect made in the months leading up to Saturday’s rampage.
While every citizen has the right to be registered in any political party and, follow whomever you wish on talk radio or cable TV, it is worth noting that while sheriff Dupnik “is a Democrat and self-described Rachel Maddow fan, he has deliberately inserted himself into politics by linking the shootings to conservative commentators and rhetoric.”

His fellow lawmen in Arizona are appalled because all of the evidence so far suggests that the gunman is a deeply disturbed individual with no coherent political motives. “I just hope he’s not giving this 22-year-old an alibi by blaming talk radio,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told the Los Angeles Times.

Sheriff Dupnik would do far better to spend his time figuring out how Jared Loughner managed to buy a gun last November to commit his crimes. He apparently passed a federal background check solely because he had no prison record. But Reuters reports that Sheriff Dupnik acknowledged that “there had been earlier contact between Loughner and law enforcement after he had made death threats, although they had not been against [Rep. Gabrielle] Giffords.” The sheriff’s department was aware that Loughner had been asked by police at a local community college to stop attending classes because of his odd behavior. Several of his fellow students expressed fear of him and said they believed he was unstable.”

Give some thought to the final sentence in the Journal report where John wrote:

” Perhaps if Loughner had been convicted of making death threats, he wouldn’t have been able to clear the federal background check he needed to purchase a firearm last November.”

Bottom. line. He was out of line with his comments to Megyn Kelly on FOX News and was negligent by not taking action having prior knowledge that Mr. Loughner is deranged.

So Clarence Dupnik now provides sound bites for Jared Loughner’s defense team. Nice going Sheriff.  Will you be seated at the defense table?

Sheriff Dupnik should be rebuked for exploiting a tragedy that his department might have been able to avert.

The entire Wall Street Journal story can be read at the following link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703791904576075941558881006.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


About Larry Gilbert