Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Sociopath alert: Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," and he may actually be that. He's famous for having set up "Tent City," an extension of the Maricopa jail system, which he described as a concentration camp. It is an outdoor facility where Arpaio himself once measured the temperature at 145 degrees. (Most of the inmates at Tent City have not been convicted of any crime, but are merely awaiting trial.)
Arpaio is also known for limiting meals to two a day, and for serving inmates surplus food, sometimes consisting of moldy bread and rotten fruit.
In 1995, he re-instituted chain gangs, and in 1996 started female volunteer chain gangs.
Arpaio's sociopathic aura stems not so much from the fact that he thinks that prisons are too lenient; many agree with him on that. (Prisons can be hell, but that is usually mostly a function of the other prisoners.) It is more the gleeful vindictiveness with which he institutes these reforms, his self-righteousness, the way he publicizes them, and the way he expects the public to love him for his actions.
Arpaio even forced prisoners to wear pink underwear. According to Wikipedia:
Arpaio subsequently started to sell customized pink boxers (with the Maricopa County Sheriff's logo and "Go Joe") as a fund-raiser for Sheriff's Posse Association. Despite allegations of misuse of funds received from these sales, Arpaio declined to provide an accounting for the money.
(Sociopaths working in law enforcement never seem to feel that laws apply to them.)
Arpaio has claimed to average 200 television appearances a month. (Sociopaths can never get enough airtime.)
While immigration laws should be enforced -- I personally believe in deportation -- illegal immigrants are not evil. They're mostly just ordinary people looking for a better life. Arpaio treats them with ill-disguised contempt, as if they're child molesters or worse.
Meanwhile, for some strange reason, Arpaio and his office have ignored real child molesters. According to Wiki:
During a three-year period ending in 2007, more than 400 sex-crimes reported to Arpaio's office were inadequately investigated, or not investigated at all. While providing police services for El Mirage, Arizona, the [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office] under Arpaio failed to follow-through on at least 32 reported child molestations, even though the suspects were known in all but six cases. Many of the victims were children of illegal immigrants.
Violent crime in general has soared under Arpaio's watch. But Arpaio seems to prefer concentrating on highly publicized illegal immigrant sweeps.
This type of selective law enforcement, especially when it involves ignoring more serious crimes in order to aggressively pursue a lesser but more politicized crime, smacks of the sort of posturing which often characterizes sociopaths.
Arpaio also carried on a long feud with the Maricopa Board of Supervisors and various judges:
Over the two years prior to September 2010, feuding between Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on one side, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on the other side cost at least $5.6 million, most of which was paid to private attorneys. Arpaio and Thomas filed several lawsuits against the Board of Supervisors, including a federal civil-racketeering suit against the supervisors, four judges and attorneys who work with the county. Arpaio and Thomas lost every case, either by ruling of the courts, or by dropping the case.
In early 2010, Arpaio and Thomas sought to have a grand jury indict a number of Maricopa County Judges, Maricopa County Supervisors, and employees of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The grand jury, in an unusual rebuke, ordered the investigation ended. This action has been described as meaning that "...the case is so bad, there's no further evidence that could be brought [to substantiate it]"...
Arpaio was sued in turn by most of the people he filed lawsuits against. Being on both sides of numerous lawsuits is another sociopathic specialty.
Arpaio has also been cited for election law violations, misuse of funds, and even a staged assassination plot:
In 1999, undercover MCSO deputies arrested James Saville, then 18 years old, and charged him with plotting to kill Arpaio with a pipe bomb. A local television station had been tipped off to the arrest by the MCSO, and broadcast footage of the arrest that evening. The MCSO held a news conference shortly after the arrest, and Arpaio appeared in interviews on local television stations, saying "If they think they are going to scare me away with bombs and everything else, it's not going to bother me."
After spending four years in jail awaiting trial, Saville was acquitted by a Maricopa County Superior Court jury, which found that Arpaio's detectives had helped buy the bomb parts themselves and had entrapped Saville as part of a publicity stunt. Saville filed suit against Arpaio and Maricopa County for wrongful arrest. In 2008, the suit was settled, with Maricopa County paying Saville $1.6 million.
Showing bravado in the face of a falsely claimed victimhood is a dead giveaway for sociopathy. Sociopaths are forever trying to set up situations in which they appear the victim in an effort to evoke sympathy and admiration.
Arpaio is a dishonest, vindictive, cruel, egotistical bully. For his many abuses of power he really deserves some time in his own Tent City.
Yet the most interesting thing about Arpaio is something he can't be blamed for, but which holds the key to his character. It can be found in the "Early Life" section of his Wiki bio: his mother died while giving birth to him.
Arpaio grew up never knowing a mother's love. This explains his personality perfectly.