Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" and BTV's #1 most wanted elected instigator, joined forces this weekend with Steven Seagal for the alleged purpose of training members of the sheriff's volunteer armed posse to defend Phoenix-area schools against gunmen.
The exercise took place Saturday at a closed school site in suburban Fountain Hills, outside Phoenix, where sheriff's SWAT members reportedly acted as shooters and teenagers played the part of students during mock scenarios involving up to three gunmen.
Seagal was reportedly present to lead training on hand-to-hand tactics, among other techniques, himself possessing a black belt in Akido.
Arpaio's office didn't respond to requests for comment Friday and Saturday, nor did any representative of Seagal.
When faced with criticism in January about the school posse plan, Arpaio responded, "Why would people complain about my posse being in front of schools to act as prevention?"
To answer Arpaio's question, it could have something to do with frequent accusations against the sheriff and his posse of corruption and abuse of minorities. It could also be because the last time Arpaio and Seagal publicly teamed up to try to protect something, it allegedly resulted in the deaths of over one hundred of the animals they claimed to be trying to save.
Arpaio announced the plan on the grounds of an elementary school, saying at the time he wanted the patrols publicized "for the deterrence effect". Though anyone who knows Arpaio knows that publicity was most likely the primary motivating factor in conducting these drills in the first place.
Chad Campell, the Arizona Democratic House Minority Leader and a longtime critic of Arpaio, called the plan "ludicrous."
"Steve Seagal is an actor. That's it," said Campell. "Why don't we also have Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris and Bruce Willis come out and train them too while we're at it."
Please, Mr. Campell, don't give him ideas.