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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unprofessional : When Joe Arpaio's Shaming of Others Crosses the Line

Sherrif Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has made himself into a right-wing celebrity of sorts by engaging in all manner of publicity stunts and humiliating prisoners. Should you be caught by one of Sherrif Joe's goons, you can expect to be jailed outside in a tent wearing pink boxer shorts with ill-fitting pants sure to expose the rose colour. Arpaio's tough on crime outlook has made him the hero of many and the bane of Liberals, and some of his policies I agree with while others do seem a tad extreme, or at the very least unprofessional.

Case in point would be the County's website, which now has a section in which viewers are encouraged to vote on the mugshot of the day. You can search mugshots based on crime and demographics, with the purpose being to get a kick out of all of the unfortunate souls busted for everything from having an out-of-control frat party to murder. Sherrif Joe says that the mugshot galleries highlight how awesome his officers are at their jobs, but I think his real purpose is to invite folks to ridicule others.

To begin with, these people have not been convicted of any crime, save for bad fashion sense. I thought that America stood for fairness in judgment and penalty, with the presumption airing on the side of innocence, no matter how goofy a person may look. I also don't think it is an officer of the law's place to invite humiliation of others; Mr. Arpaio is behaving like a douchebag blogger instead of a community leader. This smells like another attempt for Joe Arpaio to massage his massive ego by offering citizens up for superficial slaughter. It serves no purpose in deterring crime whatsoever, and is in fact a punishment prior to conviction that brings a further stain upon a state that is often viewed as heartless.

The people featured on Arpaio's ego-inflating website are real life human beings. They have parents and spouses and real lives that are essentially ended by being the daily bullying victim on Sherrif Joe's blog. Not surprisingly, you'll find that many of the nominees have drug addictions or mental disabilities. The most disturbing featured photos are of those with physical handicaps or burn scars that are also prominently offered up to the cruel masses. This is absolutely unacceptable in any society that calls itself compassionate. It teaches teens that it's okay to be vicious to others and a man who has lived as long as Joe Arpaio should know better.

Run over to Joe's website and tell him what you think about his exploitation of the misfortunes of others for entertainment.

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