Arizona: A State of Mind, for Sure (update)

I like Arizona, it’s a pretty state with a great magazine, “Arizona

Sedona, Az

Highways.” Northern Arizona has the Grand Canyon, a meteor crater, Sedona, the red rock country and some friends of mine.  Sedona is a smallish community of artists, freethinkers, artists, artisans and generally interesting folk.  A short walk takes one into the places where forces are said to commune.  It is at the foot of the Mogollon Rim

Flagstaff is a college town on the Colorado Plateau at 6,910 ft, Route 66,  a railway line run through it. Beautiful Oak Creek Canyon leads to Sedona. It is also where the Grand Canyon, the Hopi, and the Navajo live.  Snow in the winter and a top of 87° F in the summer.

It’s really a different state of mind than southern Arizona, which has a few interesting places like Soleri’s Arcosanti , Biosphere 2, and the Shady Dell Trailer Court Motel in Bisbee, and there’s Phoenix.

The first time I understood Arizona was when I was gassing up on my way to California and a member of the Hell’s Angels pulled in for gas.  I’m always interested in motorcycles be cause, well, I ride. On this occasion I noticed that he had a Colt .45 strapped to his hip.  I wasn’t alarmed because, I quickly recalled, this is Arizona and probably others around me were also armed but less conspicuously.  In the ‘60s Arizona was more rural and open carry of a firearm wasn’t that unusual.

I’m not for strict gun control but I don’t think people should carry them in church, at weddings or funerals, in bars, schools or at political rallies.  Famos arizonans include Cesar Chavez, Geronimo, Barry Goldwater, Charlie Mingus, Linda Ronstadt, and Stewart Udall.  If you live in Arizona like as not you believe in a form of laissez faire independence.  You are tolerant (White supremacists, Minutemen ), the mystics of the North, and possibly fear immigration from the South.

For some reason Arizonans insist on blazing their own past with John Mc Cain mounting his semi-serious run for the presidency using Sarah Palin to polish his image. Then there’s the local law.  What’s wrong with Arizona?  Has anyone tested the water?

Arizona Showdown

High-powered firearms, militia maneuvers and racism at the Minuteman Project

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. — The predominantly Hispanic towns of Douglas and Naco are connected by the aptly named Border Road, a 20-mile stretch of rocky dirt that runs parallel to a ragged barbed wire fence separating the United States from Mexico.

The night of April 3, armed vigilantes camped along Border Road in a series of watch posts set-up for the Minuteman Project, a month-long action in which revolving casts of 150 to 200 anti-immigration militants wearing cheap plastic “Undocumented Border Patrol Agent” badges mobilized in southeastern Arizona. Their stated goal was to “do the job our government refuses to do” and “protect America” from the “tens of millions of invading illegal aliens who are devouring and plundering our nation.”

“It should be legal to kill illegals,” said Carl, a 69-year old retired Special Forces veteran who fought in Vietnam and now lives out West. “Just shoot ’em on sight. That’s my immigration policy recommendation. You break into my country, you die.”

“The thing to do would be to drop the bodies just a few hundred feet into the U.S. and just leave them there, with lights on them at night,” he said. “That sends the message ‘No Trespassing,’ in any language.” The conversation stopped just short of decapitating Mexicans and putting their heads on pikes, facing south. ArizonaShowdown

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And then there’s Joe Arpaio and his good twin Clarence Dupnik to the south.  Joe is famous for putting prisoners in pink underwear (for morale purposes, no doubt) and housing them in tents.  Sheriff Arpaio is in favor of Arizona’s controversial SB1070.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio investigated by grand jury, officials confirm

by JJ Hensley and Yvonne Wingett – Jan. 8, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic Read entire article…

Two Maricopa County executives said Thursday they will appear before a federal grand jury next week to testify about allegations that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others in his office have abused their power.

Arpaio denied knowledge of the grand jury. “I’m not commenting about the grand jury or what’s occurring,” he said. “If people are saying it, let them say it. We’re going to continue doing our job.”

Smith and Wilson are scheduled to appear at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. They were told that their testimony may take several hours over several days. “We were told that we are now federal witnesses, and we will be protected,” Wilson said.

Based on their discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Smith said the grand jury appears to be focusing on a variety of issues.  Among them are budget negotiations, the county’s courthouse project, deputies questioning county employees at their homes, threats of investigations of county employees, and a fight over a criminal-justice computer system.

Clarence Dupnik: The Anti-Joe Arpaio Sheriff in Arizona

Jan 9, 2011 – 11:55 AM

Andrea StoneSenior Washington Correspondent

Until Saturday’s rampage against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords left her battling for her life and ended the lives of six others, Clarence Dupnik was not the most famous sheriff in Arizona.  But after a pull-no-punches news conference in which he linked the shooting in Tucson to a poisonous underlying political atmosphere, the Pima County sheriff may soon become known nationally as the anti-Joe Arpaio.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” said Dupnik, referring to the troubled suspect, 22-year-oldJared Loughner.

Dupnik said Arizona, embroiled over the last year by bitter divisions over illegal immigration andhealth care reform, has “become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” Dupnik, who turns 75 Tuesday, became an instant hero among liberals, who drew a sharp contrast to that other septuagenarian sheriff over in neighboring Maricopa County.

Arpaio, 78, has branded himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” His harsh and unapologetic tactics to catch illegal immigrants have made him a magnet for controversy who has been accused of trampling civil rights and inciting hate. But they also have made him a tea party star and a long-shot candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

While the Maricopa County sheriff couldn’t have been happier when Arizona passed the nation’s toughest crackdown on undocumented immigrants, Dupnik was appalled.  A Democrat, Dupnik called the law “a national embarrassment” and wrote in the Wall Street Journal that it was “unnecessary … a travesty, and most significantly … unconstitutional.”  Still, Dupnik said he would grudgingly enforce the law because it was his duty as sheriff to do so.  Dupnik

About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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