Once again Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is beating the Fast and Furious drum to get attention.
Fast and Furious was a flawed operation to track firearms from gun dealers in the United States to drug traffickers in Mexico. It was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix and U.S. Department of Justice. It was a failed plan from the start.
Babeu, who is now running for re-election after dropping out of the race for U. S. Congress after he was exposed exposing himself on the internet, is trying desperately to shift attention away from his poor judgement and to the poor judgement exhibited by Washington politicians involved with Fast and Furious investigation.
Last October, Babeu, who was surrounded by nine county sheriffs, blasted the feds for Fast and Furious from the steps of the Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial at the state capitol. He demanded U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's resignation.
Babeu leads a local anti-Fast and Furious cheering section all while U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are already ripping Holder and have no intention of letting anyone from the Justice Department getting away with the failed program's outcomes.
I'm sure that these two Washington heavyweights are quite capable of getting to the bottom of what happened and holding those accountable who failed us.
While Grassley and Issa do their jobs, it would be nice if Babeu did his and focused on state and local crime and the public safety outcomes he can actually influence.
Yes, a Washington-bashing dog and pony show plays well for the media and helps raise campaign funds, but where's the concern for the ongoing failures within Arizona's law enforcement system? What about some serious talk regarding fixing what's broken at home when it comes to crime and illegal guns.
While Babeu regurgitates the tragic circumstances surrounding the murder of a U. S. Border Patrol Agent near Nogales that is linked to a Fast and Furious gun, he forgets to mention an ongoing tragedy involving the homegrown illegal use of of guns that has impacted Arizona for years.
Guns are the weapon of choice when it comes to cop killing in Arizona.
According to the June 8, 2010 study conducted by now retired Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, 20 Arizona police officers have been murdered since 1993. Since that study was completed, four more officers have been added to that list.
The Romley report also said that since 1994 over 40 percent of Arizona cop killers were classified as prohibited possessors. And since 2003 that number jumped to over 60 percent. A prohibited possessor is someone who is legally unable to possess a firearm.
Three of four most recently murdered Arizona officers were shot by prohibited possessors.
How many citizens are murdered every year by prohibited possessors who are armed with illegally obtained guns?
Babeu’s office recently lost a machine gun that was stolen from a deputy sheriff’s take-home car. That breach of Pinal County Sheriff’s Office security gave a prohibited possessor a machine gun capable of firing 700-950 rounds a minute.
Instead of worrying about Fast and Furious and the politics of Washington, D. C., Babeu should be asking questions and demanding answers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and state Attorney General about how prohibited possessors keep getting the guns they're using to shoot Arizona police officers and citizens, where the guns are coming from and what can be done to stop it?