It would tickle Sheriff Joe Arpaio no end to learn the degree to which his enemies and detractors are obsessed with him. I can't count the number of times, for instance, that I've gotten the anonymous "tip" that Arpaio can't wear a gun because of some obscure legal dictate, when in fact I have seen him wearing a pistol while in uniform on numerous occasions.
Or there's the one about Arpaio being collared for any number of reasons, and the record being hushed up by the authorities. Sorry, the day Arpaio's arrested for anything (assuming that day finally comes), it will be front page news. You'd have better luck trying to cover up DMX's rap sheet.
Many of the Arpaio myths out there I cannot repeat in the confines of this blog, but let's just say they run the gamut, and they almost always turn out to be a Pamper-load. Sure, Arpaio is corrupt, sadistic, and defiant of any authority figure who outranks him. But if it sounds too good to be true, people, it probably is. Like this rumor going around that Arpaio's middle initial "M" stands for "Mussalini," which is somehow a variant of "Mussolini." You know, as in the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
You can file this one under "Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia." Currently, Wikipedia lists Joe's middle name as "Mussalini" [sic]. And it cites a closed civil case where Joe's full name is listed as "Joseph Mussalini Arpaio" as the source for this bit of trivia. According to Wikipedia's history of the entry (which anyone can edit, in case you didn't know), the addition of "Mussalini" was made anonymously February 18, 2009. I'm willing to bet it gets changed fairly soon after I post this blog item.
The lawsuit in question was a civil rights claim filed on January 10, 2008 by one Xavier Garcia Escobedo, who submitted his paperwork as he bided his time in the Towers Jail. Currently, Escobedo is doing time in Yuma for forgery and possession of burglary tools. He will not be eligible for release until 2015. The lawsuit never went through because Escobedo never paid the filing fee, and he never responded to the request that he do so from the court, which was sent after he had been transferred from jail to prison.
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I'm guessing Escobedo didn't know how to spell "Mussolini," which explains why he has it as "Mussalini" in his defunct suit. I'm also guessing that the "Mussalini" in the court docs is a little joke on Escobedo's part. He has at least another six years or so to laugh about that one. I don't think they get Internet access in prison, but maybe Escobedo knows someone on the outside with a sense of humor.
Since the Wikipedia item has gone up, I've gotten more than one "tip" about Arpaio's new middle name. It would be funny if folks meant it as a joke, but apparently people actually believe it to be so. Arpaio's middle initial is "M," so if it's not "Mussalini," what is it?
According to Kristi Passarelli at Maricopa County Elections, Arpaio has registered to vote previously under the name "Joseph Michael Arpaio." And checking the Nexis database, there is at least one old article that references Sheriff Joe as "Joseph Michael Arpaio." So his middle name is likely "Michael."
I doubt this dose of reality will cure the sufferers of Joe-mania of their affliction. If you want to believe Arpaio's last name is "Mussalini" because Joe is a strutting peacock of a man after the fashion of the Italian dictator, hey, go for it. Personally, I'd rather put my Easter eggs in a non-imaginary basket. But that's just me.