"We have become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry"
So speaks Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Tucson, Arizona. Dupnik could have come straight out of central casting for the role of sheriff - he looks and sounds like an experienced man of the world, dealing effectively if sometimes wearily with the crimes and misdemeanours that he is charged with preventing. His press conference, updating on the condition of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was fascinating for his remarks about the febrile political atmosphere. He commented that there had indeed been violent threats not only against Congresswoman Giffords, but pretty well every other political figure standing in the recent elections. He went on to note that while the killer who is in police custody may be deranged, unbalanced people are just as or more likely to respond to vitriolic rhetoric. Dupnik cited vitriol about 'tearing down the government' - the sort of charge one hears with regularity from the Republican 'freedom fighters' - and made a heartfelt plea against the escalation of violent political rhetoric. Let's hope the Palinistas are listening.