Way too often those of us who live in Arizona are embarrassed when a story sweeps national and even international media about a bonkers person from our state.
Below, find the 10 most cringe-worthy Arizonans:
10.) Amy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company
There have been some darn stubborn people running restaurants featured on Gordon Ramsay's reality-television show, Kitchen Nightmares. But Amy of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale took that show to a new low level, as she yelled at customers, made some cat noises, and more or less had a total meltdown. Hello America, here's what it's like to dine in Arizona.
9.) Former Scottsdale Cop James Peters
As stories of controversial police shootings grabbed headlines, the focus moved to Arizona when Scottsdale cop James Peters fatally shot 50-year-old John Loxas. Standing in his doorway when Peters shot him, Loxas wasn't holding a weapon — he was holding his grandson in his arms. Oh, did we mention that this was Peters' sixth fatal shooting on the job? The city of Scottsdale settled the lawsuit brought by Loxas' family for more than $4 million.
8.) Coconino County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Hatch
Sexual assault deservedly has seen increased news coverage over the last few years, and Arizona made national headlines when victim-blaming Judge Jacqueline Hatch mouthed off. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Hatch made her lame comments while sentencing a police officer who was convicted of groping a woman at a Flagstaff bar. The Sun reported:
Before issuing her sentence, the judge said she hoped both the victim and the defendant learned a lesson from the case.
She said bad things can happen in bars and warned that women needed to be vigilant against becoming victims. “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened,” Hatch said.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change,” Hatch later said her mother used to say.
Hatch wound up apologizing for her comments, but the damage was done.
7.) Ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas
Thomas did plenty of damage in his time as elected County Attorney, eventually getting disbarred for abusing his power while in office. The problem is, he didn't go away. Instead, he decided to campaign for governor on an anti-immigration platform, running a TV ad with public funding that prominently featured a large, crossed-out Mexican flag.
6.) Anti-Islamic Activist Jon Ritzheimer
Ritzheimer brought Arizona into the spotlight earlier this year when he organized a "Draw Muhammed" cartoon contest, which he attended in his "Fuck Islam" T-shirt. He followed this up with a ridiculous stunt calling for the arrests of U.S. senators for voting in favor of a deal he didn't like.
5) Anti-Vax Physician Jack Wolfson
The Arizona doctor stirred up national controversy for publicly denouncing vaccines during a worldwide measles scare. Thirty-eight people filed formal complaints against Wolfson to the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners (the board dropped a case against him, ruling that he had a Constitutional right to express his opinion). But encouraging people to avoid a vaccine and risking an outbreak of a once-eradicated disease seems a very bad idea.
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4.) Late Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready
In 2012, Phoenix's most infamous neo-Nazi decided to slaughter his girlfriend's family, including a 2-year-old, before Ready turned the gun on himself. The guy standing next to Ready, his pal and recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, is a major embarrassment, too. In addition to once having a friend who was a neo-Nazi, Pearce authored Mexican-bashing Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and got kicked out of office for his trouble.
3.) Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs
Thanks to Jeffs and the rest of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who have a settlement on the Arizona-Utah border, the two states are known as the home of a Mormon sect infamous for abusing underage girls by brainwashing them into entering polygamous marriages. Jeffs still runs the sect from prison, where he's been since 2011, following a conviction on two counts of sexually assaulting children.
2.) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
It's truly amazing how much Maricopa County voters have let this old man get away with. He has set up such a culture of cruelty in his department that many undeserving inmates have died horrific deaths in his jails. He has cost county taxpayers countless millions in lawsuit payouts to the families of these victims. He launched a loony investigation into President Obama's birth certificate at taxpayers' expense that, naturally, went nowhere. The question now is, will voters reelect him again next year considering his complete unmasking in his civil contempt trial in U.S. District Court?
1.) Mass-Murderer Jared Loughner
It was Arizona's darkest hour when Loughner went on a shooting rampage against now-former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and innocent members of the public And, of course, it got emphasized in the media that it happened in one of the easiest states for mentally disturbed people like Loughner to obtain firearms. Loughner will die in prison for killing six people and injuring 13 in his 2011 Tucson shooting spree.