Monday, January 10, 2011

Hennessy Blames Sheriff Dupnik

Law of Nature: tea partiers love conspiracy theories. Especially ones about people they irrationally hate.

St. Louis tea party co-founder Bill Hennessy today suggested that Sheriff Dupnik was "culpable" for Jared Lee Loughner's tragic shooting spree in Arizona. Of course, fringe right-wingers have hated Sheriff Dupnik ever since he had the audacity to criticize "vitriolic political rhetoric." But accusing him of being at fault for the murder? That takes it to an absurd level and, as usual, one not supported by facts.

Here's what Hennessy says:
According to an internal Department of Homeland Security memo, Jarod Lee Loughner’s mother “works for Pima County Board of Supervisors.”

In the memo, obtained by Fox News and posted on Greta Van Susteren’s blog, the DHS agent openly speculates about undue internal influence. That’s because Loughner’s arrests don’t all end with reasonable closure, if you will.

Here’s exactly what the DHS report says:
suspect’s mother works for the Pima County Board of Supervisors* the suspect has multiple arrests … But no criminal record? Intervention by someone?
Hennessy concludes:
It’s not unreasonable to assume that that “someone” is Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.
Um, yeah, actually, it's pretty darn unreasonable. First of all, the suggestion, or rather question, that there could have been "internal influence," was entirely speculative. We don't know the details of his other arrests and there are plenty of possibilities for why charges might not have been filed. Second, even if there was influence, there are a lot of other people who could have influenced the process other than the sheriff. So with all of these possible variations on what might have been the explanation, it's already pretty unreasonable to assume that the sheriff was the person to blame. And finally, the memo in question is more than a little sketchy. First of all, it claims "Gabrielle Gifford is the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government" which is false. Second, it makes reference to the claim that there was a connection to the right-wing fringe group American Renaissance. This was reported very early on by Fox News, but has since been walked back and retracted. In fact, it sure looks to me like this is the memo that was originally reported to be a "DHS memo" but actually turned out not to be. Hennessy appears using almost two-day-old information that has already been corrected and retracted to support his conspiracy theories.

Not that any of the actual facts will matter to Hennessy. He hates Dupnik, and he'll glom on to whatever information or misinformation supports that emotion.

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