I don't know if any of you are familiar with Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
You can read about him at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio
He is the one who puts convicts in pink. He also has them care for stray animals to save money, and I'm sure that is healthy for the inmates, and has them cultivate and grow their food. Again, I find nothing to argue with there.
The problem is he is a fanatic, and proud of being, in his promotional eye, "America's toughest sheriff."
My husband and I were recently forwarded an email concluding that it be great if every county in the U.S. had a sheriff like Joe.
Here is my husband's reply.
A Republican friend of mine has a son who served two tours with the Marines in Iraq. He still enjoys shooting and owns a number of guns, all of which are legally registered. Earlier this year, he went out after work with some friends to the local range and they went through a few boxes of ammunition. Afterwards, they stopped for a beer and he then proceeded home. He was pulled over by one of Sheriff Joe's guys for rolling a stop sign. When the officer came to his car, he was asked the standard question: "Where are you coming from?". He told him the story, knowing that one beer would not create a problem, and pointed out that the guns in the back of his car were registered. The officer told him that he wanted to search his car, and my friend's son knew he had nothing to hide so agreed to the search. He was given a field sobriety test, which he passed, and then taken to the station where they administered the standard test, which he also passed (he "blew a 0.03" in cop parlance, in line with the one beer he'd had). They said that it would be a few minutes while they checked on the guns. After a half hour in the sheriff's station, they told him he was free to go.
As he walked out the door, he was taken into custody by the original arresting officer, who claimed that a back pack in his car had "traces of marijuana". He was then booked on felony possesion and another felony charge related to guns and drugs. Since it was Friday night and a serious felony, he could not be bailed out until arraignment on Monday morning. Once the mid-five figure bail was set and paid, my friend tried to get him out of jail only to find that this was not possible due to an "ATF hold" on him, a federal convenience typically used for Really Bad Guys.
My friend then called the ATF, trying to understand why there was a hold on his son. The ATF could not identify any reason, as there were no warrants or any federal notes on his son; the agent my friend spoke with said that they would have to talk to the specific agent who made the hold. At the federal arraignment the following day, his son's lawyer (this was now getting serious) asked the ATF agent who showed up why the hold was placed on this young man. He said that it was an interdepartmental courtesy done at the request of the Sheriff's department, but that the ATF had nothing specific on which to hold the man. On Wednesday morning, he was finally released from jail.
At this point, he had lost his job, courtesy of the drug and weapons charges. His father had sold his pickup to pay for the lawyer and his bail. The charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. His son said that the conditions in the jail were execrable; food served was moldy, the jail was filthy and that it had the ambiance of something from a Dickens novel.
My friend remains a conservative, but will not be voting for Sheriff Joe. He agrees with me that "law enforcement" is far overstepping its bounds in our fear-driven society, and that the Republicans he voted for are only worsening a situation which started with Reagan's "War on Drugs" and then was exacerbated by Clinton's campaign to strengthen local police departments. As much as he'd like to, he says that he cannot vote for John McCain as he does not represent the kind of constitutional conservative he is looking for. I know that Barry Goldwater is rolling over in his grave when he sees people promoting the kind of "law" sanctioned by authoritarian pricks like "Sheriff Joe".
So when you think of Sheriff Joe, you might imagine what was done to one young ex-Marine in his name. I can't imagine you'd want him in your county and I know for sure I don't want him in ours.
The above are the wise words of Steve!!