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Something’s not right with that sheriff

News about Saturday’s horrific massacre in Tucson is all over the place.  The following is an effort to connect a bunch of dots that are quite deliberately not being connected in the “mainstream” (leftist) media.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s repeated slanders of Tea Party patriots, talk-radio hosts and Sarah Palin are not only bizarre, given the absence of any links between the suspect and those groups and individuals, but are also highly unethical for a law-enforcement official, who is supposed to be impartially and thoroughly investigating the case.

My first thoughts, in trying to explain the sheriff’s bizarre accusations, were along the lines of: “Who has paid off this guy to spout this stuff, and how many millions are they paying him?”

It turns out that the likeliest explanation is corruption, all right, but of a very different kind. James Kelley, a Tucson native who writes a blog called The Cholla Jumps, has reported that the alleged murderer, Jared Loughner, has been known for some time to the sheriff’s department as an unstable and potentially violent individual.

[Sheriff Dupnik's] blaming of radio personalities and bloggers is a pre-emptive strike because Mr. Dupnik knows this tragedy lays at his feet and his office. Six people died on his watch and he could have prevented it. He needs to step up and start apologizing to the families of the victims instead of spinning this event to serve his own political agenda….

Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed [of the threats], his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County. Amy Loughner is a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation….

Every victim of his threats previously must also be wondering if this tragedy could have been prevented if they had been more aggressive in pursuing charges against Mr. Loughner. Perhaps with a felony conviction he would never have been able to lawfully buy the Glock 9mm Model 19 that he used to strike down the lives of six people and decimate 14 more.

This was not an act of politics. This was an act of a mentally disturbed young man hell bent on getting his 15 minutes of infamy. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department was aware of his violent nature and they failed to act appropriately. This tragedy leads right back to Sheriff Dupnik and all the spin in the world is not going to change that fact.

[emphases mine, above]

The author of the above paragraphs, James Kelley, is not some out-on-the-fringes conspiracy theorist. He is a contributing columnist for the Arizona News-Telegraph and the Executive Director of SocialNetworkingWatchdog.Org, “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth and seniors on personal security while using social networking.” He is a Navy veteran, and was an analyst for the Naval Security Group and the National Security Agency.

Even without the Kelley post, though, we have these reports from the “mainstream” media, helpfully compiled by Patterico:

We know that the Arizona Daily Star reported on January 8 that:

The suspected shooter has made death threats before and been contacted by law-enforcement officers, but the threats weren’t against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Dupnik said. The suspect is unstable, Dupnik said, but the sheriff would not say he is “insane.”

We know that NPR confirmed:

“As we understand it, there have been law enforcement contacts with the individual where he made threats to kill,” Dupnik said during a press conference Saturday evening. But he wouldn’t say who those threats were aimed at.

We know that CBS News reported that Loughner’s community college professor had called 911:

“Class started and, five minutes later, he raised his hand. I guess he got the idea. He asked, ‘Could I go to the library and do the assignment and come back before class is over and turn it in for full credit?’ And I said, ‘No, that it would be half-credit, because it was due at the beginning.’ And again, he started his rant about the Constitution, pointing to the flag, pointing to the Constitution up at the front of the room, and at that point, he wouldn’t stop, so I asked the students to be calm and wait, and at that point I went to the next room, and alerted my lab staff that there was a situation, and I called 911.

Hill asked, “Were you fearful for your safety or for the safety of your other students at that point? Did he seem that he was violent in any way?”

Scheidemantel answered, “He was not violent in any way, and he did not threaten anyone directly. But I did feel uneasy. I know the students were feeling uneasy. And so we called 911, and two officers came out. They removed him from the room and talked to him for awhile, and then one of the officers came to talk to me.”

Scheidemantel said the school and police backed her up appropriately.

“Pima, I have to commend them. Backed me up and was right there. One officer talked to him for about a half-hour outside the classroom, and I think they realized that he was not thinking rationally, and the other officer mentioned something about maybe special ed or whatever.

I’d like to hear that 911 tape.

I’d like to see those police reports.

I’m interested enough, in fact, that I am filing an open records law request for the documents. Do I expect the Dupster to comply? Well, willful violation of the law can lead to damages, so . . . we’ll have to see.

[emphasis mine, in last paragraph]

As Karl Denninger writes, in an editorial at The Market Ticker,

Each and every one of those threats was an offense and had just one of them been prosecuted it would have resulted in the suspect being blacklisted in the NICS database – and thus he would not have been able to buy the gun he shot the people in Tucson with.

In the meantime, the well-respected conservative newsblogger Doug Ross has been doing some investigative legwork to try to confirm Kelley’s report. Ross has confirmed Amy Loughner’s (the alleged assassin’s mother) employment with Pima County. As for Randy Lee Loughner, the suspect’s father,

An unconfirmed report describes him as also affiliated with local government, working in — of all places — “Child Protective Services.”

The question arises, in part because of the sheriff’s odd behavior: did the fact that one or both parents worked in local government allow them to “pull strings” to protect a troubled child?

The answer to this question will probably be a long time in coming. James Kelley, in his efforts to get more information, has run into some difficult roadblocks. Only one day after his first, shocking revelation about the Pima County sheriff’s department’s previous knowledge of Jared Loughner’s problems, Kelley posted the following:

Since my last post concerning Jared Loughner and his past encounters with law enforcement, it appears that many people want and demand that my source for the information I posted be disclosed.

First and foremost, I struggled with ever writing the post I wrote. I had to source the puzzle pieces and vet the information with people who assured me they had first hand information regarding Jared Loughner. I wanted documentation. Unfortunately, the mere possession of the documentation would be a violation of HIPAA laws and the track back would be detrimental to the livelihoods and lives of the people involved.

Anyone in Law Enforcement or Mental Health in Pima County that ever had contact with Mr. Loughner is now in bunker mode. Everyone is afraid of lawsuits down the road. They are evaluating their behavior and checking to make sure they followed all rules governing the care of Jared Loughner.

Lawfully some of the people that had knowledge of Mr Loughner could never come forward without subpoena by a lawful authority. Others are just too afraid.

It is my sincere hope that transparency in the investigation will prevail. We are dealing with very big issues that will affect the prosecution and defense of Loughner.

That is the only thing that should be of concern to law enforcement at the moment.

In the end, it sounds to me like the sheriff’s weird behavior the last few days — perpetrating a horrible slander against political conservatives, instead of focusing, as any law-enforcement professional should, on the actual facts of the case — is indicative of the sheriff himself having some major “issues.” In my experience, when a person’s behavior cannot be explained by rational causes, and appears even to harm their own self-interest (e.g., making oneself look like an incompetent idiot), the explanation can often be found in repressed guilt feelings. The psyche will often attempt to protect itself from its own devastating self-accusations by turning outwards and unleashing all that vituperation on someone else.

I suppose a more cynical person might say that the sheriff could just be trying to cover his own backside, by attempting to deflect attention away from departmental negligence or misjudgment — but I believe it’s equally possible that the person he’s trying hardest to hide from is… himself.

Cross-post at West to the West Wing 2012

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