All weekend, we have heard that we just don’t know what motivated Jared Loughner — but regardless of whether the evidence is there, recent events certainly raise the issue of whether he was motivated by extreme right-wing rhetoric.
For example, watch the introduction to this clip:
Forgive me if it sounds like I am co-opting the “we don’t know, but let’s raise this partisan non-sequitur anyway” format, but I have some questions about our friend Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. And unlike the questions our lefty friends have been raising, these questions seem legitimate.
At this point, we just don’t know whether Sheriff Dupnik missed (or deliberately passed up) an opportunity to prosecute Jared Lee Loughner for criminal threats, possibly preventing a tragedy.
And we just don’t know whether that is the reason that Dupnik has been thrilling cynical lefties with his brazen partisan politicization of the Giffords shooting.
But regardless of whether the evidence is there, recent events certainly raise the issue of whether local law enforcement officials in this country spew partisan nonsense to divert people’s attention from their own failings.
As someone who works in law enforcement, I am well aware that it is all too easy for members of the public to play Monday morning quarterback and accuse law enforcement of having dropped the ball. That said, Dupnik has certainly acted more like a shrill lefty New York Times columnist than like a sheriff devoted to things like evidence. What’s more, a blog called The Cholla Jumps is making some direct accusations:
This is the report that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been dreading since the tragic event on Saturday January 8.
The sheriff has been editorializing and politicizing the event since he took the podium to report on the incident. His 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, 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. My sympathies and my heart goes out to her and the rest of Mr. Loughner’s family. This tragedy must be tearing them up inside wondering if they had done the right things in trying to manage Jared’s obvious mental instability.
Is there anything to this? Certainly the blogger is correct that Loughner had threatened people and acted bizarre, and that Pima law enforcement knew about this. Even absent this “The Cholla Jumps” post, we certainly know — because Dupnik has admitted it — that Loughner had been called to the attention of Pima law enforcement before, specifically in connection with death threats.
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 Lougher’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.
As for The Cholla Jumps, I am trying to get in touch with the author of the post, to ask: Who are you? What’s your evidence? Whom did Loughner threaten?
There are limited answers to some of those questions already.
His “About” page at his blog says Kelley is a Navy veteran who was “a Balkan area, Middle East North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Gulf Area analyst for the Naval Security Group and the National Security Agency.”
He has a Twitter account at @thechollajumps, where an intriguing message caught my eye: “Gunman Loughner threatened bloggers in past.”
Bloggers, eh? Like Mr. Kelley himself??
Well, as I say, I am working on contacting Mr. Kelley. I’ll let you know what I hear back.
Because, you know, there are questions that need to be answered.
UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. If you like what you see here, bookmark the site and please do return!