Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Florida Sheriff Threatens To Shoot Political Opposition Yet Is Endorsed By The NRA

Sheriff Larry Campbell
Sheriff Larry Campbell has been sheriff of Leon County, Florida, for sixteen years.  He's running against Lisa Sprague for the position. 

Apparently Sheriff Campbell doesn't care much for Ms. Sprague.  According to an article published this week at ThinkProgress.org, Campbell jokes about using her for target practice:

I told somebody the other day we have police standards that we have to keep up, that we have to keep our pistol proficiency up. And we have to keep our other police professional standards up. And I had invited the other candidates if they don’t think I can do it, go down and let me shoot at you and see if I can do it any good.

Here is the audio (relevant portion is from 0:48 to 1:17):

He might think it's a "joke," but I'm not laughing.  This isn't some locker room bluster.  This is a longstanding public official in charge of public safety, giving a public speech. 

According to the article linked above, Campbell has also been accused of repeatedly referring to Ms. Sprague as "the Bitch."  Campbell denies calling her "the Bitch," but there's no denying his joke about using her as target practice.

It's no surprise, given his fast and loose talk about gun violence and his location in the "Gunshine State" that Sheriff Campbell is endorsed by the NRA's Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) and the United Sportsmen of Florida, as well as the infamous NRA lobbyist, Marion "Stand Your Ground" Hammer.  From Campbell's website, where he quotes the letter of support:

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) and United Sportsmen of Florida are pleased to inform you that both organizations have endorsed you for election to the Constitutional Office of Sheriff of Leon County.

We appreciate your support of Second Amendment, self-defense, and anti-crime issues.  It is your support of these important issues that has earned you our endorsement.

Hate talk should never be tolerated by any public figure.  The NRA, however, has a long history of turning a blind eye, or even promoting, such language.

Most of our law enforcement officers are professional and respectful people who understand the impact of their attitudes toward their profession.  What a shame that Sheriff Campbell isn't one of them.

ADDENDUM (9/13/12):  A related website on this issue, from ElectWomen.com.  You can find a webpage dedicated to Lisa Sprague HERE.

UPDATE (11/7/12):  Sadly, Campbell won the election, and by a wide margin, 69% to 31%.