Clarence Dupnik Sheriff of Pima County, where Gabrielle Giffords was shot today, told reporters Arizona had become the capitol of hatred and bigotry. Voicing his disgust at todayÂ’s shooting in Tucson, the sheriff seemed to blame vitriol from radio and television as a possible contributing factor.
While speaking to the press about the shooting, which killed a federal judge and five others, Dupnik suggested vitriolic political statements in the media played a role in the shooting. “This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in andÂ I think its time we do the soul-searching,” said the sheriff. He went on to say, “The anger, the hatred the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capitol. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.” At one point he said, “It’s time to do a little soul searching about the rhetoric we hear on the radio, how are children are being raised.”
The sheriff never mentioned any particular source of the vitriol. However, it seems clear he was talking about anti-immigration types and maybe conservative talk show hosts in general. Prior to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, the sheriff was known for his opposition to many ultra-conservative issues such as ArizonaÂ’s laws aimed at Mexican immigrants. In August of last year, he announced he would not enforce the new anti-immigration law.
Sheriff Dupnik is holding the shooting suspect in his jail and claims the man has Â“mental issues.Â” Whether it is the SheriffÂ’s political views, or just a crude observation, the fact does remain that the social climate in America is becoming dangerous. Many have speculated in the past that it was just a matter of time before a Democrat politician would be shot. However, considering the lack of mental health care in this country, it is no surprise things similar to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting keep taking place. What can we do to change the public discourse in this country?