Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik needs to “get a grip on his emotions and remember his duty” as a lawman, The Arizona Republic says in an editorial
. The Phoenix newspaper’s editorial is in reaction to Dupnik’s intemperate remarks immediately after the shooting of his friend Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., that blamed the incident on talk radio and lax gun laws.
Following Tucson fusillade Saturday that left six dead and 14 injured, Dupnik said the deadly incident was prompted by anger, hatred, and bigotry in political rhetoric. The state’s largest newspaper said that the comment, while inflammatory, “came mere hours following a horrific, bloody mass murder. If you weren't on edge, you weren't being human.”
However, Dupnik did not stop there and continued his assault against gun laws, talk radio, and mistrust of government instead of focusing on Jared Loughner, who is charged in the rampage. He made numerous media appearances on Sunday and again Monday to press his case that the attack was tied to “political speech in Arizona, which he considers prejudiced and bigoted,” despite the lack of any evidence, the paper said.
“And, in response, we have to say at last . . . enough. Enough attacks, sheriff. Enough vitriol. It is well past time for the sheriff of Pima County to get a grip on his emotions and remember his duty,” the paper said. “With each passing hour, we learn more about the 22-year-old suspect. And everything we learn adds to the profile of a deeply troubled young man detached from reality. There is nothing to date that suggests any partisan motivation for his crimes, whether right-wing or left.”
The paper concluded that with each new comment the “Democratic sheriff of Pima County is revealing his agenda as partisan, and, as such, every bit as recklessly antagonistic as the talk-show hosts and politicians he chooses to decry.”
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