After calling for politicians and political commentators to tone down violent and hateful political rhetoric, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is now experiencing himself the force of right-wing hostility and rancor. Dupnik never suggested that the deeply disturbed shooter was directly influenced by political debate, but called into question the use of vicious rhetoric and violent imagery that has become all too commonplace in political discourse today. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country,” Dupnik said, “is getting to be outrageous.” After facing a preliminary assault yesterday, now Dupnik is facing an all-out barrage from the Right.
Drudge Report is claiming that Dupnik blamed Rush Limbaugh for the attack:
Actually, Dupnik asserted that Limbaugh “attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials,” but never blamed Limbaugh. Now Limbaugh is responding, saying, “This sheriff out there, Sheriff Dupnik, you know, this guy, he’s gotta be very careful. If I were him I wouldn’t say another word about this….But the sheriff is out saying that everybody but the kid’s responsible for this.” Limbaugh went on to say that “He has taken the occasion of this, a law enforcement officer, to politicize it, to advance his own political agenda, which he claims he doesn’t even have.” Limbaugh then implied that the Sheriff may be botching the investigation of the case in order to cover his own failure to stop the shooting:
The shooter did what he did in your community! You’re in charge of keeping that community safe, Sheriff. What did you do? Was this the first time you heard about the shooter or did you have knowledge of the shooter before this? I would wager that the sheriff knew of this shooter long before this event, but the sheriff has gone ahead now with these comments, and he’s given… He has given the defense a case. My guess is the sheriff wouldn’t mind president shooter’s acquitted. After all, it’s not the shooter’s fault! If you carry the sheriff’s logic all the way out.
David Limbaugh, Rush’s brother and a conservative commentator, slammed Dupnik for not having “a scintilla of proof to support his slander,” Allahpundit of the popular right-wing blog HotAir called Dupnik “a ludicrous political hack and a disgrace to his office,” and Michelle Malkin dismissed him as a “pro-illegal alien amnesty sheriff.” The Heritage Foundation accused the Sheriff of using “this tragedy for political gain” and the Media Research Center was riled that Tom Brokaw “praised Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz. for condemning political vitriol.”
Of course, any time Rush Limbaugh is on the defensive a Republican congressman must get involved. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) told the Associated Press that Dupnik is an “irresponsible” sheriff: “I don’t see any link whatsoever at this point between vitriolic discourse and someone plowing down his fellow citizens. I think frankly it’s irresponsible of the sheriff to say that.” Like Limbaugh, Rep. Kingston tried to put the onus on the sheriff: “If the local jurisdiction knew about this guy, there’s a question to me of this sheriff who’s so quick to condemn vitriolic political discourse … how come he missed it?”
If you would like to show your support for Sheriff Dupnik, please take a moment to sign a letter of solidarity with him against the increasing smears he is facing from the Right.