For some reason unknown to me, I received a letter in the mail from Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. I’m not sure how I got on his mailing list. I don’t live in Arizona, I’ve never contributed to any sheriff’s campaign funds, and I’ve never voted for sheriff.
If you don’t know Joe, he is apparently one of the most controversial sheriffs in the Union. I was surprised at the number of controversies listed on his Wikipedia page.
He is particularly well known for his “Tent City,” an addition to the Maricopa County jail where inmates have to live in tents out in the AZ heat. Arpaio betrays his own taste for sadism when he openly describes it as a “concentration camp.” In his defense of it, he compared it to the plight soldiers in Iraq who had to bear the heat and wear body armor yet have committed no crime. But there’s a problem, Joe: a large percentage of people in jail haven’t been convicted and are awaiting trial (let alone the fact that many of them are there for victimless crimes). Thus, he fails to live up to his own standards.
So how about this letter? Here is the gist of it:
You’re not going to believe this.
Just three weeks after I was sworn into office for a sixth term as Maricopa County Sheriff, a group of radical extremists filed a RECALL CAMPAIGN to forcibly remove me from office.
I find it very interesting that throughout this letter, he repeatedly uses the term “forcibly” to describe how he is going to be removed from office. This is curious considering this group is going through the official channels of filing for a recall. And I’m not sure about their composition, but I suspect he uses the label “radical extremists” simply because this is a non-descript, catch-all term for anyone who disagrees with him.
This is very serious. These left-wing groups of agitators are the ones who spent millions in last year’s campaign in an effort to defeat me. Because they didn’t like the outcome of that election they are just now going to spend millions of dollars to force a recall election this coming fall.
So far they have raised over $1.3 million to defeat me!
As disappointed as I am about this, I understand that there are still elements in this country that have no respect for the Rule of Law; that there are those who who cannot accept the majority will when it comes to fair elections; that there are those who want to thwart the will of the voters and make them pay for a costly special election.
I wonder what “Rule of Law” to which he is referring, since the group trying to recall him have gone through the state’s procedures for doing so. I doubt his capitalization of it is to appeal to any natural law or something independent of the state; right after he appeals to majority rule, which is no principle at all. It is also puzzling that he talks of making voters pay “for a costly special election.” If he really believes in democracy, shouldn’t he consider the costs of elections a worthwhile price to pay? Or perhaps he would rather save the taxpayers’ money and appoint himself permanent sheriff?
What I don’t understand is why some of these groups would tolerate the idea of violence committed by their members.
A group behind this recall effort posted a comment on their site from an individual who stated the following:
“He should see the color of his skin and where he comes from…stupid motherf***er…let’s kill him. I will kill him for free. I am going to Arizona to kill that a**hole.”
Ignacio Carbajal is a U.S. Citizen living in Arizona who wrote these words while visiting friends in Mexico.
The threat was posted on a Facebook site called “People Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio.” This site is one of many dedicated to raising money and organizing the effort behind my recall campaign.
This whole section is misleading and rather weak. It is entirely inaccurate to say “A group behind this recall effort posted a comment on their site…” since they didn’t post it: it’s on a Facebook page where there is no comment moderation until after the fact. In addition, the page “People Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio” has nearly 120,000 likes. It’s quite likely that the page administrator is not able to read every comment posted on the page.
And this is not the first threat made against my life. Many threats have come in from drug cartels in Mexico to other suspects around the country. And several people have been arrested for making these threats.
This is especially interesting considering the fact that his department fabricated an assassination plot against him! One of these “several people” being arrested sued Arpaio and Maricopa County for wrongful arrest and the case was settled for $1.6 million.
It’s one thing to disagree about public policy but threatening violence against specific individuals is way beyond reproach.
The same people who tried to beat me in last year’s election are now trying to recall me from office and now appear to be tolerating murder threats by individuals within their organization. That’s wrong.
Now, someone leaving a comment on a Facebook page has become an individual “within their organization.” Notice what he is doing here in trying to paint his opposition as one large homogeneous group. This makes it seem like one large, criminal conspiracy against all that is good and decent. But, then again, he negates this characterization by including radical extremists, left-wing groups of agitators, drug cartels, and so on. It actually seems like there is a diverse coalition against you, Joe!
The entire effort to forcibly remove me from office stems from my unwavering position on enforcing our existing laws against illegal immigration. Period. Anything else my detractors say is just a smokescreen about their true intentions.
Here again, Joe tries to make it seem like there is one large group against him and they have no credible or reasonable reason to not want him as sheriff. This is simply empty rhetoric.
I’m going to continue to do the job you elected me to do despite these threats against my life. I will work for you and I will not back down one inch because of political or physical threats against me.
Now I’m wondering if I am some registered voter in Maricopa County that fraudulently voted for Joe. When did I elect him? And what exactly are “political…threats”? You would think that such a term would refer to police organizations that threaten you if you don’t follow their arbitrary laws rather than people trying to win political office against you.
At this point, Joe comes out with hat in hand and asks for money to help him maintain his power. Indeed, this seems to be by far his biggest worry: he appears to be far more taken aback with the prospect that he might lose his office than with the death threats. This leads me to believe that the latter are not a cause for distress by him but rather a welcomed event that he can use in letters such as this one. Why else would he have wanted to fabricate an assassination plot against himself?
Sheriff Joe Arpaio just comes off as a politician terrified of losing power and willing to resort to his perceived constituency’s primal fears in order to maintain such power.