Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sheriff Paul Babeu -- Sorry Buddy, You Lost Me.

Last week I published my endorsements for various offices. Among those was my endorsement for former US Army MAJ and current Sheriff of Pinal County, AZ, Paul Babeu for Arizona's 4th US Congressional District.

I stood by Paul Babeu despite an outcry over his "coming out" as gay. I do not see homosexuality as a detractor from leadership ability. I have several gay family members. One of  them has remained in a monogamous relationship for over a decade. I know heterosexual marriages, with kids, that haven't lasted that long. I am friends with a gay couple that has been together even longer. They remain devoted to each other. All of the above have rather conservative values regarding how people should be treated, fiscal policies, government intervention, and the like. Granted, most of them lean more towards the Libertarian Party than GOP.

I endorsed Babeu based upon his policies and his platform. He has been a sheriff in Arizona and understands the needs of the people. He understands, and has been on the front lines, regarding crimes committed by illegal immigrants, "coyotes", drug smugglers and illegal arms smugglers. He has been involved in investigations and raids of locations the housed sex-slaves and their slavers. I have seen the ill effects of human trafficking and sex-slavery around the world. The fact it happens here in the US is appalling.

Paul Babeu stands for many of the same things I believe.

After he came out, I stood with him, still. In my eyes he is still the same person who has been a great sheriff for Pinal County and stood with Cochise County for many issues that affect our border areas. His being a former Military Officer actually solidified that support.

Now, that very fact is among the reasons I withdraw that endorsement and support.

Yes, you read that correctly. I RETRACT that support.

Sorry, Paul, but these latest allegations end it.

I have looked into the allegations concerning the DeSisto School.

I don't care if you ended up having an affair with a former student, if no longer a student at the time of the relationship. I am friends with many of my former teachers, professors, and military instructors. I also keep in touch with many of my former students. I am engaged to one of my former students. Our personal relationship began well after she graduated. However, Paul, if he was your student at the time of the affair, as your sister alleges, that crosses a line with me. However, your sister's words are suspect as even your niece thinks she is a little, shall we say, looney. So, the jury is out on those allegations.

The DeSisto school was set-up as a special environment with stricter discipline for "troubled" teens that had "some talent". I translate that to mean it was a school used as a "last chance" to keep kids from making one of those life-changing decisions that would have put them on a path of decadence rather than prosperity. These kids likely had discipline problems and behavioral issues. They may have needed a stricter environment to help them see a better way to live.

I do not like some of  the policies at the school Some of them I think may have gone too far, though I agree with them in a limited scope. For example, "Cornering" is nothing more than putting a kid in the corner. It is just a version of what, today, we call "Time Out". It is altered to work on older children using ostracizing. However, if continued for more than a reasonable time, it is not effective and does turn from discipline to abuse. That duration is still up to speculation. However, more than 8 hours is probably excessive. 14 hour sessions for days on end goes beyond excessive.

Utilizing other students to assist in strip searches is a little overboard. I can see using another student as a witness to insure no sexual abuse takes place as a good policy protecting both the students and the cadre. However, having students search each other is unacceptable.

I have no issues with group showers. We had group showers after PE when I was in HS. There was no sexual abuse. Abuse would be more likely in private showers where cadre could enter private stalls without oversight. There should have been adequate oversight to prevent any such abuse.

The "farm" also doesn't bother me. It teaches that a work ethic equates to survival and enjoying individual liberty. However, more than a day or two is excessive. It would be best served as something done on weekends, primarily.

"Sheeting" I do disagree with. I have never been a fan of the "dunce cap". This takes that practice to a new and abusive level.

But the school's policies are not what have me withdrawing support. I suspect that many of these "horror stories" from former students are just "sour grapes" for having made decisions that led to their attending the school. I suspect they are "sour grapes" these students hold for making decisions to take actions that required some level of discipline. So, I do suspect many of these allegations are greatly exaggerated. However, I do suspect some amount of abuse did occur, regardless.

I pull my support because Paul Babeu was the headmaster at the school. He was a leader. I pull that support because, while he may not have participated in the abuse or condoned it, he let it happen. If he was complicit, as the investigation alleges, then he is not the leader I thought him to be. If he was complacent, that is just as bad. It means he was negligent in his duties to make sure such abuses didn't happen, and to do his best to mitigate, prevent, or report them. If Paul Babeu releases a statement that he attempted to end such practices, then he failed as a leader because he was ineffective in stopping it.

Paul Babeu is vocal on Eric Holder's role in the "Fast and Furious" scandal. I have stated that if Eric Holder knew about "Fast and Furious" he is guilty of covering it up. He is guilty of facilitating drug cartels that are directly linked to terrorist groups that are at war with our country. If the truth is that Eric Holder was not wholly aware of "Fast and Furious" until after Brian Terry was murdered, then he is, at a minimum, guilty of criminal negligence. Paul Babeu has echoed many of my statements.

So, given the alleged abuses of the DeSisto School, Paul Babeu holds the same pecuniary responsibility concerning the activities at the school under his watch as Eric Holder concerning "Fast and Furious".

This alleges hypocrisy. These allegations concerning the DeSisto School are grave. Babeu can deny involvement and innocence regarding the abuses. He probably is. My problem is that there is no evidence he did a damned thing to stop it. Any good he did at the school is undermined by the actions of the cadre there. Just as leaders involved  with Abu Garaib in Iraq are held responsible for the actions taken by the rogue MPs, because those leaders failed to keep those MPs from committing those abuses; Paul Babeu is responsible for any abuses that did occur at the school during his tenure. It was his job to keep lines from being crossed. He failed. Even if the abuses prove exaggerated, he failed to promote the truth. It doesn't matter if he was investigated by authorities or not.

Sheriff Babeu, I hope these allegations prove to be false. I hope you the best in your career. I hope you are vindicated. I hope all the good work you have done in Arizona isn't undermined by these events. However, at this time, I can no longer support your bid as a US Congressman. I do hope you prove me wrong.