The Sad State of Arizona

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Joe Arpaio has fun with temporary tattoosSimple-minded, retrogressive solutions to complex problems: that’s the Arizona Way. If Martin Luther King, Jr. is spinning in his grave right now, Sheriff Jim Clark is jacking off all over his casket.

It’s so much simpler to hand over more authority to pigs than to constructively handle sensitive human rights issues, and Arizona has taken the chicken-shit easy way. Whatever trace of pragmatic problem-solving may come of this Draconian institution will come at the high cost of dignity for all involved — and I don’t mean just for the brown-skinned targets or the xenophobes holding the handcuffs. I mean for all of us in this country who still cling to any shard of an illusion that the USA is the open-armed bastion of freedom and liberty we once claimed to be.

Our president has vocally disapproved. The Arizona Hispanic Republicans have dropped their support of Governor Jan Brewer. Truckers are now boycotting the entire state. Even a rep of the Catholic Church hit the nail on the head. And various groups are looking into the Constitutionality of the law. Of course, both the left and the right (especially the right) love to use and abuse the Constitution as the sole pillar upon which they base their arguments as to whether present-day America holds up to any original intent of our slave-raping, powdered wig-wearing forefathers.  (And anyway, what difference does it make? We’re Americans — don’t we know that when it comes to legal paradigm our word is meaningless?)

There’s much to be said for the pathetic state of affairs in regards to Arizona immigration, but the lazy ethic of Arizonan law (and law enforcement) as it  stands now is exemplified in an article by Ryn Gargulinski of the Tuscon Citizen. In one 2,000-word blog entry, Gargulinski investigates a Tucson murder case more thoroughly than the police who purport to be upholding the law.

Aaron Ham was murdered on September 21, 2009. Twenty-five years old and lacking any history of violent crime, he was beaten and stabbed 18 times by a 57-year-old man named Scott Williams. When police arrived on the scene, Williams was passed out drunk on the lawn three feet from Ham’s dead body — which lay with a knife still stuck in his neck.

Ham’s injuries were so violent in nature that (according to a friend’s response to the blog post) for his viewing his face has to be sewed up and his jaw wired shut. Also, he “was covered in so much make up because of his black eyes and his hands also had to be covered in make up because they were completely bruised.”

Ham was beaten, broken, bruised, slashed, stabbed, and killed. Williams did not have a scratch, and even got to take a wee little cat-nap on the lawn when the job was done.

The verdict? Williams never even went to court. He committed a murder, said it was in self-defense, and walked. The effort of the police? No investigation, no trial. Just taking a murderer’s word that he was protecting himself against an unarmed man, despite showing no signs of physical struggle.

Yep, self-defense. Case closed; open and shut. Sure, an hour’s worth of research might reveal the unlikelihood of the truth of such a claim, but hell…that would be hard work, and Arizona cops don’t have time to investigate real crime. They’ve got a lot of other ways to spend their time, breaking up families and putting pink underwear on convicted felons. Besides, flexing their muscle and intimidating all those subhuman Spanish speakers is just so much gol’ durn fun.

So, in Arizona, you can not only carry concealed weapons, you can use them to kill someone, so long as you say you were defending yourself. But god forbid you look Latino.

Oh shit, is that Sherrif Joe Arpaio? He’s comin’ right for us!



  • heather

    Woah! Buuuuuurn.

    Seriously, though…fuck Arizona. I’ve never been there…and now, I don’t think I’ll ever go there. I’m sure the Grand Canyon’s impressive and all, but I’m sure it’s not worth the trouble. If I was a dude, I’d travel to the 4 corners just so I could stand in CO and piss on AZ.

  • jackson

    One beacon of sanity: Pima Sheriff Clarence Dupnik will not enforce SB 1070.