Friday afternoon, Americans Against Immigration Amnesty (AAIA– a right-wing group from Utah) and the Pima County Tea Party Patriots held a Dump Dupnik Rally in front of the Sheriff’s Office.
Not to be outdone, supporters of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik held a counter rally at the same location.
Depending upon which Arizona Daily Star article you read, either 200 or 350 people attended the rallies. (My guesstimate is about 200.) The group was pretty much evenly split between supporters and detractors of the sheriff.
Although the Star continues to report that the Dupnik recall effort is based his speech against hatred and vitriol at the press conference following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I contend that it is all about his anti-SB1070 stance and that his heartfelt words about hatred in America are just an excuse for action. The primary backer of the recall effort is AAIA, the brainchild of a right-wing talk radio host in Utah, is an anti-illegal immigrant/pro-SB1070 group. Locally, the Pima County Tea Party Patriots and right-wing talk radio host Jon Justice– also SB1070 aficionados– are trying to fan the recall flames. If yesterday’s rally was any indication, Dupnik has plenty of supporters in Tucson.
There was no lack of opinions or creative signage at the dueling rallies. For a taste of the events, check out the video below.
CAPTION: Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's Press Conference after the Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords
After the Tucson massacre and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords early this month, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik called on the nation to do some soul-searching and blamed hateful, vitriolic speech for creating an atmosphere of hate in this country. Dupnik’s honesty in the face of tragedy won him hundreds– if not thousands– of supporters and enemies and catapulted him to the national stage with interviews on several television networks.
Now, a right-wing, anti-immigrant group– Americans Against Immigration Amnesty (AAIA)– from Utah has started a recall effort against Dupnik. Here is their vitriol against Dupnik from AAIA website. Compare AAIA’s totally inaccurate description of Dupnik’s comments below with the actual video footage above.
“Beginning the day of the horrific events in Tucson, Arizona that claimed the lives of 6 and injured so many others, we were deluged with emails and phone calls from members and non-members in Arizona, as well as across the United States concerning the actions of Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. Our members and Americans in general were bewildered by the Sheriff’s shameless political grandstanding and irresponsible comments within hours of this tragedy. As one member of AAIA said, ‘the Sheriff has forever sullied his office, uniform and badge’.
In light of the requests from our members and Americans across the nation, we have completed our research, conferred with the appropriate legal experts and have concluded that the recall of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupinik is the appropriate course on behalf of the citizens of Pima County. We will therefore proceed with such a recall effort and are preparing the Petitions to be forwarded to Pima County registered voters to begin gathering the required signatures. Our goal will be to gather 110,000 signatures in the coming weeks and this matter will promptly proceed to a recall election.”– Dan Baltes, Executive Director, Americans Against Immigration Amnesty
Americans Against Immigration Amnesty is a section 527 political organization with members in 47 states.
Why are AAIA, FOX, the Tea Party Patriots, and Justice really after Dupnik? It has absolutely nothing to do with his comments after the Tucson massacre. These groups are targeting him because he was one of the few elected officials in Arizona who took a firm stand against SB1070– Arizona’s strict anti-immigrant legislation– last year. In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, Dupnik didn’t mince words about SB1070
I have argued from the moment that this bill was signed that it is unnecessary, that it is a travesty, and most significantly, that it is unconstitutional.
Pima County, where I am sheriff, shares 123 miles of border with Mexico. Patrolling this area for illegal immigrants is like trying to keep water from passing through a sieve.
The pro-SB1070 Pima County Tea Party Patriots (not to be confused with the Tucson Tea Party) is planning a Dump Dupnik rally for this coming Friday. There are rumblings of a counter-protest by Dupnik supporters– which locally probably outnumber his detractors. The Pima County Democratic Party is suggesting donating blood to the Red Cross as a peaceful protest to the Tea Party.
The bottomline is: the right-wing is trying to suppress freedom of speech, silence Dupnik, and intimidate politicians from speaking from their hearts. We can’t let them get away with that. I’ll let you decide what to do about it.
Glock semiautomatic handgun like the one used to shoot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and kill six innocent people in Tucson on January 8, 2010. (Photo Credit: Stinsonarms.com)
Regardless of what Bill O’Rielly says, right-wingers are the masters of spin.
I knew that my anti-gun-violence article in Sunday’s Tucson Citizen would spark a plethora of the 2nd Amendment freedom comments, but I was really surprised at the level of denial regarding the link between gun ownership and violence.
I was particularly shocked that some commenters said if there had been armed citizens in the crowd at the Safeway that they could have stopped the gunman from shooting 18 people and killing six. (That’s the ticket– a re-enactment of Shootout at the OK Corral in suburban Tucson. People, just because you own a gun doesn’t mean you magically know how to shoot straight.)
Another person basically said, S**t happens and brushed off the assassination attempt and mass murder as something that happens in a country with so many people.
To Heller, Saturday’s shooting rampage, which killed six and injured 14 outside a northwest-side Safeway store, is evidence of the wisdom of liberal gun laws.
“This shows why it is so vital to have an armed citizenry,” Heller said. “If you can’t get the guns out of society, what can you do? You can have a well-prepared citizenry.”
Personally, I agree with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who called out Arizona politicians for passing racist laws and fanning the flames of hatred and bigotry in our state.
Now Dupnik is coming under fire from wing-nut talk radio host Jon Justice and Senator Jon Kyl. As the right mobilizes against Dupnik for having the nerve to speak truth to power, the left is organizing a boycott of Justice’s advertisers.
CREDIT: FOX News
CAPTION: Clarence Dupnik, Pima County AZ Sheriff, Blames AZ Political Culture for Shooting
Pamela Powers Hannley writes the Tucson Progressive blog on the TucsonCitizen.com and contributes articles to the Huffington Post and Salon.com. She has had more than 30 years of experience in written, visual, and electronic communication—including freelance writing, photography, graphic design, and consulting. In addition to blogging for the Citizen, she is the Managing Editor of an international medical research journal.
Hannley has authored medical research articles, print magazine and newspaper stories, and numerous cancer prevention and self-help publications.
She has been a blogger since 2006, joined the ranks of Tucson Citizen bloggers in October 2010, and started contributing to the Huffington Post in 2011 and to Salon.com in 2012.
Hannley holds a masters’ degree in public health from The University of Arizona and a bachelors’ degree in journalism from The Ohio State University. She is a native of Amherst, Ohio but has lived in Tucson since 1981.