• 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
    Angle
    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.

    Furthermore,
    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
    killing.)

    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
    movement
    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
    home.

    Sojourners,
    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.

    Men
    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.

    June
    4, 2011

    William
    L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
    mail
    ], 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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