Tucson Murders and the Modern American Political Culture

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by William L. Anderson: A
Case for Private Eyes



When a mentally
unstable man murdered six people and severely wounded Congresswoman
Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, last January, Pima County Sheriff
Clarence Dupnik was quick to blame Sarah Palin
and Sharron
for the shootings, and others like Paul Krugman also claimed
that it
was a political shooting
orchestrated by the Right. Not surprisingly,
Dupnik was the darling of the Left, as he claimed that the "lack
of civility" from non-leftists.

Four months
later, Dupnik's SWAT charges gunned down Jose Guerena as they barged
into his house. Guerena allegedly was holding an AR 15 (with the
safety still on), and as
the video in this article shows
, Dupnik's employees wasted no
ammunition, firing more than 60 shots in a few seconds. Guerena
was still alive when paramedics arrived, but Dupnik's ambassadors
for "civility" would not let them tend the wounded man
until he was dead.

The reaction
of the sheriff is most instructive. In the January incident, he
openly blamed people who were not responsible for the killings;
in May he denied that his office shared any blame at all in the
killing of Guerena even though they fired the bullets. Guerena,
according to Mr. "Civility," totally was at fault, as
Pima County SWAT officers did nothing wrong.

Dupnik has
helped lead an avalanche of bad publicity
(much of it likely
untrue) toward the dead man and his family, engaging
in the kind of character assassination
that he would have condemned
in January. In other words, if Sarah Palin campaigns against another
Democrat, that is near-murderous behavior; however, when Dupnik
and his
lackeys gun down a man
in his home, and then
falsely claim that he must have been a drug kingpin
, that is
just being "responsible." (As Will Grigg has noted, Dupnik
blames the press for the bad publicity in the aftermath of this

While Dupnik
has turned out to be as despicable as some of Fox News might have
wanted to claim in January, he only is a small part of a larger
tragedy. American political culture, which to me Dupnik represents
in part, has become so hypocritical and so dishonest and so destructive
that I believe it is impossible for decent people to survive it.

First, let
us deal with the hypocrisy. Pima County is the "liberal"
county of Arizona, and there even is a secession
for the county to split off from Arizona. Home to the
University of Arizona, Pima County is decidedly Democratic in party
politics. Furthermore, Dupnik is supposed to be the "Anti-Sheriff
Joe," in contrast Republican
Joe Arpaio
of Maricopa County, who has made a sham of civil
liberties and rule of law.

Dupnik, you
see, is supposed to be the opposite of Arpaio in every respect.
Yet, what happens when his charges wantonly gun down a man who was
not a threat to the community and was well-regarded
by his peers
? Why, Rule of Murder must prevail, and even to
question it is to engage in irresponsible behavior. How is that
different from what Arpaio would do or has done? It isn't.

The hypocrisy
is not limited to Dupnik, as the propaganda machine that promoted
his lies last January has been silent on the Guerena shooting. For
example, the leftist Phoenix New Times, which has been (rightly,
in my opinion) attacking Arpaio and his political allies, had
dozens of articles on the Giffords shooting
(with all of the
usual accusations one would expect from the Left). However, in the
Guerena killing, it ran
only one piece
, and the article basically was little more than
a press release from Dupnik's office, although it did note that
the "raid" found only one bag of marijuana — in a different

which joined the "civility" crusade, had nothing on the
Guerena killing. Most of the mainstream media has been silent or
only has reported on official documents and done interviews with
Guerena's widow and her attorney. And so it goes.

The dishonesty
of American political culture also is exposed here. When Giffords
and the others were gunned down, the American media had no problem
running with the wild claims that Sarah Palin was responsible, just
as it has no problem claiming Ron Paul is a threat to "freedom."
(Mother Jones, while not a mainstream publication but nonetheless
is a favorite among Democratic liberals, recently
claimed that Paul
was unfit to be president because, among other
things, he was against the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Thomas Woods eviscerates that
claim here

However, when
one of their darlings engages in what only can be called an execution
of a man who clearly was guilty of no crime, the media is silent
or supports the murder. This hardly is a new development. When Janet
Reno unleashed a military
assault against the Branch Davidians
in 1993, killing nearly
80 people, including 20 children and two pregnant women, the political
establishment applauded her and her popularity soared, especially
among Democrats.

(Not that Republicans
have been defenders of liberty. The reign of George W. Bush and
his use of torture as a political tool and the acquiescence of the
GOP in this atrocity lets us know that, like their counterparts
across the aisle, Republicans are defenders of civil liberties ONLY
when it is to their political advantage.)

Keep in mind
that even if Dupnik's statements are exposed as lies and his officers
planted the AR 15 beside Guerena's body, nothing will happen to
them, as the political classes in this country are nearly invulnerable.
Yes, I predict that Guerena's widow will receive a future settlement
from Pima County taxpayers, but no one — and certainly not Dupnik
— will lose his job and no one, no matter how criminal his actions,
will be charged with anything at all.

In the end,
American political culture is utterly destructive. The Drug War,
which exists because of entrenched political interests, leaves a
wake of death and personal and physical destruction. Prosecutors
and police regularly lie and knowingly bring false charges against
innocent people, and the courts protect the worst of their conduct.

like Ron Paul, who speak out against this evil are vilified in the
press and marginalized even by their own political parties. Conversely,
the CIA sends out death squads around the globe and the former "civil
libertarians" who condemned such actions suddenly find them
necessary because Barack Obama is in the White House and must be
supported no matter what atrocities he commits. The government goes
on rampages to destroy productive entrepreneurs while spending hundreds
of billions of dollars to promote political entrepreneurship and
to prop up failed — but politically-connected — enterprises.

No decent society
can survive this kind of multi-pronged assault. A political culture
that holds up Clarence Dupnik as an example of "goodness"
and "civility" is a political culture at war with the
truth. When a good and decent man like Ron Paul is vilified and
that same political culture praises Clarence Dupnik, who supports
what at this time sure looks like a cold-blooded execution of a
man not charged with any crime, then we have to understand that
America the Decent no longer exists. America has decent people,
but they increasingly are being overwhelmed by the Dupniks and others
who see killing of innocents as a legitimate political tool.

4, 2011

L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland,
and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
. He
also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit
his blog.

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