Good reasons to question Napolitano, Arpaio - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Good reasons to question Napolitano, Arpaio

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Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:36 pm | Updated: 1:22 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Austin Hill: So how 'bout that Secretary of Homeland Security? I'm sure you've heard the news. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a report this past week noting her concern over "trends of violent radicalization here in the United States."

So how 'bout that Secretary of Homeland Security?

I'm sure you've heard the news. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a report this past week noting her concern over "trends of violent radicalization here in the United States."

The report was issued to law enforcement agencies around the country. Among the dangerous characters who should be watched carefully for "radicalization," according to Napolitano, are military veterans returning home from their tour of duty, and pro-life advocates - people who believe that unborn children are, well ... children. People. As in people entitled to human rights, just like "born" children are.

Military veterans and pro-lifers. Sounds pretty scary and threatening, right? Napolitano explained that, what with the economic downturn, and the first black president in the White House, vets and pro-lifers could be more inclined to misbehaving, and local police and county sheriffs needed to be notified of this.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Napolitano's report "appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans - including war veterans." Further, Thompson said he was "dumbfounded" that such a report would even be issued by the Obama administration.

But why would there be any obsessing over "civil liberties" in Congress? What does it matter if our government is taking aim at our own citizens? What's the big deal if the federal government has made military veterans and pro-lifers a target? This is, of course, the presidency of Barack Obama. He is bringing our nation "hope." He is leading our nation to "change." He hasn't even been in office 100 days yet. And the problems that exist in our country (vets and pro-lifers included) are the fault of George W. Bush. We just need to give the man a chance.

Right?

If you think that's a heck of a story, then how 'bout our own Maricopa County sheriff?

He conducts "sweeps" on street corners in financially depressed neighborhoods where lots of Hispanic-looking people drive by, some of whom could be "illegals." And last fall he ordered a team of deputies to raid Mesa City Hall and a Mesa public library building at 2 in the morning, and ended up arresting two janitors suspected of being illegal immigrants.

There have been concerns that during Arpaio's "illegal immigrant sweeps," some American citizens who happen to have brown skin and drive broken-down cars were stopped by sheriff's deputies and, after proving their U.S. citizenship, were issued citations for "equipment violations" on their car. Not that equipment violations are a problem, in and of themselves, but - so the argument goes - it's likely that had those drivers not had brown skin and had they not happened to be driving in "the wrong place and the wrong time," they probably wouldn't have received a citation at all.

And Mesa Mayor Scott Smith expressed outrage over Arpaio ordering his deputies into City Hall in the middle of the night without warning the Mesa Police Department. He seemed to be concerned that the sheriff's raid could have touched off an emergency response from Mesa police officers, and thus could have created a public safety problem.

But why the concern over "civil liberties" for American citizens with brown skin who get issued citations for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? And why all the fuss from the Mesa mayor over "public safety"? This is, of course, not just any county sheriff. We're talking here about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the toughest sheriff in America. The problems here in Arizona are the fault of "the illegals," and Joe is saving us from all from them. We just need to give the man a chance.

Right?

Austin Hill of Gilbert comments on political and social issues every Sunday. He hosts talk radio around the country and frequently is a guest host for Arizona's Newstalk KTAR (92.3 FM). He is the author of "White House: Confidential - The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History" and is a national columnist at Townhall.com. Contact him at info@Austinhill.net.

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