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Say it ain't so, Joe (although it's unsurprising that it is)
February 18, 2013 3:57 AM   Subscribe

Joe Arpaio has followed the NRA's suggestion and tasked a 3,500 man volunteer armed posse with patrols of 59 elementary, middle and high schools in the Phoenix area. The journalist details his experience of posse training, and the article notes that the same force may previously have been involved in the shooting of a surrendering burglar. History bonus: there's already too much Arpaio previously on Mefi to individually detail.
posted by jaduncan (102 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well that's a terrible idea. I really, really, really hope it doesn't get anyone killed.
posted by kavasa at 3:59 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Or, when it does get someone killed, that the US finally comes to its senses.
posted by DU at 4:03 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am astonished nobody has shot him yet.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:03 AM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Unbelievable.
posted by odinsdream at 4:04 AM on February 18, 2013


Is there a term for when a community starts acting like a small police state by advocating and implementing fear based safety practices? Police Community, maybe?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:11 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


And one of them may be a pedophile!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:17 AM on February 18, 2013


Jesus Christ. You know, I might be a socialist atheist commie hippie whatever (I live in Texas and don't vote for Republicans, so I'm all of those other things then naturally) but I don't think the second amendment is a terrible thing. I've grown up in a gun culture, and I know a lot of people who have guns and are responsible with them.

But this is just fucking insane. This seriously feels like it should be a story that history teachers talk about when discussing the early settling of America, when army troops lived in wooden forts and occasionally had skirmishes with Native Americans. Or something.

When somebody gets killed because of this newly-deputized lynch mob (and god for-fucking-bid it's a kid) are we going to get to put Arpaio in prison? At what point can the federal government come in and say "I don't care if you are the elected sheriff around here; what you're doing is crazy dangerous and irresponsible and you're done."
posted by nushustu at 4:20 AM on February 18, 2013 [52 favorites]


“We are paying him to have certified deputies here, not to bring a circus and not to use our town as a political platform,” said Guadalupe councilman Andrew Sanchez.

Because what every school needs is an armed circus. Surely this will help the pedagogical development of Arizona's kids and not at all lead to tragedy.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:20 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tempe School District, which oversees Frank Elementary, is confident that the intent of the new posse patrols is to keep kids safe, nothing more. “Our understanding is that they’ll be near the school, but that they’ll be off school grounds,” said Monica Allread, community affairs coordinator for the district. “The more neighbors and the more people in the community that can be vigilant and paying attention to what’s going on, and helping us keep people safe, the better.”

Totally inadequate. How many children will have to die before one of these good guys with a gun can race to the scene and do the superhero stuff?

A true believer in this foolishness would arm the kids.
posted by three blind mice at 4:20 AM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Don't these people have jobs to do? shouldn't they be at work? Where are the republicans who bang on about the workshy skivers now?
posted by marienbad at 4:20 AM on February 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's probably about time that the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' picked some neutral ground somewhere and just had a good old-fashioned shoot-out. You know, to settle things for good.
posted by pipeski at 4:30 AM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I love that only more guns can solve the issue of too many guns. Right wingers, what is it a defective gene?
posted by mattoxic at 4:31 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's probably about time that the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' picked some neutral ground somewhere and just had a good old-fashioned shoot-out.

That would be pretty one-sided, though, what with so many of the "bad guys" being made of straw.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:32 AM on February 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


Don't these people have jobs to do? shouldn't they be at work? Where are the republicans who bang on about the workshy skivers now?

Shot to death by this roving band of armed crazy people?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:35 AM on February 18, 2013


Arpaio for POTUS 2016!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:35 AM on February 18, 2013


"A separate chart for marijuana asks applicants to indicate their range of pot smoking from zero times to 51+ times."

What? Who's counting? And 51? How did they arrive at that magic number? Who makes this shit up?
posted by marienbad at 4:36 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


2nd Amendment or no, you would have thought there would be at least one law that stops controversial political figures from assembling their own private armies.
posted by forgetful snow at 4:36 AM on February 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


So if the posse is going to be off school grounds, what are they going to do? Set up checkpoints? No, they'll "only show up in the event of a crime." Which means there'll be 3,500 bored, armed, recently deputized folks wandering around in a small area with nothing to do unless the comparatively rare event of a school shooting takes place.

Sounds like the perfect recipe for something to go horribly wrong. One bored cop with a gun is bad enough. Thousands of bored armed deputies in such a small area? Pretty much only a matter of time for someone to end up dead.

I echo what nushustu said - someone get the Feds down there to take this mad dog to the kennels already.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:38 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


What? Who's counting? And 51? How did they arrive at that magic number? Who makes this shit up?

Sounds like it was cribbed from government service evaluations.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:38 AM on February 18, 2013


In 2003, Arpaio hatched a plan for a glorious prostitution sting, dispatching hundreds of deputies and posse members to arrest more than 70 men and women, cameras rolling the entire time. Ultimately, the county attorney refused to prosecute when it was discovered that deputies and posse members “deviated from standard investigative practices” by getting buck-naked and engaging in sex acts during the investigation.

and then...

In 2008, a posseman was arrested in Flagstaff for allegedly throwing his girlfriend to the ground and choking her while trying to sexually assault her. According to the police report, he threatened to call the police himself because he “had a badge” and knew the responders would be on his side. His record was cleared after an anger management program, and the man maintained his posse membership.

Yeah, let's trust these scumbags with the safety of children.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:41 AM on February 18, 2013 [45 favorites]


I still can't believe the DoJ couldn't find anything to charge that criminal shitbag with.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:45 AM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


"So if the posse is going to be off school grounds, what are they going to do?"
posted by Mstpt

FTA: "Together we watch a marked MCSO vehicle parked in the center lane of Avenida Yaqui, less than 200 feet from the doors of the school. A crossing guard shepherds kids from sidewalk to sidewalk. Soon another marked car posts up in the school parking lot. They are supposed to be patrolling the perimeter, not remaining stationary on school grounds, but these guys aren’t moving."
posted by marienbad at 4:46 AM on February 18, 2013


Yep. Sounds like an awesome way to build up a big, compact crowd of bored, gun-toting vigilantes. Tune in next week when we visit Arpaio's Shed of Oily Rags and Fireworks.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:49 AM on February 18, 2013 [24 favorites]


Paranoid, armed wanna-be-heroes with nothing to do all day but drive around hoping something happens.

Yay for them, I guess.
posted by Jimbob at 4:50 AM on February 18, 2013


It's going to be interesting when a rumor goes out on the radio and 3,500 gun enthusiasts in 3,500 cars all start screeching up in front of the school. "We're here, boss, we're here! Who do we shoot? Who do we shoot?"
posted by pracowity at 4:50 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This guy reminds me of the Governor from the Walking Dead.
posted by milarepa at 4:59 AM on February 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


Sounds like the perfect recipe for something to go horribly wrong. One bored cop with a gun is bad enough. Thousands of bored armed deputies in such a small area? Pretty much only a matter of time for someone to end up dead.

All well and true, but it seems also a stone cold certainty that if nothing is done, then Newton will be repeated. Was it not already a repeat of a repeat of a repeat where each time only inadequate measures were taken afterwards? Despite the tears and tragedy?

It's easy to point and laugh at Sheriff Dilbert from Arizona, but who wants to see airport style security at every school - with armed desk-marshals in every classroom - because short of that, in an environment where guns are widely and easily available, it's pretty much only a matter of time before there's another classroom shoot-em-up.

The alternative, rounding up all the guns and melting them into a big peace symbol doesn't seem like it's gonna happen.
posted by three blind mice at 5:00 AM on February 18, 2013


Since Newtown we've had accidental shootings at gunshows and an expert sniper murdered at a gun range. A tragedy involving armed "good guys" patrolling schools should pretty much end the last NRA talking point.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:07 AM on February 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I'm reminded of Joe Zamudio, who tried to follow these same philosophies during the Giffords shooting. Fortunately, without shooting anyone.
posted by frimble at 5:07 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we just give this asshole a show on FOX news so he can have all the attention and none of the power?
posted by Legomancer at 5:09 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


A tragedy involving armed "good guys" patrolling schools should pretty much end the last NRA talking point.

And it would, too, if the NRA paid attention to anything that didn't support their agenda or cared about anyone who didn't have a weapon in his hand. Not once has a gun killing ever slowed them down or made them too ashamed to stop holding up machine guns and declaring the 2nd Amendment to be God's own holy work.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:12 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we just give this asshole a show on FOX news so he can have all the attention and none of the power?

He had a show on Fox Reality, on top of his (claimed) hundreds of TV appearances per month.
posted by frimble at 5:15 AM on February 18, 2013


Once again, evidence that there are few things more dangerous, or more vicious, than a fantasist living their dream on the rest of us.
posted by Kit W at 5:16 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A true believer in this foolishness would arm the kids.

Don't give 'em ideas...
posted by Skeptic at 5:32 AM on February 18, 2013


The journalist missed an opportunity to ask about the weaponry the vigilantes posse will be patrolling the school with. Will they stake out a corner and sit in a rocking chair with a Winchester rifle across their lap? Be wearing 44 Magnum revolvers in cowboy holsters? Or maybe they'll be protecting lives with Uzis and Tec-9s?

The school should consider incorporating Kevlar vests into the student uniform.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:34 AM on February 18, 2013


Going to absolutely great when one of these bozos let's off a round accidentally sparking cascading "Shots Fired!" radio calls and then culminating in 200 odd SWAT wannabes shooting at each other behind playground equipment.
posted by PenDevil at 5:35 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are these thousands of armed "volunteers" staking out the private schools, too? 'Cause if not, I'd be pulling kids out of the public schools at the speed of light, no matter how much I disagree with religious schools --- and if Sheriff Looneytunes is sending his vigilante posse to the private schools as well as public ones, I'd be homeschooling until I could get the hell out of Arizona.
posted by easily confused at 5:36 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry guys... it's cool. Steven Seagal is doing the training.

FOR REAL!
posted by ph00dz at 5:37 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


200 odd SWAT wannabes shooting at each other behind playground equipment.

Sounds like what we did in 2nd grade recess, but then again nobody was dumb enough to give a bunch of 8 year olds guns.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:38 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't worry guys... it's cool. Steven Seagal is doing the training.

And he has had millions of hours of practice and training with guns...
posted by Pendragon at 5:39 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


God, you people. Why are you all such disgusting hypocrits???

Let's just think clearly and carefully about what is going on here - at least ONE MeFite understood the TRUE implications of this proposal when he/she commented thusly:

Is there a term for when a community starts acting like a small police state by advocating and implementing fear based safety practices? Police Community, maybe?

That's right - a Police Community. Think about it: one of these guys is probably a failed lawyer. One is a blonde hippy with authority issues. One is, OK, probably a little bit racist and homophobic and is significantly older than the others. One is a recently-divorced mother of two. And three are quite young; maybe one had a drug addiction is the past, one is an ex-football player and the last guy watches too much TV.

But the important point is, they are going to form a COMMUNITY. And they are going to do some policing - maybe, just MAYBE, with paintball guns.

You see where I'm going with this.

We need this group, because this group is better than the sum of its members. This group is not just a heavily-armed militia group. This group is a FAMILY. A family that will, God willing, prevent our kids from ever being assulted by sociopathic ex-Spanish teachers who live in the air vents with a monkey named "Annie's Boobs". I say: let them protect us all, for at least six seasons, and thereafter for a movie. And let them do it stripped to their underwear. OK, OK - just Jeffrey then. Dean Out.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:42 AM on February 18, 2013 [47 favorites]


Tucson is such a lovely city.
posted by Goofyy at 5:44 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The journalist missed an opportunity to ask about the weaponry the vigilantes posse will be patrolling the school with. Will they stake out a corner and sit in a rocking chair with a Winchester rifle across their lap? Be wearing 44 Magnum revolvers in cowboy holsters? Or maybe they'll be protecting lives with Uzis and Tec-9s?

From an NYT link I almost dropped in:
First to Sheriff Joe. He held a news conference on Wednesday to announce that he was equipping his deputies with 400 military-style assault rifles.

“We look far and wide for the best people and best equipment,” the sheriff said in a news release on Wednesday. “This Sheriff’s Office has the nation’s largest volunteer armed posse, we are the only law enforcement agency in the nation known to possess a .50-caliber machine gun which can be used in any needed circumstance and soon we’ll have more semi-automatic rifles in patrol cars than about any other law enforcement agency around.”
How fucked up you thought this was on the official side. Yeah, more than that.
posted by jaduncan at 5:46 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, weaponry unknown for volunteers, but given that at the same time the department is buying assault rifles I'd guess it's department cast-offs.

Other moment of class:
The sheriff’s timing was impeccably repellent. His news conference came on the same day that Gabrielle Giffords, the former Congresswoman wounded in a mass shooting two years ago, testified at a Senate hearing on gun control and practically begged Congress to do something to end the slaughter.
posted by jaduncan at 5:51 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This guy reminds me of the Governor from the Walking Dead.

Except that the walkers are way more civilized than your average rural Zonie.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:54 AM on February 18, 2013


Please, it’s for the children. And, yes, Stephen Seagal has stepped in to help with the training. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Huplescat at 5:55 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yo, good people of Arizona, it is totally okay to abandon that state and leave it to the giant toads and tarantulas. And then this posse can shoot the giant toads and tarantulas, which is a shame, but top of the food chain, baby.
posted by angrycat at 6:15 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


What? Arizona is beautiful. The crazy people should leave.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:19 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


As someone who comes from the old, deep south, I'd just like to say how grateful I am to Arizona for being the 21st century poster child hate in America. Y'all have fun with that.
posted by tyllwin at 6:20 AM on February 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Listen, you can accuse Arpaio and Seagal of acting like they're above the law, but it's fair to say that school children in this country have been marked for death. These guys are simply out for justice in a world where our freedoms are under siege. Is anyone else willing to put their lives at risk on deadly ground?
posted by orme at 6:34 AM on February 18, 2013 [48 favorites]


With regards to the truth of the matter, you've only approached a glimmer, man.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:37 AM on February 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Even so, orme, I don't have maximum conviction that this dangerous man can bring about true justice.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:38 AM on February 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


orme, rather than wait to find exit wounds on the children, we should make an executive decision, recognize that Arpaaio, Segal, and their posse are not above the law, that the bad guys are actually hard to kill, and we should load these guys onto a rocket and send them directly into the sun.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:47 AM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


As a bonus, it will take them on average 2x as long as the average American citizen to realize that they are in the sun, because they are from Arizona, and it is very warm there.
posted by NoraReed at 6:49 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


God, I really hope this man is being investigated. Why is it always the warm states?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on February 18, 2013


So Guadalupe is a small town of 5,500
Unable to finance its own functional law enforcement, Guadalupe relies on MCSO despite a painful history. In 2008 Sheriff Joe conducted highly publicized immigration sweeps here, complete with helicopters and a press conference in the parking lot of the Family Dollar. When the mayor accused him of coming to town under false pretenses, Arpaio told her to find another police department, and sent formal notification that its contract would be canceled. Finding an alternative proved difficult for Guadalupe, as other nearby agencies were too strapped to provide adequate service. That’s why the city continues to pay the MCSO $1.2 million per year for its services, despite the ongoing problems.
If my math is right, that breaks down to $218 per person or over a $1000 for a family of 4 per year. That's insane.
They have even disrupted Yaqui funerals, which traditionally culminate in a last meal for the loved one, beginning at midnight. Deputies have broken up the gatherings for violating curfew, despite the fact that nearly the entire town is in attendance.

“Obviously it’s not a party,” Sanchez says. “There’s a coffin there.”

But the curfew is midnight, and the law is the law, and the law is Sheriff Joe.
So not only are they paying an extortionate fee to be "protected" by the sheriff and his posse, they are being hassled by him? What gives? How is this even legal? It seems to me that if every person in town paid $10.00 a year that could have their own police force-- I can't imagine they need more than one guy.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:03 AM on February 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Is there a term for when a community starts acting like a small police state by advocating and implementing fear based safety practices? Police Community, maybe?

Is it bad that Police Community made me think of a mash-up of Police Squad and Community, like some sort of wacky sitcom about police cadets?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Abed: "Cop Rock"... That sounds amazing.
Jeff: Doesn't it?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:11 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"A separate chart for marijuana asks applicants to indicate their range of pot smoking from zero times to 51+ times."

What? Who's counting? And 51? How did they arrive at that magic number? Who makes this shit up?


I think the chart probably has a series of boxes, so you check if you've never smoked (zero times), 1-10 times, 11-30 times, 31-50 times, or 51+ times (or more than 50 times).

The paragraph before quote makes me even more suspect of the already sketchy process:
All that stands between these recruits and this life of adventure is Deputy Hughes and his 10-page application, which begins with an important warning: “Everyone has a history, and sometimes it is difficult to disclose experiences or decisions you may not be proud of.” Hughes explains the importance of honesty during this process, for he says he will subject the application to the same background check as a sworn deputy, even dipping into a candidate’s juvenile history.
Perhaps regular police are screened to include their juvenile history, but I thought that the juvenile record was largely closed once you turned 18.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:12 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't these people have jobs to do? shouldn't they be at work? Where are the republicans who bang on about the workshy skivers now?

My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir!
posted by kaibutsu at 7:12 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't get that either, Secret Life of Gravy. Surely $1.2 million p.a. could buy you five or six officers with a base and equipment, with enough left to take care of all the systems and integrations and ratifications that a new department would need? Presumably as a small, homogenous and community-centered town they don't need a lot of minding.

Mind you, if that's the way he protects them, I wouldn't want to see how his department behaves when he feels spurned.
posted by forgetful snow at 7:12 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The bad guys are driven to kill by a fire down below and they've been out of reach for too long. So before they go out for a kill the next time, Arpaio needs to make an executive decision. He needs to get Bruce, say, "Today, you die," then throw the kill switch and send him into the belly of the beast to deliver some urban justice. When this mercenary for justice and his flight of fury is finished the bad guys will be half past dead and if that comes at the cost of a few collateral exit wounds or a few innocents pistol whipped, then so be it. And I ain't just whistling "Clementine."

p.s. This is no time to sit around watching "The Onion Movie."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:13 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


So not only are they paying an extortionate fee to be "protected" by the sheriff and his posse, they are being hassled by him? What gives? How is this even legal? It seems to me that if every person in town paid $10.00 a year that could have their own police force-- I can't imagine they need more than one guy.

Goddamn tax-and-spend libruls; you can have my $10 when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
(You know, after I've been shot by Sheriff Joe's posse.)
posted by kaibutsu at 7:16 AM on February 18, 2013


Surely $1.2 million p.a. could buy you five or six officers with a base and equipment, with enough left to take care of all the systems and integrations and ratifications that a new department would need?

I would guess there are also licensing and insurance factors, too, although the whole setup certainly seems extortionate and cruel. Actually, this whole thing seems like that-- nice kids you got, sure would be a shame, etc.

I was listening to a This American Life piece on NPR yesterday about life in a Chicago public school: great staff but not much money, how the kids were all affiliated with gangs, because they had no choice, how they walk to school in the middle of the street, because the sidewalks and trees hide too many threats and prevent them from running. It was incredibly sad. Now these kids in Arizona get to worry about gangs of armed grownups who have the weight of a law badge behind them? I mean, I enjoy the whacky Sheriff Joe! headlines, but what kind of America is letting kids grow up in an environment like this?
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:21 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


If my math is right, that breaks down to $218 per person or over a $1000 for a family of 4 per year. That's insane.

My current city of 118,000 pays $78.7 million for police, fire and 911. That's $665 per person. My old home state of Western Australia pays $2.4b for police and justice services. That's $1100 per person.

It's certainly not as cheap as people make it out to be.
posted by Talez at 7:22 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Listen, you can accuse Arpaio and Seagal of acting like they're above the law, but it's fair to say that school children in this country have been marked for death. These guys are simply out for justice in a world where our freedoms are under siege. Is anyone else willing to put their lives at risk on deadly ground?

This sounds even better if you do the voice.
posted by Nomyte at 7:23 AM on February 18, 2013


On Page 5, we are asked to inventory our traffic and parking citations, plus every instance where we have been arrested, convicted, charged, questioned or detained by law enforcement.
"So I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one..."
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


This dirtbag is an elected official and has been serving Maricopa County since 1992. Tells you everything you need to know about Phoenix, really.
posted by Scientist at 7:46 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Abed: "Cop Rock"... That sounds amazing.
Jeff: Doesn't it?


I'm sorry to interrupt the regularly scheduled discussion, but I feel the need to point out that "Cop Rock" is a an actual thing.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:57 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


we are the only law enforcement agency in the nation known to possess a .50-caliber machine gun which can be used in any needed circumstance and soon we’ll have more semi-automatic rifles in patrol cars than about any other law enforcement agency around.”

Didn't I see this in a Robocop movie?
posted by zarq at 8:00 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry for insulting AZ above; I know that it's beautiful. I think the fact that I have an acquaintance who was a liberal poet in Brooklyn and moved to AZ and started doing long blog posts about 'illegals' has made me scared of the state. Like if you go there the sun crusts your brain somehow. Plus, Jan Brewer.
posted by angrycat at 8:04 AM on February 18, 2013


Every once in a while, I wish I were incredibly wealthy so that I could buy commercials in various markets that just come out and directly say "Citizens of such-and-such, what the hell is wrong with you? This guy's a bozo, and you keep reelecting him. You look foolish. It's pretty sad, actually. Stop reelecting this jerk, you dumbasses."

Michele Bachmann is a common driver for this fantasy of mine. Sheriff Joe's up there too, though.
posted by Flunkie at 8:05 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Don't worry guys... it's cool. Steven Seagal is doing the training.

The fact that this is TRUE just highlights how far gone these people are in their fantasyland of heroic vigilantism. That Sheriff Joe would ask fucking Steven Seagal to provide actual training instead of you know, a real expert/professional. It's like Obama in 2008 asking Martin Sheen or Bill Pullman from Independence Day how to be president.

This whole gun issue is not going to end well. I do agree with what's been said upthread that people in the future will look at it with disbelief as a strange time but for now, the gun nuts are removed from reality, paranoid and unwilling to reason and also so heavily armed that they're really dangerous. Even the most minimal, sensible move toward any kind of regulation on what they believe should be absolute freedom to own an arsenal will have them convinced that we're sliding into totalitarianism and that they must rise up and protect our freedoms with force. It's really scary.
posted by young sister beacon at 8:09 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


If there is a better red flag for disqualifying a person from standing around children with a handgun all day than "volunteers to stand around children all day with a handgun," I cannot imagine what it would be.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


send them directly into the sun.

I thought I was the only one who saw that movie.

Oh god, why.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:29 AM on February 18, 2013


I was going to make a joke about Police Academy: Citizens on Patrol, and the wacky hi-jinks that will likely ensue from this scenario, I even had a youtube clip cued up and everything...

But this is just too fucked up. It's not even funny. It is alternately sad and enraging.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:34 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I get e-mails every week, often more than once a week, asking for volunteers at the elementary schools in my town. Know what they want? People to shelves books in the library, help teach art classes, help with recycling at lunch, set up playground equipment, and sell popcorn to raise money for the PTA.

Not once have I gotten an e-mail asking me to come in and patrol the schools with a gun.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:41 AM on February 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


we are the only law enforcement agency in the nation known to possess a .50-caliber machine gun

They've got a technical? That's skipping past the wild west toward 90's Somalia.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:51 AM on February 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Ils sont fous ces romains"

Apart from that, it only semi-surprised me that you guys are paying way too much for your police. Just like you pay too much for your healthcare.

Trust is cheaper than fear
posted by mumimor at 8:54 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The alternative, rounding up all the guns and melting them into a big peace symbol doesn't seem like it's gonna happen.

I have serious doubts that this is the alternative. Thousands of armed vigilantes is "doing something", yeah, but it's setting up all the makings for things to go from bad to horribly worse.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:30 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still can't believe the DoJ couldn't find anything to charge that criminal shitbag with.

I like to think that there is a massive multi-jurisdiction conspiracy investigation going on.

(But then I remember what happened with the banks, and well...)
posted by madajb at 9:33 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If there is a better red flag for disqualifying a person from standing around children with a handgun all day than "volunteers to stand around children all day with a handgun," I cannot imagine what it would be.

I put it to you that someone jumpin' up and down and saying "I wanna kill. I want blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Kill... KILL... KILL!!!" would be a better red flag. Though if you did this, you'd probably find that Sheriff Joe would just start jumpin' up and down with you, screaming "KILL! KILL!" until he pinned a deputy's badge on you and said "You're our boy!" instead of sending you to the Group W bench.

But the number one red flag would be someone who admits "I have constant and barely controllable urges to shoot children and devour their still-living flesh, and that pales in comparison to what the voices keep telling me to do to teachers."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


The town of Guadalupe is absolutely tiny. It's only two city blocks N/S and a block and a half E/W.

Google Maps. You can make out the dotted line that shows the town border

The town is an island of yaqui and Sonoran Mexican people in the middle of otherwise boring suburbs and industrial development.

Seeing the wedding or funeral processions are really something else.

I used to live in an apartment complex just outside the Guadalupe town limits and would walk up to the local markets that had all my produce needs for super cheap, a carniceria that beat the pants off the local supermarket in price and quality and even a some great taco stands.


I can't help but feel that Arpiao's actions are racially motivated and an excuse to get more of his goons out and harassing the people of that amazing community.
posted by kzin602 at 9:43 AM on February 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I want to be all jokey and "LOLrepublicans" and maybe reference the episode of the Simpsons where Homer forms a vigilante group to catch the cat burgler.

On the other hand, I want to sob uncontrollably at the thought that this has such a high probability of resulting in innocent children being shot, and that there is nothing I can do to stop this madness.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 9:47 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


That isn't even epistiwhatever. That's just an appropriate username.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:56 AM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


" Why is it always the warm states?"

Bad ideas are like mosquitos: If you live far enough north, they die off in the winter. All your brain fluid freezes and congeals in November and you can't start back up on terrible ideas until April.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:35 AM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


This strikes me as not much different from a regular American police force.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Chicago had a public lynching caught on video tape last year where a man was choked to death by a CVS manager for allegedly stealing toothpaste. He was assisted by about 5 other men who punch and kicked the victim over a period of about 10 minutes. The police laid no charges. None.

I do not see how a bunch of ex-cons and idiots with guns is much different from what is currently in place everywhere never mind just the places that strive to be ass-backward.
posted by srboisvert at 11:23 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The tragedy I more expect to emerge from this travesty is teacher(s) getting shot by posse member(s) for teaching the wrong things. A Perfect Storm of Contemporary American Conservative Issues.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:31 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


3500 is the estimated number of posse members, county-wide. The article focused on Guadalupe but there are not 3500 posse members wandering around Guadalupe.

And there aren't 3500 posse members wandering around at all. The posse members are in one (or more?) of 50 specialized posses with some folks just doing paperwork, some transporting suspects that have been arrested by deputies, etc.

And there aren't 3500 armed posse members, the article notes that only about 500 have gone through the training required to carry (the NBC News story linked in that article says 300-400 but I'll stick with 500).

So there are 500 armed posse members, total, doing all of the things armed posse members do (that list is not here), including patrolling 59 schools, of which is Veda Frank Elementary in Guadalupe. Though in the linked article the only person patrolling a school that was spoken to was an actual deputy. The second person patrolling the school may have been a posse member or may have been another deputy.

I am not saying that any of this makes anything OK. I would still be nervous about two people - especially if they were volunteers - driving around or resting outside a school with a gun. If I still lived in Arizona and had children in one of the 59 schools I'd be concerned and trying to see what I could do to stop it.
posted by mountmccabe at 1:05 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


You'd think that at some point the chamber of commerce and other leaders would tire of the fact that Maricopa county has become a national laughing stock. It really doesn't reflect well on the community that this clown is allowed to continue to hold office. Don't they have any self respect?
posted by humanfont at 1:05 PM on February 18, 2013


The Colbert Report: Volunteer school guards perform weapons drills with Steven Seagal, but history proves that many have already had extensive experience with police.
posted by homunculus at 1:25 PM on February 18, 2013


Phoenix New Times reporter rides along with a posse member patrolling an elementary school in Anthem, a planned community north of Phoenix.

"The whole thing still seems strange. Steinburg's wearing the beige uniform, which isn't easy to differentiate from an actual MCSO deputy's -- if there are any differences. The shoulder patch says 'deputy sheriff,' and his car was an actual MCSO patrol car.

"Combine that with his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P, and we find it hard to believe that anyone would be able to tell that Steinburg's not a certified police officer."
posted by mountmccabe at 1:42 PM on February 18, 2013


Someone pointed out ages ago that Arpaio is exactly the kind of power hungry small town redneck that the A-Team or Night Rider or TV Hulk would take down.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:57 PM on February 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


The corpse in the library makes a really good point, and suggests a way that this-armed-volunteers-in-the-school-thing could be done that isn't totally terrible. Get some posse members to volunteer at each school (or "assign" them to schools if they prefer the paramilitary shtick). They'd still have the guns, but they'd be spending their time shelving books, helping the lunchladies, setting up playground equipment (that they already helped raise money for) and just generally doing productive things while remaining on the lookout for shooters, instead of sitting in the parking lot for hours.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:03 PM on February 18, 2013


Yeah, until the twitchy bastards unload a clip into the first unhappy teenage boy to cross their path while wearing a long black coat.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:18 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


They'd still have the guns, but they'd be spending their time shelving books, helping the lunchladies, setting up playground equipment (that they already helped raise money for) and just generally doing productive things while remaining on the lookout for shooters, instead of sitting in the parking lot for hours.

How would the posse look like they were on Cops then? They'd look like they were public servants doing like stuff with books in libraries and stuff. I'm not sure you get this at all. Now pass me that hamburger and some donuts like in the movies.
posted by jaduncan at 5:21 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Paranoid, armed wanna-be-heroes with nothing to do all day but drive around hoping something happens.

Oh, I saw that movie!
posted by eviemath at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2013


Arpaio is exactly the kind of power hungry small town redneck that the A-Team or Night Rider or TV Hulk would take down.

HULK NOT MERELY ANGRY AT ARPAIO BUT SYSTEMIC FAILURES IN CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS AND RULE OF LAW THAT ALLOW ARPAIO TO WORK. HULK NOT KNOW WHAT TO SMASH TO FIX THIS.

Hmm. It's an interesting potential episode.
posted by jaduncan at 5:32 PM on February 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


" Why is it always the warm states?"


Because when people can't keep their shit together, fuck up their lives, and have to relocate, they relocate to one of the Do Over States, where the weather is nice. Seriously, if you read the Florida stories on Fark, a big portion of the people making the news with their stupidity are people who migrated to Florida. The long time Floridian farmers, fishermen, et cetera, are another breed entirely.

I really do pity the long time Arizonans who've had to watch while newcomers came and turned that state into a clusterfuck. I've met an octogenerian cowboy and had a few hours in Farmington, NM to listen to him talk of his experiences ranching with a mostly Apache crew. He had nothing good to say about AZ suburbanite transplants.
posted by ocschwar at 7:24 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Paranoid, armed wanna-be-heroes with nothing to do all day but drive around hoping something happens.

Oh, I saw that movie!


Honestly this sounds like something like Kindergarten Cop, or that movie where a paramillitary group takes over a school and holds the kids hostage. Or something that would be in the background of a Judge Dredd comic or Verhoven movie.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:29 PM on February 18, 2013


What I think of Joe Arpaio is not safe to even put on the Internet...
He is a rotten guy. I want to know who he has been paying off.
Because who he has been paying off or intimidating is the only reason I can think of for him being out there.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:52 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A friend's parents had lived in Arizona. She told me "Mom has to carry a gun in her purse because of all the illegals!". There was no reasoning I could manage. So there's the transplant supporting Arpaio.
posted by Goofyy at 3:07 AM on February 19, 2013


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