The Corner

The Political Sheriff

Let’s conduct a thought experiment.  Suppose Sheriff Dupnik had gone to the podium Saturday and said, “You know, hundreds of thousands of people violate the law in this county every year, crossing illegally into the United States.  Some of them commit murders along the way.  Arizona has become a Mecca for lawlessness.  And yet for certain people the only question is when we should give amnesty to the lawless.  That kind of talk breeds contempt for the law and for lawmakers.  This was an individual with mental issues, and when you excuse one kind of crime on a mass scale it’s bound to make an unbalanced individual think that all crimes can be excused.”  He would have been justly criticized for politicizing a law-enforcement investigation with a non sequitur.  There was no evidence linking illegal immigration to the attack on Rep. Giffords.  He’d have stepped down by now, amid a chorus of media catcalls.

Instead what he said was, “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 has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”  There was no more evidence for his claim that this attack was linked to bigotry and prejudice than there was that it was linked to illegal immigration, and his outburst, repeated more mildly on Sunday, was every bit as political as dragging in immigration would have been.  So when does he step down?

— Stewart Baker served as assistant secretary of homeland security for policy under Pres. George W. Bush and is the author of Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Science & Tech

Set NASA Free

The Trump administration has proposed shifting the International Space Station from a NASA-exclusive research facility to a semi-public, semi-private one. Its plan would nix all government funding for the ISS by 2025 and award at least $150 million per year to NASA to help with the transition. This would be a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More