Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has attained his 15 minutes of fame by mouthing off about the alleged culpability of the Tea Party in the tragedy of Tucson. A report on The Cholla Jumps site is indicating that Sheriff Dupnik himself may bear some responsibility for what happened. Noting that the report is unconfirmed, Fox summarizes the Cholla allegations:

Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County.

If this turns out to be true, it will be just one more example of an official with lots of opinions who can’t do the basics of what government is meant to do. Even pro-limited government Tea Party types would be in favor of dealing with death threats made by an apparently dangerous young man, no?

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, that good and decent town had to put up with a lot of “Dallas hates” talk. Never mind that Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin, had spent about as much time living in Dallas as he had living in the Soviet Union as a defector. Dallas, being the sort of place where people wore cowboy hats and the Kennedys were visiting primarily because they feared loss of the state in the next presidential campaign, was ripe for blame. Ditto the Tea Party. As George Will noted:

On Sunday, the Times explained Tucson: “It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But . . .” The “directly” is priceless.

But I don’t think the charge is sticking this time. There are two reasons: Many Americans are sympathetic to the goals of the Tea Party, and we know we aren’t haters. In fact, we are offended to be described that way. And second, unlike in 1963, there is a branch of the media that does not reflect the sneering superiority of those who regarded Dallas, and now the Tea Party, with such contempt. Want to know why they hate Fox? They hate Fox because it provides an alternative that was lacking in the era when Dallas meekly submitted to being designated as an environment seething with primitive hatred.

Oh, yeah, and I’m waiting to find out if Sheriff Dupnik was doing his job properly.