Arizona officials: Travel Alert
Have we become so cynical as to believe that Arizona elected officials make claims solely for political gain? Are we to believe that politicians promote fear in order to advance their own agenda? Selling down your state by discouraging tourists and visitors is unthinkable, unconscionable and a reckless disregard for the welfare of the state already reeling in economic red ink
We need to accept that these honorable people, to whom the citizens of Arizona have placed their trust, are not making wild accusations for political gain. To the contrary, they at great economic sacrifice to their state and political future are in fact conveying the message to stay out of Arizona as it is simply not a safe place.
Arizona elected officials are on record courageously contradicting FBI, Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security statistics evidencing a decrease in crime over the last few years.
Because of these contradictions, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is accused of claiming her state is overrun with criminals involved in murders, beheadings, rapes, kidnappings, drug smuggling, armed assaults and much more solely to win the governorship election. How can anyone believe that as Governor she would announce to the nation that her state is not a safe place to visit let alone to live were her statements not true?
How do Brewer’s accusers explain that Senator John McCain, presidential candidate, a highly decorated war hero, who has served Arizona for the last 24 years as Senator, supports her claims that their state is simply not a safe place to be? On national television McCain said that “Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the nation.” Those kidnapped are not children of millionaires or millionaires themselves. These are folks living in middle and high economic class neighborhoods whose homes are invaded and victims abducted and held for ransom.
McCain followed his statement with a letter to President Obama requesting troops be sent to Arizona because, “Many Arizonans do not feel safe within their own homes or on their own property. They feel that they live in a lawless area of the country and have been abandoned by the federal government.” And signing the letter with him was the other Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl. The letter stopped short of asking for a declaration of Marshall Law throughout the state. Is there a suggestion that Senators McCain and Kyl are also making these claims for political gain?
If there are still doubts about the sincerity of Governor Brewer and Senators McCain and Kyl, then take note that Arizona Congress members Gabrielle Giffords and John Shadegg also sent Obama a letter asking for National Guard soldiers be deployed to the border because “violence in the vicinity of the U.S. Mexico border continues to increase at an alarming rate.” The Congressmen’s observation brought the Arizona crime spree the 160 miles from the border to Tucson and to Phoenix – the most populated regions of the state.
If doubts still linger, then take into consideration that in the Phoenix region time and again citizens have reelected Sheriff Joe Arpaio, self dubbed ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’ whose department is overwhelmed attempting to stem crime.
His department’s annual budget has grown from over $30 million to over $70 million in the last 5 years, but this has not been enough. How overwhelmed Arpaio’s department must be, is borne out by the sheer number of arrest warrants his department has not served and cases that have gone without investigation.
As of 2008, there were over 77 thousand arrest warrants of which over 46 thousand were felony warrants not served. This places dangerous criminals loose in the streets of Phoenix, which in turn coincides with growing rates of violent crimes, plummeting arrest rates, and increased response time to citizens’ calls for help. There is no time or human and economic resources to investigate, arrest and bring to justice dangerous felons. Cases like a young 15 year old girl who was raped and Arpaio’s office had to close the case without investigation because of the volume of other cases, which one must assume were more heinous and vicious.
That “America’s Toughest Sheriff” intentionally not bring dangerous criminals to justice makes no sense whatsoever. We need to accept that Arpaio is doing the best he can but that crime in Phoenix is rampant and a dangerous place beyond his department’s control.
There is but one conclusion to reach – Arizona elected officials are telling the truth the state is living through a critical and uncontrolled period of high crime. The rest of the nation must heed their warning and not make matters worse by visiting Arizona since they cannot guarantee the safety of its citizens and visitors.
When it is safe to visit again, those honorable elected officials will let the nation know.
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