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Sheriff Dupnik, first on rhetoric now on gun control: Speaking his mind or overstepping his bounds?

Clarence Dupnik has gone and done it again. After controversial comments made following the Arizona shooting rampage that critically injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Pima County sheriff has made another statement sure to keep him in the news a little longer.

This time, he sounded off about his state's gun-control laws, which allow the carrying of concealed or non-concealed weapons at all times. "That's the height of insanity," he told Katie Couric in an interview Monday evening on CBS News. "I don't know what else they can do. Maybe they could pass a law that would require that every child have an Uzi in their crib."

Dupnik, a Democrat who has been sheriff for decades in Pima County, has become an unexpected lightning rod amid the Tucson shooting tragedy. Fans on the left applaud him for speaking his mind about the heated state of political discourse in this country. Meanwhile, some on the right criticize him for injecting politics into a role many believe should be limited to just the facts.

All of that raises an interesting leadership question. By editorializing on the Tucson tragedy, is Dupnik boldly pushing the national conversation forward and speaking out about what he believes in, as good leaders should? Or is he overstepping his bounds, inserting his own personal ideals at a time when he should be objective?

His comments have certainly drawn plenty of attention. After Saturday's shooting, Dupnik weighed in at a press conference with more than the usual commentary. Before it became clear--and it still isn't--what the motivations of the suspected gunman might be, Dupnik began talking about angry political rhetoric, connecting the two. "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," he told reporters. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Such opinions are not what most people expect from law enforcement leaders, even if, as elected officials, they're politicians too. Most crime-related news conferences involve a basic recounting of facts, terse one-sentence responses to questions and little elaboration. Many people think of sheriffs as merely enforcing the law, not weighing in with opinions, as Dupnik has done not only with the shooting, but with Arizona's controversial immigration law and, now, its gun-control policies.

In the case of the Tucson tragedy, that leaves a critical question. Can Dupnik--or any leader, for that matter--weigh in with an opinion about the larger context of a situation without swaying its outcome? As of now, it's not clear that Dupnik's criticism of the heated discourse in this country will persuade the public or potential jurors on the innocence or guilt of Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter. If anything, Dupnik's comments have gone a long way toward pushing a national conversation about a disturbing trend in our society that, even if not behind Loughner's motives, merits discussion. Only time will tell, of course, if that upside will outweigh any negative effects of Dupnik speaking his mind.

By Jena McGregor

 |  January 11, 2011; 9:31 AM ET |  Category:  Crisis leadership , Government leadership , Public leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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look at all the LIBERAL VITRIOL .............. nothing like liberal vitriol to cause violence, as they try and blame the other guy .............. just like obama tried to dodge his incompetence problems by blaming everything on Pres Bush

Posted by: M_Algore | January 14, 2011 5:03 AM

Political rhetoric does not lead to violence?

2008/ Jim Adkisson, 58, entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and shot to death two church members and wounded six more before he was wrestled to the ground as he tried to reload.

"Adkisson targeted the church, [Investigator Steve Still wrote] 'because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.'

2010/ A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane into an Austin, Texas, office building where 200 federal tax employees worked.

2010/ Byron Williams, 45, reportedly had been on his way last summer to kill individuals at the liberal nonprofit group the Tides Foundation and at the ACLU San Francisco office when he engaged in a shootout with Highway Patrol officers.

The Tides Foundation had been attacked in the media, particularly by Fox News host Glenn Beck. Williams' mother stated he had decided to act after he learned on television "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items."

2010/ An anti-government father and son armed with an AK 47 shoot and kill Two West Memphis police officers during a traffic stop. Two other law enforcement officers were shot and injured in a separate shootout with the same suspects.

2010/ The last of nine people indicted in a plot to kill police officers to hopefully set off an anti-government uprising was arrested at a home in Hillsdale County, Mich. The group, known as Hutaree, was planning to kill police officers and then bomb their funeral caravan using "IEDs."

Posted by: okiedeadhead | January 13, 2011 6:11 PM

Again this shows how disingenuous repub posters are. Their hero, Sherriff Arpaio goes around to any stage he can find. He speaks at bagger meetings and goes on the right wing talk shows. But as usual its OK if you are a repub, right hipocrits? Why doesnt Sen Kyl condemn his free speech?

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | January 11, 2011 11:22 PM

This makes today's "national nightmare" especially dark and without compensatory intervention; for the abusers are not only in control, but are being further enabled by a majority within the society.
- Michael T Bucci
*********************************************
Hey Michael, did it ever occur to you that just because you live in the liberal Mecca of NWDC/Bethesda extending along the East Coast up to Boston that maybe the other 85% of right-thinking citizens who don't aren't bed-wetting commie pinkos like you? To paraphrase an elistist high society Upper East Side matron who voted for McGovern in '84, "How in the world did Reagan get elected? I don't know anyone who voted for him!"

Posted by: ddaly7 | January 11, 2011 8:52 PM

On January 8, 2011, John McCain called the shooter of home state Rep. Gabrielle Giffords "a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race." That is a true statement. Those Mr. McCain neglected to include in his indictment were his former running mate, Sarah Palin, and political extremists in his own party and state.

The single voice of objectivity I heard was that of Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik who condemned the "atmosphere of hatred and bigotry" that had gripped American politics.

Sheriff Dupnik, a Centrist, is widely denounced by Republican Conservatives and the Tea Party for his remarks.

Let it be said, Sheriff Dupnik, that many outside your County, State and Nation consider you: An honor to Arizona. An honor to your Country. And an honor to the Human Race!

May voices like yours never be still.

Additionally, If a new CBS poll is correct, which indicates six out of ten Americans think there is no connection between past and present political rhetoric and the killings in Arizona, a deeply troublesome fact has emerged: Six out or ten Americans are suffering a degree of impaired and distorted mental judgment, and if not corrected, risk forming of mass psychosis. In general words, and in lay terms, we could be dealing with the mental breakdown of a nation.

This occurred during the first half of the 1970s as well. The difference today is that the forces of reason and intervention then - from the Watergate Commission to Gerald Ford's admission of a "national nightmare" - that helped preempt heightened social chaos and destructive behaviors, are today being invalidated, banished and removed; instead, elevated levels of aberration are receiving greater reward (e.g. Palin).

This makes today's "national nightmare" especially dark and without compensatory intervention; for the abusers are not only in control, but are being further enabled by a majority within the society.

- Michael T Bucci

Posted by: mbucci2 | January 11, 2011 8:27 PM

To Pete1013: There's a vague resemblance there to Grandpa Al Lewis - but for a dead ringer look to Schmuckie Schumer in 10 years....

Posted by: ddaly7 | January 11, 2011 8:22 PM

Is it just me, or does Sheriff Dupnik kinda look like Grampa Munster?

Posted by: pete1013 | January 11, 2011 8:14 PM

DESPITE THE FACTS THAT EXIST WITH REGARD TO WHAT ACTION THE POLICE COULD HAVE TAKEN, THE SHERIFF IS CLEVER IN THAT HE HAS GOTTEN THE PRESSURE OFF HIM AND HIS DEPT. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT IF HE HAD ACTED PROPERLY AND IN GOOD TIME THIS MAN WOULD HAVE BEEN EITHER BEHIND BARS OR IN SOME INSTITUTION. HAVING FAILED TO DO HIS JOB THE SHERIFF NOW ATTEMPTS TO THROW UP A STRAW MAN AND BLAME SO MANY OTHERS. HE MAY HAVE BEEN A NICE GUY, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT HE IS A DEMOCRAT AND CAN SEE NOTHING WITH BLAMING THE REPUBS FOR ALL THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE. AFTER HIS FLING ON TV AND IN PRINT, THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO WILL FINALLY ADMIT THAT THIS OLD MAN IS NOTHING BUT A PUBLICITY SEEKER. GIVE IT UP. REMEMBER THAT THIS WILL BECOME A TIT FOR TAT SITUATION FOR EACH PURPORTED OFFENSE BY THE REPUBLICANS THERE WILL BE AN EXPOSE OF ONE BY THE DEMOCRATS.

Posted by: MALBENNET | January 11, 2011 7:52 PM

Thank God that the sheriff spoke the truth which also included facts that led up to this tragic disaster on Saturday. We now need the so called leaders of the Republicans - McConnell and Boehner - to show as must integrity and strong character to all the other Republican and Tea Baggers by saying that they are no longer allowed to disrespect our president, must join in the progress that has been made in the short 2 years of president Obama's leadership and their top priority will NOT continue to be to make president Obama a one termer. Further, Boehner and McConnell needs to understand that polls show we Americans do NOT want our healthcare reform repelled and they need to stop wasting time and our tax payer dollars. Boehner and McConnell needs to lead by example and inform their party (of NO) that they will respect the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), especially when the CBO says our deficit will increase with the repel of the healthcare reform; and further, CBO sent the two want to be leaders, a memo specifically telling them that our deficit will greatly decrease over the years with the healthcare reform. Now the Boehner and McConnell duo need to admit that families have enhanced insurance benefits because of this healthcare reform and small business will have tax credits to help their companies and offer insurance to their employees. We as Americans must reach out to our congressional leaders and remind them they were elected to SERVE THE PEOPLE, not their own jealous agenda with the top item being stop our president and show him disrespect as much as possible; like the YOU LIE Rep Joe Wilson last year, like Boehner and McConnell not accept president Obama offer to work together on too many occassions. Boehner and McConnell need to call out FIX News on their continued negativity about president Obama and NOT always speaking the true facts about how far, positively we have come with president Obama leadership. FYI..no God is on president Obama side because of his humbleness and compassion for all Americans which are God's kids.

Posted by: netstoy | January 11, 2011 7:44 PM


Dupnik has many in the law Enforcement Community cringing at the rhetoric he has used in this tragic Tucson event. If not Political what is it? He has the entire news media in a frenzy and particularly not in his favor. He has stirred up the hornets nest and the hornets are flying around the world and back. He has opened Pandora's box and has lost the cover.Foot in mouth is a disease that I think he has just been inflicted with. Sometimes to be still and quiet heals many wounds,not to blow a bugle as loud as you can and believe you are a virtuoso.Think about this.

Posted by: joecarrsr | January 11, 2011 7:41 PM

He said what many of us have said, thought, and felt over the past two plus years and what we all thought and felt immediately upon learning of this tragedy on Saturday.

He is in Law Enforcement and has a role and a right to express his professional opinion. Were he known to be a Republican, his remarks would be acceptable to all, but, were he a Republican, he might be constrained and not make his remarks.

I appreciate his courage, candor, and his assessment of the contributing factors. Hateful and vitriolic rhetoric may not pull the trigger but it is a contributing factor, along with 50% of already inadequate mental health services being cut in Arizona and elsewhere and with the loose and goosey gun laws across this nation and, especially, in Arizona which sounds as if they have none, actually, all of which he included in his assessment of this situation, including inadequate police and federal coordination of safety for Congressional reps when they come home to their districts.

Posted by: nana4 | January 11, 2011 7:29 PM

I live in Tucson. Sheriff Dupnik has run again and again for 28 years. He has spent his whole life in law enforcement and we love him. Of course, Gabby was his friend. She is also best friends with our mayor, Bob Walkup,a Republican who is moderate, funny, nice and friendly. He doesn't hate anyone. We have a right to be of a different political party than you posters are. We are mostly Democrats in central Tucson. All the city council is democratic. They get along with the mayor.

Posted by: ay00 | January 11, 2011 7:08 PM

See this is what happens when a Democrat speaks with out a teleprompter his words speak his true feelings.

Posted by: freedon | January 11, 2011 7:07 PM

"... Can Dupnik--or any leader, for that matter--weigh in with an opinion about the larger context of a situation without swaying its outcome?"
===================================
Journalists have beats, Pundits don't and neither do Sheriffs. Many of the same people in Phoenix who wish Dupnik would shut up also wish Washington "Leaders" would shut up.

Posted by: gannon_dick | January 11, 2011 7:06 PM

This is not so much about the need of people to have guns as it is about the need of Glock, Ruger, Colt, etc. to sell guns.

Posted by: Capn0ok | January 11, 2011 6:56 PM

One would think this sheriff would want to maintain at least a facade of impartiality.
Gosh, are the cops this bigoted? Or is he sabotaging the investigation by letting his investigators know where he wants the trail to end.
What I find notable is his willingness to spout his half-baked theories on national TV. He's got it all figured out, apparently. As the Sicilians say, he's the horse's rear who thinks he's the head.
I find his arrogance refreshing, actually.

Posted by: BigSea | January 11, 2011 6:42 PM

Dupnik forgot one of the truest maxim when speaking: Better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 11, 2011 6:36 PM

This guy Stupenik (last name oddly similar to Eastern European commies who invaded the US after WWII) is either a stealth ACP member or is senile. Those are the only two classes of people I know of who are septuagenarian members of the Democrat Party.....

Posted by: ddaly7 | January 11, 2011 6:32 PM

Pardon me, but Sheriff Dupnick's point was that the level of vitrol and mindless accusation currently alive in the body politic and within the Outer Limits Media networks is contributing to the growing climate of hate and violence brewing in our society.

Sure keep the guns, but lets not give over our better judgement to those who are trying to scare us or manipulate our fears of people who may not be like us simply for their own personal aggendizment.

Thats is after all why our national slogan is 'E Publis Unum'-Out of Many, One.

Birddog

Posted by: birddog2012 | January 11, 2011 6:21 PM

He's a cranky truth teller. Tends to rub both libs and cons the wrong way. Must be doing something right.

Posted by: donnlmp | January 11, 2011 6:16 PM

We don't need his opinions! We need him to do his job and give us the facts. End of story!
Posted by: buzzsaw1

Are you one of those who applauded the reading of the Constitution last week? Because you certainly don't sound like someone who understands it.

Posted by: Fate1 | January 11, 2011 6:12 PM

We don't need his opinions! We need him to do his job and give us the facts. End of story!

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | January 11, 2011 5:57 PM

Washington Post why not tell us about Cooper v Dupnik. The court ruled the Sheriff committed unconstitutional interrogations.

It is one of several cases the Sheriff was found guilty of violating rights of citizens.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | January 11, 2011 5:40 PM

Where was this left wing political hack Sheriff Dupnik before the shooting?

Why wasn't there an armed deputy at a public meeting with Arizona representive Giffords?

Seems they already had several interactions with Loughner, knew he was unstable and had previously acted strangely with representative Giffords.

Somebody should fire this pitiful excuse for a law enforcement official for not protecting Gabrielle Giffords amd interjecting his pathetic politics into the situation.

Incredibly poor police work. Dupnik is a bad representative of Arizona law enforcement.

Where were you when congresswoman Giffords needed you Dupnik? Why was there NO law enforcement officer at a public meeting with a congresswoman?

Spout your politics Dupnik but you have a lot to answer for.

Posted by: Straightline | January 11, 2011 5:40 PM

So the right-wingers are upset that this sheriff expresses his views but when Joe Arpaio of Maricopa county literally takes the law in his own hands for right-wing causes, oh, he's just doing his job. What hypocrites.

Posted by: dave20144 | January 11, 2011 5:33 PM

The Washington Post's beloved Sheriff Dupnik was ruled guilty by an Arizona jury for violating the Constitutional rights of several citizens.

Of course you will never read about this in the Washington Post because the Sheriff is attacking Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | January 11, 2011 5:27 PM

You know if I were a cop, I'd be pretty against concealed weapons too. As those who are most likely to be shot by someone with a concealed weapon, I think members of law enforcement should be taken very seriously when they make these comments, and I don't think they should be insulted with ad hominem baseless attacks for having an opinion.

What's more, if Sarah Palin was Sariah Al-Palin and Rush Limbaugh Rooshi Al-Limbauch and they spouted all the hate and incitement to violence they've be spouting, they would've been dragged off to Guantanamo years ago.

Another thing, why is everyone saying this Jared guy was crazy? Why don't they just call him what he is - a domestic terrorist?

Posted by: Valicore | January 11, 2011 5:23 PM

it's OK for him to speak his mind. he is calling it like he sees it. You might not agree with him, but as a County Sheriff he no doubt sees a lot everyday. Those who have worked in government, especially local government like a County and extra-especially in law enforcement, have encountered unhinged individuals threatening and disrespecting government officials and employees because they they "own" the government (usually without taking any responsibility for it). If a company or a personality uses the public airways, the commons, to bash government and people in government, they do that fully knowing their message is going to get to the crazies. You should choose your words carefully. The Sheriff is pointing out that this isn't happening. One could say it was an error in that he didn't have all the facts about the shooter and I would agree with that as a legitimate criticism. But he shouldn't be having to defend himself for saying what he said. Didn't he just call some people into account? Isn't it interesting that there is a simultaneously a defending the use of crosshairs as a form of political expression but people are ticked off about the Sheriff exercising his same political perogative? Double standard much? This all amounts to the Sherrif's critics engaging in an immature game of "I know you are, but what am I" like a bunch of playground bullies. While we shouldn't try and legislate this problem away, we as information consumers can and should demand more responsible commentary.

Posted by: 18hourdays | January 11, 2011 5:21 PM

I think the Sheriff has a hard time coming to grips with the reality on the ground here in the US. 1. You cannot change the gun laws. & 2. People that don't agree with you, don't listen to you.

Posted by: truthbeknown | January 11, 2011 5:18 PM

Sheriff Dupnik has a right to express his views just like every other citizen. To deny that right is unconstitutional. His views were well-known when he was elected. No one should be surprised, even though many may disagree. He expressed himself in a civil manner which is more than I can say for some of the comments found here.

Posted by: tempestite | January 11, 2011 5:07 PM

The sheriff is a dick. A limp dick.

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | January 11, 2011 5:05 PM

I would just like to say that I respect Sheriff Dupnik and I respect his right to say what he thinks - just like all you who write inflamatory comments about him have a right to say what you think. I and many others have faught to protect that right and will continue to fight for that right! Maybe he is just tired of all the 'other' politicians that do speak their minds (no matter how vitrolic that may be)and has decided to state his thoughts on how things are going in his State! Does that make him unfit for office - I don't think so, because then we would have to fire ALL the politicians that speak their minds!!

Posted by: NYRes | January 11, 2011 5:04 PM

DUMBNIK !
acted stupidly. Milbank must write his material.

Posted by: craigslsst | January 11, 2011 4:47 PM

In 1931 someone set fire to the German Reichstag. At the time, the motivations for its burning were not known, but that didn't stop the Nazis from blaming their political enemies for being responsible for it.

Not long ago, that kind of scapegoating would not have been acceptable to anyone in America. But now Sheriff Dupnik and other so-called "liberals" are doing so with relish.

Posted by: Gradivus | January 11, 2011 4:45 PM

For a long time, the gun lobby posed that freely allowing every citizen the right to carry concealed weapons would serve as a deterrent for gun crimes. I guess we all know that this is just a marketing sound bite in the aftermath of this terrible shooting spree in Arizona, a state with the most liberal gun laws in the United States.

Of all the industrialized countries in the world, we as a nation have the most liberal gun laws. Is it coincidental that we also have the highest rate of mortality due to guns?

Posted by: JL123 | January 11, 2011 4:31 PM

Ms. McGregor,

Before you wrote this column (or any column, actually), did you wrestle with the notion of if you were speaking your mind or overstepping your bounds?

What about all those who've commented on your column, including myself? Are we speaking our minds or overstepping our bounds?
Answer that, and you may well conclude, as I have, that it's a bogus question...

Posted by: pagun | January 11, 2011 4:30 PM

I think the Dumb A** ought to stick to the facts of the case and stop spreading his left wing views...it only stirs up more cr**!!

Posted by: mjandrews8

--------------------------------------

I think you're probably another NRA nut with a Glock and 30 round clips.

Posted by: areyousaying | January 11, 2011 4:24 PM

Sheriff Dupnick tells the truth. Too bad some can't take it. The hatred spewing forth from the mouths and pens of some of the 'celebrities' influence the minds of many of their constituents. This is a fact. We can deny this and hide our heads in the sand. It is too bad that these men and women do not understand that the celebrities all collect their rich rewards and laugh all the way to their banks while the poor suckers empty out their wallets. Didn't some one say once that there is a sucker born every day?

Posted by: samchannar | January 11, 2011 4:23 PM

The Sheriff pointed out the elephant in the room. Emperors Palin and Beck have no clothes.

Posted by: areyousaying | January 11, 2011 4:20 PM

he's got a right to make an arse of himself, just like everybody else. i just want to know what his department knew about this shooter and when they knew it. i have a hunch this is the last term for the sheriff. this shooter was arrested 5 times by him from what i hear.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | January 11, 2011 4:16 PM

Sheriff Dupnick for POTUS. Even if you don't like what he says, he is confident enough to say it.

Posted by: yeswecan3 | January 11, 2011 4:07 PM

Lets hear it for the sheriff! He was a cop before he was a sheriff. Keep on bringing up the uncomfortable subjects. If there was only some leadership to take this up and actually do something about it.

Posted by: heartspark_Texas | January 11, 2011 3:58 PM

The Sheriff was spot-on and clearly has his finger on the pulse of the community. It says a lot about the conservatives and Tea Partiers that don't think the vitriol and fear mongering Republican politicians and pundits so casually and irresponsibly employ is corrosive to civil society and our political system. This broader significance of this incident was lost on them and I fear the situation will only get worse.

Posted by: cbdarnell1 | January 11, 2011 3:56 PM

There is a clear line between "fighting words" and the onset of violence. That many want to stick their heads in the sand and deny the obvious - the relationship between vicious words, race-baiting and the rest of the virol that we continually suffer, and hate crimes - is merely a sign of the lack of intellegent discourse hen it comes to this matter. I am a psychologist who has worked many years in the area of conflict resolution; to say that vicious words do not lead some to action is rediculous. The sheriff is stating the obvious - only those who wish to be blissfully ignorant of the facts will choose to ignore him.

Posted by: garoth | January 11, 2011 3:53 PM

Sheriff Dupnik has spoken for many of us. Political rhetoric has become hate fomenting and guns too prevalent and easy to get. There is a danger in all of this excess.

Thank you, Sheriff.

Posted by: amelia45 | January 11, 2011 3:52 PM

Mr. Dupnik has been Sheriff of Pima county for over 30 years. He is uniquely qualified to comment on whether threats to people he's sworn to protect have increased, decreased, or remained the same during that time. The shooting that occurred is the tip of the iceberg of what the Sheriff sees day in and day out on the job. When the Sheriff stated that rhetoric has inflamed emotions and contributed to an increase in violence (including threats) he was expressing an opinion informed by 30 years on the job. I respect that opinion far more than the opinions of people who are judging him from a distance based on nothing more than their political beliefs.

Posted by: georgereston | January 11, 2011 3:47 PM

Inspired by media reporting of congressioal activities, this country now revels in a complete lack of civility and a general lack of ability to approach any issue in a business like and reasoable manner. When you have members congress glorified in the media for shouting insults at the President during the State of the Union message, and when a reasoable discourse on insurance proposals become televised shouting matches, and when a discussion what's best for the country is subordinated to party political diatribes, we have all sunk to new lows.

To the Sheriff: amen brother, amen

Posted by: Segway | January 11, 2011 3:45 PM

I'm waiting to hear what he thinks of Lindsay Lohan's recent release from rehab. What about that Kim Kardashian lip injection? Does he agree the Volt should be car of the year? Would he consent to having his colonoscopy broadcast on NBC?

There are so many things this wise man could comment on, help us understand, you know, because we just all just a bunch of bigots and racists.

Actually, someone needs to pin a note to his windbreaker with his home address and phone number, and drop him at the dog track.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 11, 2011 3:41 PM

The Sheriff is just another example of why it is such a terrible ides to hold elections for positions that require professionals. He discussed an investigation in progress, speculated on motive, gave details out to the public - everything a professional knows not to do. Of course as a politician hence everything comes second to his ego which clearly is huge. No doubt he is plotting whether he can run for higher office as several naive posters have mmentioned positively.

Posted by: Observer21 | January 11, 2011 3:34 PM

Dupnik has proved himself to be unworthy of his position.
Apparently, Dupnik works off of hypothesis and conjecture, yet states it as fact.

I wonder, how many innocent pole have been incarcerated because this "Sheriff" plays with and/ or makes up false evidence.

Dupnik, is a piece of trash that is using the deaths of six people to further his own political end game.

Arizona kick this clown to the curb !!!!!

Posted by: Defund_NPR | January 11, 2011 3:24 PM

This sheriff is defintely expressing his own views....and out of his depth at law enforcement work. Expressing those views might be done in an election campaign, but not in an investigation. He should retire gracefully ...while he can. He will be embarressed out of his office, otherwise. If he has given the high-powered defense attorney material to work with - and he has - he should be recalled. Law enforcement is about facts and evidence - not opinions. His words also have consequences and they won't help the situation either.

Posted by: TinCity1 | January 11, 2011 3:24 PM

Not sure where Ms McGregor gets her facts, but "Such opinions are not what most people expect from law enforcement leaders, ... Most crime-related news conferences involve a basic recounting of facts, terse one-sentence responses to questions and little elaboration. Many people think of sheriffs as merely enforcing the law, not weighing in with opinions, ..."

Police and sheriffs where I live also stress security, neighborhood watch, lock your doors, avoid dark places at night ... basic education to help make people both *be* and *feel* secure in their homes and in public. And if *not* getting shot isn't a security thing, I don't know what is. Perhaps law enforcement in Ms McGregor's neighborhood need some training, or she should have her facts checked.

Posted by: astrogerbil | January 11, 2011 3:00 PM

Clarence Dupnick without proof and from his gut has slandered hundreds of Americans in one fell swoop. This "gentleman" should be excused form his office or at least ignored by responsible reporters. Do we have any responsible reporters left in the country?

Posted by: cucalafea | January 11, 2011 2:59 PM

Senility is a sad thing. Clarence Dupnick isn't quite the man he was in his younger days. Locally we were just debating Clarence's next re-election due in 2012. Maybe Dupnick brought something to Tucson when it was a quiet sleepy town. Today there is a need for law enforcement and sadly that's past Dupnick's competency level.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 11, 2011 2:54 PM

An experienced law man talking from the heart resonates louder than a thousand talking heads ranting for ratings.

He is real, Beck is not.

Posted by: MHawke | January 11, 2011 2:52 PM

“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," he told reporters. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
"That's the height of insanity,"
Calling people insane, bigots, prejudiced and speaking as if they are stupid because they disagree with you. Nothing hateful here.
HYPOCRITES
++++++++++++++++++++++
I live in AZ and Sheriff Dupnik is correct and he stated the obvious. He is the voice of sanity in an insane world.

Posted by: Janet1 | January 11, 2011 2:40 PM

I appreciated Sheriff Dupnik's statement and he was refering to the horrible political milieux we have had to live through the past 15 years (the last three years being the worst). Both sides have some blame, but I agree one side is much much worse than the other side. I also believe the side that is worst purposefully makes statesments that are false, fabrication, or distorted with the intent of causing either their foes to become inflamed or to tells lies about their foes to infame their base. Either way their intent is to inflame and incite anger and possible violence and they do it daily adn intentionally. Those most guilty knew it. Instead of being on the offense, which is usually the side they are on as they are the agressor, they immediately too the defense and started the "we're not guilty routine". The other side, by the way, took a humbler stance and apologized if any of their rhetoric lent iself to violence and promised to calm their rhetoric. Those most guilty took the stance they have the right to free speech. There lies our problem. The more guilty side little reflection and no change.

Posted by: Janet1 | January 11, 2011 2:31 PM

"It doesn't seem like a leap of logic to connect the hate speech of the Tea Party and Fox News to the event. "

You're right, there is no leap of logic involved. Its more like a leap of political expediency. Or a leap of ignorance?

The sheriff ought to look where he's leaping. I'd hate for the guy to leap out and come crashing to earth prematurely.

On the other hand, he's so funny, maybe we should let him speak his mind.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | January 11, 2011 2:31 PM

The sheriff has experience and training in law enforcement matters....He shares the opinion of many educated law enforcement professionals. I respect him for speaking out and more need to do so...

Posted by: jfristriut | January 11, 2011 2:30 PM

DUPNIK FOR SENATE!

He can run for Kyl's seat.

RUN, CLARENCE, RUN!

Posted by: Garak | January 11, 2011 2:25 PM

He is absolutely correct. Words do matter.

Posted by: dabears1 | January 11, 2011 2:20 PM

No, Sheriff Dupnik did not overstate his bounds. He has a responsibility to state what he sees as the cause of violent acts. I agree with him 100%.

Posted by: laelyn | January 11, 2011 2:19 PM

The good sheriff Dupnik is having a Woody Hayes moment. This guy has coached one game too many. He is embarrassing himself and the people who elected him.

Posted by: xanroc | January 11, 2011 2:19 PM

Sheriff Dipstick spends too much time drinking his meals from brown paper bags. As a law enforcement agent he should know better than to shoot his mouth off and make excuses for this murderer.

Posted by: nmg3rln | January 11, 2011 2:16 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sheriff Dupnik for saying what needed to be said. I hope the weight of your office and experience adds weight to the gravitas of your words.

Posted by: jessicagreen1 | January 11, 2011 2:13 PM

Law Enforcement Officers are the first on the scene when these massacres happen and you can hear the shock in their voices when they are giving their updates. They come upon a scene where there are multiple dead and wounded including children. Horrible scenes to witness for any human being, yet this is their job and it is almost becoming common place in the Unite States.

Do they overstep their bounds? Absolutely not. They, more than any of us have a right to react to the violence they have to deal with.

I totally agree with the Sheriff and applaud the fact that these men and women are not totally hardend and numb to what they are dealing with.

The political rhetoric has consequences whether we want to believe it or not, or gun control laws are absurd and as long as people can get assult weapons easier than they can get a drivers license then we may as well get used to young boys and men acting out this way when they feel powerless and ignored.

Posted by: rannrann | January 11, 2011 2:05 PM

He's funny and makes me laugh.

I hope he appears on more talk shows. You could do a drinking game based on public utterances.

Every time he says "anger", "hatred" or "Bigotry", you have to take a drink.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | January 11, 2011 2:04 PM

This speaking his opinion bs is just that bs. He may have an opinion, but this boob used his position as sheriff, in an official press conference to SPECULATE and advance his agenda based on ZERO evidence. This is unprofessional and he should be dismissed.

He has a personal issue with local radio talkshow host Jon Justice who showed just what a boob Clarence is in his interview with the Sheriff regarding SB1070. Whne the good sheriff could not defend his claims with facts, he simply resorted to name calling and blaming the right and Jon for all the ills of the world. www.1041thetruth.com

Sheriff, shut the hell up and stick with the facts of the case, the facts that as of this moment do not support your claims. You claim to be a friend of Gabby and certainly have acted as a mouthpiece for the local democratic committee in the past. When the DNC and local chairman Jeff Rodgers wants to put out some vitriol, they call on Dupnik.

As a Pima county resident, I am ashamed and embarrassed of this Barney Fife "lawman". This mouthpiece needs to go.

Posted by: Eric95TT | January 11, 2011 1:59 PM

Bravo to Sheriff Dupnik. He clearly has the public's best interest at heart, and is candid enough to state the obvious.

Posted by: sydney6 | January 11, 2011 1:58 PM

Sheriff Dupnik deals in reality. He sees the crime scenes, the bodies, questions the families of the dead, handles the government entities and political bureaucracies in AZ. This is his job so he has a POV none of the commenters have. Plus he's in charge of protecting the entire county of Pima with gun laws designed to make his job as difficult as possible. It is his right and his duty to speak on these issues. He has done so judiciously and succinctly.
All you patriots who yell about freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom from violence, freedom to conduct your business w/o a massacre taking place just outside the front door need to understand that not everyone wants to carry a weapon, wants to be afraid all the time or wants to listen to arm chair demagogues
that are all mouth and no facts. Everyone please come to your senses.

Posted by: hyacin | January 11, 2011 1:57 PM

It doesn't seem like a leap of logic to connect the hate speech of the Tea Party and Fox News to the event. After all, SHE WAS A DEMOCRAT congresswoman at a DEMOCRAT public meeting. Circumstantial, but reasonable.
As for hate speech from the left, an example, please?

Posted by: mastersinourhouse | January 11, 2011 1:47 PM

It is impossible for the Sheriff to overstep his bounds because there are no bounds on what the left can say- there are bounds only on those who disagree with the left. Of course he should be relieved of his duties- his is a non-prtisan job into which he injected unacceptable and nonsensical partisanship. He needs to worry more about protcting his constituents than about right wing bogeymen. By the way did he object the chosen one used the phrase 'if they come with a knife, we will bring a gun'? I bet not.
Just another pathetic example of the blind left looking foolish.

Posted by: rveatch | January 11, 2011 1:44 PM

Sheriff Dupnik is 100% correct -- he does not want to take guns away from us; JUST the crazy part of us. Grouping federal police agencies under the umbrella of Homeland Security was supposed to clear up the sharing of infomation between these agencies and the states so why 10 years later is it still not working. We would rather argue than solve a problem -- which could make a sane person shoot someone.

Posted by: dchsma | January 11, 2011 1:42 PM

Paraphrasing Shakespeare: Methinks the sheriff doth protest too much! It sure sounds to me like Dupnik is engaging in a little CYA, deflecting attention away from himself and his department concerning his handling of Loughner prior to the shooting. Instead of blaming others, perhaps the good sheriff might consider his own culpability in this matter.

Posted by: braunt | January 11, 2011 1:38 PM

I agree With Pima County the Sheriff. This whole gun thing is out of control!

Posted by: May_Twin_Boy | January 11, 2011 1:37 PM

The Sheriff is a professional lawman with a life-time of experience. He chose his words carefully and thoughtfully. The world would be a better place if there wore more persons such as he who are capable of the moral and ethical leadership he exhibited in his response to the Tucson tragedy.

Posted by: lakewood1 | January 11, 2011 1:34 PM

hail to the sheriff! he represents the thoughts of many citizens in this country and may be one of the few sane voices in arizona. what is happenning in that state is a sign of the times all over our once great nation.

time to take the insane talking heads off the air and out of the radio waves, their damage has been done and is obvious to anyone willing to step back and think for a nano.

Posted by: greg67 | January 11, 2011 1:34 PM

I firmly believe that evidence should precede conclusions.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 11, 2011 1:15 PM

I live in AZ and I thank Sheriff Dupnik for saying what needed to be said.

Posted by: emerika | January 11, 2011 1:02 PM

Listen up. The people who dodging the bullets have the opinions that matter most.

Posted by: HokieBabe1 | January 11, 2011 12:59 PM

Maybe if he, the community college, the FBI/ATF/Police and other GOVERNMENT officials had done their jobs this wouldn't have happened. Known Druggie . Known Mental Problems. Known criminal record. Lots of documentation !! So, how did the gun control system fail? Why isn't that question being asked? Say, who is responsible for this system? When was it lasted audited? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Watch the government officials all hid under their desks.

Posted by: richard36 | January 11, 2011 12:59 PM

Sheriff Dupnik has served in law enforcement in that area for over 50 years. He's been Sheriff of Pima county for over 30 years. He is uniquely qualified to comment on whether threats to people he's sworn to protect have increased, decreased, or remained the same during that time. The shooting that occurred is the tip of the iceberg of what the Sheriff sees day in and day out on the job. When the Sheriff stated that rhetoric has inflamed emotions and contributed to an increase in violence (including threats) he was expressing an opinion informed by 30 years on the job. I respect that opinion far more than the opinions of people who are judging this guy from a distance based on nothing more than their political loyalties.

Posted by: georgereston | January 11, 2011 12:42 PM

His job is supposed to be a law enforcement. Where was he and his office when this all happened was he on the job of protecting the citizens who pay his salary or in a news conference giving political views and comments that he had no knowledge of. There is no excuse for giving opinions of what might be instead of letting the investigation come to the front before you comment especially when you are not a politicial but an elected law enforcement official.
He should be fired .

Posted by: jerry110 | January 11, 2011 12:42 PM

he was elected as sheriff to uphold any and all laws whether he agrees with them or not. he should keep his mouth shut and make sure that all procedures to this event and any other criminal event are done with in the law and that includes any victims rights and any procedures that he has to do to protect the criminals rights. there is enought judgement going on in the medaia for him to use his position as platform to incite anger and or hatred. again, he was elected to enforce the laws whether he likes them or not. if that knuckle head loughner didn't have a gun he could of gone on the internet to learn how to make a bomb or go to any car dealer and purchased vehicle to crash into those innocent people. sometimes prayer is the only answer at times and even then there are laws against that.

Posted by: jfwest | January 11, 2011 12:42 PM

he was elected as sheriff to uphold any and all laws whether he agrees with them or not. he should keep his mouth shut and make sure that all procedures to this event and any other criminal event are done with in the law and that includes any victims rights and any procedures that he has to do to protect the criminals rights. there is enought judgement going on in the medaia for him to use his position as platform to incite anger and or hatred. again, he was elected to enforce the laws whether he likes them or not. if that knuckle head loughner didn't have a gun he could of gone on the internet to learn how to make a bomb or go to any car dealer and purchased vehicle to crash into those innocent people. sometimes prayer is the only answer at times and even then there are laws against that.

Posted by: jfwest | January 11, 2011 12:40 PM

he was elected as sheriff to uphold any and all laws whether he agrees with them or not. he should keep his mouth shut and make sure that all procedures to this event and any other criminal event are done with in the law and that includes any victims rights and any procedures that he has to do to protect the criminals rights. there is enought judgement going on in the medaia for him to use his position as platform to incite anger and or hatred. again, he was elected to enforce the laws whether he likes them or not. if that knuckle head loughner didn't have a gun he could of gone on the internet to learn how to make a bomb or go to any car dealer and purchased vehicle to crash into those innocent people. sometimes prayer is the only answer at times and even then there are laws against that.

Posted by: jfwest | January 11, 2011 12:40 PM

Liberals are such hypocrites.

Imagine if the Sheriff were a Republican and blamed Obama and left-wing hate speech for the attack. Would you still support him?

No, you'd call for investigation into why a Sheriff who knew all about the concerns about this guy -- and his threats -- and did nothing.

Posted by: diesel_skins_ | January 11, 2011 12:37 PM

The sheriff in a calm and thoughtful manner spoke the truth that needed to be articulated.

He is a hero when so many are afraid to start an honest dialogue on the kind of nation were are becoming.

Posted by: FoundingMother | January 11, 2011 12:24 PM

I think the Dumb A** ought to stick to the facts of the case and stop spreading his left wing views...it only stirs up more cr**!!

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 11, 2011 12:22 PM

Loughner, the shooter in Tucson had previously made death threats over the phone against members of the staff at a local college. He made other death threats over the phone against radio personalities and others. Death threats such as those are chargeable felonies.

At the time, the office of Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik released a statement to the press regarding those previous death threats explaining that mental health professionals were adequately treating Loughner, and that he would not be charged. Had his office pressed charges against the shooter Loughner at the time, Loughner would NOT have been able to buy a gun at that gun store.

When Sheriff Dupnik made those statements pointing the proverbial finger at radio talk show hosts, it was simply a preemptive strike to cover HIS butt.

Jared Lee Loughner is not a right-wing nutcase, nor is he a left-wing nutcase. He is quite simply a nutcase. As George Carlin said many times, "Whatever happened to just plain crazy?"

Posted by: jawga | January 11, 2011 12:18 PM

He should be summarily dismissed. He should abstain from making political statements and talking about things above his pay grade. All he has done is alianate a future jury pool and stuck blame of countless of center/right leaning individuals, and we know what happens when fools like that speak. Democrats loose elections. The target was also used in 2004 except this time it was the democrats placing a hit on republicans. The democrats are even dirtier because they HAVE NO CONSCIENCE and use expletitives like nazis, astroturf, brown jackets and all types of racial ephitets to describe the american people. Guess what...we hear you, we heard you before we are listening now!

Posted by: minuramsey | January 11, 2011 12:17 PM

A great question. I agree with the Sheriff's opinion so therefore my first reaction is to say, yes, he should be able to express it. However, on reflection, if the Sheriff had started saying that the new health care policy was partly responsible for creating this tragedy or some such nonsense then I would want him to keep his opinions to himself. I would ask those that disagree with what the Sheriff has said to ask themselves the same question, if he had stated an opinion you agree with then would you be happy that he expresses it at this time? This is an opportunity to pause, to question not only how our elected officials express themselves but also to ask ourselves, how are we contributing to unhelpful, violent dialogue, are we demonizing those that disagree with us? Have we stopped listening to each other?

Posted by: peaceakate | January 11, 2011 12:09 PM

Sheriff Dupnik is entitled to his opinion on this matter. So is every other American citizen, whether they're a banker on Wall Street, a sales clerk at Walmart or the guy who just detailed your car down at the car wash. We are all free to decide how much credence to give to their opinions, based on our judgment of their knowledge and experience in the subject at hand.

It's safe to say Sheriff Dupnik has far more experience than a sales clerk in law enforcement matters, including dealing with folks who go crazy and start shooting people. For me, his opinion carries a lot of weight, and we would be wise to take his counsel seriously.

Posted by: rossasmith | January 11, 2011 11:57 AM

“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," he told reporters. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

"That's the height of insanity,"

Calling people insane, bigots, prejudiced and speaking as if they are stupid because they disagree with you. Nothing hateful here.

HYPOCRITES.

Posted by: r_leever | January 11, 2011 11:56 AM

I agree totally with Sheriff Dupnik. No need to fire him - he's 72 and looking at Hawaii soon for his retirement. I wish him well.

Posted by: sauerkraut | January 11, 2011 11:52 AM

Ah now that he has served his purpose he can be shuffled away to obscurity. The New York Times and other news institutions were in serious need of some political cover for their unprofessional and preemptive speculation literally two hours after the murders. Who better to offer cover for baseless political speculation that the ranking official on the scene who was actually in charge(And who happens to be an elected Democrat). After all…if he is speculating freely about the vitriolic rhetoric from “….the one party that is trying to stop the other party that is trying to help the country…” (Paraphrased)….Then anybody should be free to speculate.

Posted by: stevden | January 11, 2011 11:38 AM

I think Sheriff Dupnik has a legitimate right to voice his political opinion. I totally disagree with him, but it is his right. However, I think the people of Pima County would be better served by a law enforcement officer whose understanding of the principles of self-defense (both against individual attackers and a despotic government) is more enlightened.

Posted by: Ivan_F | January 11, 2011 11:31 AM

This sheriff is an idiot and should be fired ASAP!!!

Posted by: Christian1941 | January 11, 2011 11:24 AM

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