Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Immediately in the aftermath of the shooting in Arizona, the nation was desperately searching for any information that would make sense of this senseless tragedy. It was in this atmosphere that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was thrust into the role of official spokesperson at a news conference about the shootings.

Sheriff Dupnik released some information about the shooting, victims, and the shooter and then introduced the local FBI Special Agent in Charge and also introduced the doctor who spoke for the University of Arizona hospital. After the others had given their report to the press, the sheriff returned to the microphone and made a statement that soon had many on the right outraged at his “politicization” of the tragedy.

Reaction from the right

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said, ” 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.”

Michele Malkin, a prominent Right-wing blogger and Fox News regular wrote on her blog, “There has been zero indication that [accused shooter Jared] Loughner directly or explicitly complained about immigration; instead, he ranted about illiteracy in general and inveighed against grammar control. But this, of course, didn’t stop pro-illegal alien amnesty sheriff Clarence Dupnik from shoehorning SB1070 and its aftermath into his press conference about the Tucson massacre.”

Fox News personalities, including Megan Kelly and the crew of Fox and Friends were among some of the most critical of the Sheriff’s comments.

Trent Franks, GOP congressman from Arizona – “You know, it’s bewildering and disappointing to me, while people are making funeral arrangements that somehow, uh, that somehow those in authority, those really given the trust to report these circumstances to us, would somehow politicize it before they knew what the real truth was. I was especially disappointed in Sheriff Dupnik, because we were looking to him to give us straight facts and he politicized this…”

Neal Boortz, syndicated talk radio host said, “I accuse the sheriff of assigning blame for a political purpose. He’s out there immediately blaming this on talk radio. But you talk about rhetoric, I mean is give me liberty or give me death… uh… that’s some pretty strong rhetoric.”

Normally, I would probably find myself in agreement with the idea that we shouldn’t immediately politicize such an event. However, if you actually listen or read what Sheriff Dupnik said you realize that he didn’t politicize it.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. 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.”

When asked if Giffords being shot could have been motivated by “prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik responded, “All I can tell you is that there’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol.”

Statement starts at 5:59

Nowhere in those words did the sheriff point fingers at the left or the right. He did not name a single individual nor blame any one source for the “vitriol that comes out of certain mouths.” Given that, one has to wonder why all of the critics of the sheriff happen to be from the right.

Could it be that those on the right really do realize their rhetoric has gone too far? Could they be feeling guilty about their calls for armed revolution or 2nd Amendment solutions? Could it be that they realize saying that if they can’t win at the ballot boxes then they will turn to the “bullet boxes” is over the top?

This pair of comments from a post on are quite revealing.

•  #23 |  r€nato |  January 10th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

it’s quite revealing that so many people read something ‘political’ in Dupnik’s call for civility, which named nobody and no organizations.

I wonder what you people would say about that bleeding-heart pinko Jesus and his divisive, p artisan advice that people forgive one another and turn the other cheek.

•  #24 |  EH |  January 10th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

it’s quite revealing that so many people read something ‘political’ in Dupnik’s call for civility, which named nobody and no organizations.

Because everybody knows what he’s talking about, which is why there’s such a disingenuous pushback against him.

In a post titled A Tale of Two Sheriffs John Cole of wrote, ” Two quick notes for David Gergen and the “both sides do it” bullshit peddlers. First, there was nothing partisan about Dupnik’s statements. He pointed no fingers at any specific group- he merely pointed out that public figures are receiving a lot of threats and that as a lifelong resident of Arizona, he has noticed a change in the political atmosphere, which DIRECTLY impacts his ability to do his job, which is keeping the peace. Compare that to the overtly political statements Arpaio has made… well, forever.” has published a similar article with the same title – A Tale of Two Sheriffs – that has more quotes from figures on the right.

Sheriff Dupnik is correct about the nonstop 24/7 anti-government rhetoric in this country. It is everywhere. There has also been a steep rise in anti-government sentiment. Furthermore, he is also right in that it is being promulgated for political advantage. What those who use this tactic to gain political power seem to fail to realize is that this anti-government sentiment isn’t going to vanish overnight once they realize their goals of controlling the reins of government. From that moment on, they will be the government against which so much hate has been aroused.

Since the Right claims the mantle of religion, perhaps they should heed the prophet Hosea in the Bible – “For they that sow the wind shall reap the Whirlwind. Hosea 8:7”  


  1. HappyinVT

    your diary because I’m going to post it here anyway because I’m beyond pissed.

    The head of the Danville VA Tea Party thought it was appropriate to post this tweet:


    That’s in reference to the incident last year after people posted personal information about the brother of Rep. Perriello’s brother online thinking it was the Congressman’s house.

    Yeah, it’s too fucking soon, moron.  And, yes, Keith was sadly wrong Saturday night.

  2. Jjc2008

    someone unafraid to speak the truth.  And his truth was on the mark.  He named no one but talked about the vitriol, the bigotry, the hate mongering that has become a constant.  It started long before two years ago but I think when people are living in a bubble financial world, a world no one wanted to acknowledge was on shaky ground less they have to stop buying oodles and oodles of stuff, the vitriol, the hate was there but many chose to not listen.  It made that fantasy world less fun when one paid attention.

    As you said, the sheriff named no one. Yet the right is freaking out over him and others.  

    The false equivalences coming from so many of the MSM is pathetic and just shines a light on their cowardice.  

    And then the right is just coming off as immature, narcissistic dolts.  Today Blankely was trying to make an equivalency between commentators on the left calling the right “evil”  and the right using “armed and dangerous.”  

    The Gergens are cowards. The Blankleys are the paid fools who would sell their mothers out for a dollar and a bit of power.

    My anger has not subsided.  Just reading Beck’s attempts to spin this to make he and Palin the victims nauseates.


  3. Strummerson

    can’t they put this in front of Kyl et al.?

    It’s really not that hard.  Not to take anything away from John’s analytic and expository talents, which we all recognize and enjoy, but all it takes is basic reading comprehension.  If anyone is “politicizing” it’s the right wing groupspeak-machine.  It’s an almost concerted preemptive deflection maneuver.

    Let’s remember, Hannity addressed a Koch Party rally, calling them “Tim McVeigh wannabes”…AND THEY FREAKING CHEERED!!!  Let’s line up the scorecard.  How many people have been killed by right wing activists in the last 20 years, and how many have been killed by scary leftists?  Obama may have a history of “palling around with terrorists,” the most significant of whom studies and advocates for public school reform in Chicago, but in the past two years, the two most serious incidents of political violence that come to my mind are Tuscon and the attack on the Washington Holocaust Museum.  Both from the right.  Let’s collect them.  It’s time to put together a case.  This IS a political issue.  It’s about the integrity of our public sphere, upon which democracy depends.

  4. DTOzone

    bearing the brunt of “dont blame poor Sarah Palin” from acquaintances of the same political persuasion?

    Cause I got a lot of “you’re very mean to her” comments from rather liberal friends.  

  5. tragic story has me pulled in every which way. and i started a stopped writing a diary on it a few times now. americans and their guns, the right and the tea party and the fucked-up ‘ed-ness.

    on a positive note – dupnik is the man.

  6. spacemanspiff

    Bold mine.

    Needless to say, both tea-party activists and their inspiration, Mrs Palin, reject the idea that they somehow contributed to the shooting. Mr Loughner, tea-partiers in Tucson say, has no known ties to any local group. What is more, points out the leader of one national network of tea-party outfits, it is not really clear he agreed with their politics. Mrs Palin, meanwhile, issued a statement of sympathy to the victims; a spokeswoman condemned any attempt to tie her to the massacre as “repulsive”. In other words, the debate about whether partisan rancour had anything to do with the shooting is itself becoming rancourous. Left-wing bloggers talk of the atrocity as a wish come true for the tea-party; right-wing bloggers retort that the left is exploiting the death and injury of innocents for political gain.

    Interesting take is interesting.  

    Dupnik spoke for the silent majority. Those who normally don’t give a shit about politics.  

  7. jsfox

    And see if I am any more successful at it than I have been else where.

    So far all our finger pointing, pointing out what appears to be obvious to us about the violent rhetoric and imagery on the right has fallen on deaf ears. All we have gotten in return is deflection, false equivalencies, and “who us?”

    If we cannot come up with a better way to discuss what is going on in our political discourse we are doomed to do nothing more than dig our trenches deeper and deeper to  the point that the trench will be so deep we won’t be able to see over the edge let alone talk to each other.

    And if this happens DT will be right we will not be able to come together as country . . . ever.

  8. fogiv

    I don’t think Dupnik was politicizing anything, but rather calling it as he sees it. Save those who immediatley defensive, I think a great many folks are seeing it the same way.  

  9. fogiv

    A majority of Americans reject the view that heated political rhetoric was a factor in the weekend shootings in Arizona which killed six and critically wounded a congresswoman, a CBS News said on Tuesday.


    …CBS said its nationwide telephone poll found that, “57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32 percent who felt it did.”

    Rejection of a link was strongest among Republicans, 69 percent of whom felt harsh rhetoric was not related to the attack, while 19 percent thought it played a part.

    Among Democrats 49 percent placed no blame on the heated political tone against 42 percent who did. Among independents the split was 56 percent to 33 percent, CBS said.

    It said its poll of 673 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

  10. The standard news coverage was awkward and stilted at first, then they seem to have found at least an ability to discuss the Vitriol issue (however stilted, still).

    Hannity and Beck were another thing altogether. The first five seconds of Hannity was “and now one Liberal who doesn’t think that Free Speech caused this tragedy.” Glen Beck (coming back from commercial) dramatically said “Marcia? Can you ask upstairs if we can have another ten minutes on the Internet after this? I think tonight is going to be one of those nights when (pause, sad shake of the head) I have to give you, more.”.

    Me me me. Enough about you already! Let’s talk about me!!

    The Tea Party blogger (Dana Somebody) on a panel on CNN – face scrunched in disapproval – combatively interrupting to defend concealed carry. Launching against Gergen and everyone else.

    ME ME ME!!!  Look at MEEEE!!!!!



    Does this really need narration? Dupnik doesn’t think so, and pretty well everyone agrees with him. He’s a damn sheriff, he’s seen plenty of bodies and now he’s seen more. He’s seen people do really shitty things to each other and people do really wonderful things for each other. He doesn’t really need to fill in all the Niceties politics or journalism might call for, he doesn’t have the energy to sugar-coat his comments, his friends are dead and injured, the people he is personally responsible to protect are dead and injured and traumatized, he has been unable to protect the young and the old, the women and children, and he just doesn’t give a damn about bullshit and excuses.

    Neither do the rest of us.

    You do not hear Democrat voters or media or politicians acting offended, because we all know that isn’t who we are talking about. We don’t have the energy to respond to your flustering refutations (Glen, Sarah, Sean…). If you didn’t believe you had anything to Protest about, you wouldn’t look like you are Protesting Too Much.

    Because you do protest too much. It isn’t any more convincing than Lady McBeth, and it isn’t any less damning.

    Keeping digging. Sooner or later you will find bottom. Let us know how that works out, we have stopped paying attention. Because we are tired, we are saddened, we don’t have the energy for you,

    And we just don’t give a damn.

  11. fogiv

    so much for a period of national introspection/reflection.

    After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

    Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols — popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters — flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

    “We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

  12. creamer

    Unless your going to train everyone that buys a gun like  law enforcement with psychological testing and the like, it has no impact on people shooting people. (except to possibly make them more efficient.)

     We live in a country where ones  “right” to buy a gun with as little hassle as possible, is more important than ones “right” not to be shot by a gun.  

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