Jan 10, 2011

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik speaks at ...
 
 
 
 

WASHINGTON -- Some of the most pointed comments in the wake of Saturday's tragic shooting in Arizona regarding the dangers of vitriolic political discourse have come from Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who said his state has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." As a consequence of speaking out, Dupnik is now coming under attack, with a talk radio host even calling for his resignation.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," said Dupnik at a press conference Saturday. "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Although Dupnik has since been embraced by many observers -- there's a "Clarence Dupnik is My Hero" Facebook page, and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called his comments "extraordinary" -- others are not so pleased.

In an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation," Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Dupnik's comments were inappropriate and nothing more than "speculation."

First, I didn't really think that that had any part in a law enforcement briefing last night. It was speculation. I don't think we should rush to speculate. I thought that the report that we just saw from Tucson seems to have it about right: We really don't know what motivated this young person except to know he was very mentally unstable as was pointed out in the piece.

It's probably giving him too much credit to ascribe a coherent political philosophy to him. We just have to acknowledge that there are mentally unstable people in this country. Who knows what motivates them to do what they do? Then they commit terrible crimes like this. I would just note Gabrielle Giffords, a fine representative from Tucson, I think would be the first to say don't rush to judgment here.

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