Sheriff Joe to Deploy Armed Posse to Guard Arizona Schools

Clearly what Arizona school kids need is Lawman Steven Seagal and the Incredible Hulk to roam the school perimeter, keeping bad guys at bay:

Maricopa County, AZ’s notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced Thursday that he will deploy an armed “posse” to guard about 50 local grade schools, middle schools, and high schools, following the NRA’s controversial playbook for limiting gun violence.

“I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county,” Arpaio said.

“We’re not talking about placing the posse in the schools right now but in the outlying — the perimeters of the school — to detect any criminal activity,” he added.

Arpaio has long used his 3,000 member volunteer posse — which includes actors Steven Seagal, Lou Ferrigno, and Peter Lupus — to supplement his legally questionable law enforcement efforts.

By eschewing common-sense gun control efforts in favor of arming Steven Seagal and posting him outside of an elementary school, Sheriff Joe is bringing the NRA’s philosophy that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” to its ridiculous logical conclusion.

“I support arming cops in the schools,” Arpaio said. “If you have a cop that’s armed you don’t need a teacher that’s armed.”

Sounds totally reasonable to me.

Never mind that Sheriff Joe has been accused of human rights violations and other nefarious shenanigans, including forcing prison inmates to sing for food and listen to Christmas music day in and day out, sending SWAT teams and tanks to bust brown people, and arresting brown 6-year-olds.

Oh, and he accepted a “law and order” award from a white supremacist group, too.

These are the sorts of people who want to turn our schools into armed fortresses rather than talk about sensible gun regulation.

I mean, really.

[via National Memo]

[cross-posted at ABLC]

78 replies
  1. 1
    Short Bus Bully says:

    This is one of those “give ’em enough rope to hang themselves by” situations… Except there’s kids involved.

    Fuck Sheriff Joe and the rest of those fascists fucktards who support him.

  2. 2
    opie_jeanne says:

    That would make me seriously consider either a private school for my kids, or home schooling. Seriously.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    This is why, though I’m still worried about my dad, I am not unhappy to be sitting in the Phoenix airport waiting to return to the (relative) sanity of California.

    Though I have to say that the Phoenix TSA seems less overzealous than they used to be in the Bush years. I had to get a patdown because I don’t do x-rays, but they were very polite and professional about it.

    (Phoenix TSA once searched my carry-on bag because my 2 oz bottle of hand lotion was not enclosed in a plastic Baggie. Seriously.)

  4. 4
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Short Bus Bully: Amen.

    And if Sheriff Joe would pay his damned bills for equipment purchased for the sheriff’s building my son would have his job revert to full time. What an asshole.

  5. 5
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: My youngest is touring with a Disney show currently in Texas. They did not go into Mexico but they were near the border on their way to Corpus Christi, and the Border Patrol pulled them over and wanted to search the bus. This was in the wee hours of the morning when everyone was trying to stay asleep. Their manager convinced them to just use the drug dogs to sniff the luggage instead, and they confiscated a very small amount of pot from one bag, didn’t arrest the idiot carrying it, and let the bus go. The guy who owned the pot was fired the next morning.

  6. 6
    Handy says:

    Seems most of these mass murderers are suicidal so an armed guard is an invitation to suicide by armed guard.

    Not a deterrent by a long shot if the person is suicidal to begin with.

  7. 7
    Lex says:

    Fuck Sheriff Joe. There’s an armed cop in every high school and middle school in my county and has been for many years. Yet there’s no doubt in my mind that a guy with a semiautomatic weapon, a lot of ammo and no particular care whether he himself survives could kill dozens of people, maybe even hundreds depending on the size and layout of the campus, before the school’s cop, let alone any reinforcements, could take him out.

  8. 8
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I’m sure Arpaio will get plenty of volunteer help from folks that were in the AZ Minutemen.

    The only question is: “will they be protecting kids, or shooting them themselves?”. Guess we’ll find out.

  9. 9
    JustAnotherBob says:

    We need to reroute the boarder fence to our side of the Arizona state line.

  10. 10
    Anoniminous says:

    With any amount of luck the posse members will shoot each other and that will be the end of that.

    Realistically, however, it’s going to take a heap of dead kids before the US gets serious about reining in our gun crazed psychopaths.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    If I had seen this all coming 20 years ago I would have definitely chosen to live and start my family overseas when the opportunity presented itself. Now I feel like I’ve condemned my kids to a life of downward mobility surrounded by the world’s nastiest people in this redneck cesspool we call home.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @JustAnotherBob: The funny part is that Mexican gangs would make quick work of these flabby, gated community Rambos.

  13. 13
    c u n d gulag says:

    Never mind bringing arme cops and volunteers to protect the schools!

    The obvious solution, is to teach gun safety to fetuses, while women are being transvaginally probed – like the womb as movie screen.

    And then, after the training, we can arm the fetuses in the womb, even before their arms develop. Their little fingers can grow right on the trigger.

    And think of the cost savings!
    Instead of C-sections, the fetuses can shoot his/her way out of the cave!

    And gun-handling lessons, right after the cord is cut.

    So, instead of paying cops, or paying for guns for volunteers, the children will be well-enough aquainted with gun-safety and handling, to start packing, and protect themselves, as they enter Pre-K.


  14. 14
    Ted & Hellen says:

    These are the sorts of people who want to turn our schools into armed fortresses rather than talk about sensible gun regulation.

    Maybe lawmakers should be talking about BOTH at this point.

  15. 15
    Violet says:


    That would make me seriously consider either a private school for my kids, or home schooling. Seriously.

    That’s the long game. Undermine the public schools, bust the teachers unions, destroy the public schools. Then all schools are private, corporate-sponsored and/or for-profit. Hello, Creationism-as-fact science curriculum. Teach the kids what you want them to know.

  16. 16
    Gravenstone says:

    Anyone else surprised to learn that Peter Lupus is still kicking? Mission: Impossible seems like such a long, long time ago. Wiki sez he’s 80 now, so right on Ol’ Sherriff Joe’s age cohort it seems.

  17. 17
    Lancelot Link says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: To be fair, Arpaio wasn’t nearly as close to racist right-wing Arizona child murderer Shawna Forde as he was to racist right-wing Arizona child murderer JT Ready.

  18. 18
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Seagal will turn 60 in June. I see on IMDB that he’s moved on to producing, but his acting career seems to be slowing down quite a bit. Maybe he’s trolling for attention. Maybe he really believes he’ll make some fantabulous difference. I imagine the kids will find him more than a little creepy with his perma-glare of disdain.

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Hey! It’s the pedophile apologist. Shouldn’t you be in therapy or something working on that issue?

  20. 20
    Cassidy says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Seagal has been active in the MMA world. Somehow he’s become a fixture at Black House which is home to the Nogueira brothers, Lytoto Machida, and current UFC champs Junior Dos Santos and Anderson Silva. Fans are divided on whether he’s a joke or a martial arts master to be treated with respect. He’s stayed busy.

  21. 21
    Suzanne says:

    School campuses in the Phoenix area are a nightmare to secure. They’re almost all open to the exterior, with buildings spread apart and many paths, usually no fences, and entrances/exits all around the perimeter. Securing them will be enormously difficult. My daughter’s elementary school distinct has undertaken the project at all of their campuses to enclose all the exterior circulation in order to prevent unauthorized entries, but the sheer logistical challenge of this will be overwhelming.

  22. 22
    kathy a. says:

    you notice he says his posse will be “on the perimeters” and not in the schools? i imagine that is because no school would permit armed civilians to be roaming around looking for criminal activity. but the kids and their parents are in as much danger from somebody shooting too fast outside the school.

    safety/resources officers assigned to schools work WITH the school, know the kids and teachers and parents, know what’s going on (at least, that is the theory). some yahoo posted outside does not. and there are times (like end of the day) when things around schools are chaotic, lots of high-energy young people bouncing around. this is a terrible idea.

  23. 23
    JustAnotherBob says:


    Concertina wire.

    A few rolls and problem solved.

    Set up a guard tower at each corner with sharpshooters.

    Where is today’s Norman Rockwell to show us the New America?

  24. 24
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Any chance we could pay Mexico to take AZ back? Perhaps if we threw in TX too?

  25. 25
    Jamey says:

    Lou Ferrigno?

    Yes, I want a stone-deaf, 60-something, former steroid-abuser attention-whore in my kids’ classroom armed with an assault rifle. I would like to know more about this very serious solution.

  26. 26
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kathy a.: Not to mention, it would not be at all hard for A Bad Guy to show up to the general area of a school with a gun, say if asked, “Um, yeah, I’m the new guy with the sheriff’s posse,” and then have the run of the place to do whatever scary shit you want.

  27. 27
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Cassidy: Well, I know that MMA stands for mixed-martial arts, but I’ve never heard of any of those names you mentioned; clearly, I am not a fan of such events. It sounds to me like Seagal’s MMA career is similar to his acting career: he’s achieved some success but is regarded by a chunk of the audience as a fool or joke.

    Does he live in Arizona? If not, it sounds to me like he’d be going down there for a photo-op: super-cool movie/fight guy doing his part to save our children. Theatrics, no matter how you look at it.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    Pfft! You are getting picky.
    Seriously, that also is scary.

  29. 29
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @JustAnotherBob: Land mines you forgot land mines. Woe to the first young cholo who pops off to the posse, I guess in 20 years we will have Battle Royale contests

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    My beautiful and beloved grandniece is a student in one of those Phoenix high schools. Oddly, I don’t feel reassured about her continued well-being. Thank you, Sheriff Joe.

  31. 31
    Cassidy says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Oh it’s better than that. Seagal never had an MMA career. He’s somehow attached himself to the gym/ camp and is considered a mentor and coach. As far as I know, he never had a professional fighting career of any kind, but he is a legit martial artist.

  32. 32
    Suzanne says:

    If the US kicks Arizona out, would any of y’all be willing to put my ass up?

  33. 33
    andy says:

    Holy crap. Peter Lupus is still alive? I remember seeing him (as a big dumb lug) in the original Mission Impossible TV show.

  34. 34
    mai naem says:

    The only thing I have to say about Sheriff Pink Underwear Attention Whore is that he’s eightysomething and he can’t be sheriff forever. He doesn’t exactly look like a picture of health. I just don’t think he will last physically.

  35. 35
    red dog says:

    Wait until some 10 year old says “fuck you” or calls one of these posse members an asshole and the guy grabs the kid and is arrested for molestation or kidnapping. I think my neighbor, the lawyer’s kid and family, should move to Phoenix and make it happen.

  36. 36
    Pococurante says:

    His public loves him.

    And for the first time they have to actually pony up tax dollars and watch the result affect them day to day.

    This is a good thing.

    Let the experiment unroll.

  37. 37
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Cassidy: Ah, so he’s the MMA equivalent of Miss Elizabeth or some other WWF (the old World Wrestling Federation) hanger-on. (I can’t remember any of the names from the brief mid-80’s period when I would have actually seen Vince McMahon’s product on TV.) Classic. Seagal’s film fighting was impressive though; I’m sure not gonna pretend I’d want to face him.

  38. 38

    A gun in every hand and a George Zimmerman in every school. great idea.

  39. 39
    Punchy says:

    So how many paniced phone calls is 911 going to recieve on Day 1 of this operation as parents spot gun-toting creeps near schools? 200? 300? A thousand?

  40. 40
    Citizen_X says:

    We’re not talking about placing the posse in the schools right now but in the outlying — the perimeters of the school

    Oh good, so we can be sure that none of the rounds the Geritol Militia pops off will ever travel from the perimeter to the school.

  41. 41
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @andy: He’s 80 (81 in June) but did set some sort of weight-lifting record at the age of 75. How weird it would to be to be a school kid in Arizona. I know it wouldn’t really work this way, but can you imagine if the yard-duty guys were Seagal, Ferrigno and this Peter Lupus person? Is Seagal legally allowed to own a firearm now? Weren’t there charges of domestic violence when he was married to Kelly LeBrock?

  42. 42
    kathy a. says:

    @Citizen_X: it’s actually worse than that, because for kids to go to school, they have to go in and out of the school. perhaps not in the most orderly manner. mr. macho with a gun may not be able to tell the exuberant kid who gets straight A’s and volunteers at the soup kitchen from a street thug, in a particular moment.

    but aside from the problem of whether some kid will get shot for looking weird, is there actually some up side to training kids to just walk past the dude with a semi-automatic? my advice would be to stay away from that person.

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Gravenstone: Yes, I am surprised. When I saw he name I thought “he is still around, is he in shape to be a wanna-be action hero”.

  44. 44
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    On my way to Vietnam I spent a few weeks with the USMC. I bunked in a tent at Camp Eldon, a part of Camp Pendleton, and spent every day in weapons training, not just the use of them, but much time on safe handling of the things.

    Months later I was on perimeter watch one night. One of the other guys, who hadn’t gone through the same training, decided that it would be fun to give me a scare. I came within a foot of blowing his brains out.

    Setting armed individuals with some nebulous level of assumed authority to guard anything is setting the stage for a tragedy. I’m not sure why Sheriff Arpaio is still a sworn peace officer and I can’t begin to understand why the people of Arizona keep returning him to office. I do know that something is likely to go terribly wrong and although I’m no fan of the gov or of the FBI, I wonder why they haven’t found something on Sheriff Joe. Something enough to at least get him out of office.

  45. 45
    gene108 says:

    I can’t be mad at Joe. He gets re-elected by the people of his county. He has a duty to keep up his promises to his electorate.

    The electorate on the other hand, I think need to be whacked in the head for empowering Joe.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    @gene108: If the electorate are lucky, their kids won’t be wacked in the head by friendly fire instead of them that dropped the ballots.

  47. 47
    Wally Ballou says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I’m not sure why Sheriff Arpaio is still a sworn peace officer and I can’t begin to understand why the people of Arizona keep returning him to office.

    Because so many of them are elderly, senile, and racist?

  48. 48
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: They keep electing him to office because he’s America’s only celebrity sheriff, I suspect, or maybe because he somehow appeals to a general, macho “our sheriff can kick your sheriff’s butt” attitude. Why does he keep running is another question. Does he need the money or does he like the attention he gets? Maybe he really feels deep down in his angry little heart that he’s doing the right thing by running, I suppose. I’ll be glad when he finally goes away, but I suspect some new buffoon somewhere will take his place. Just when we thought we were kinda/sorta done with Paris Hilton along came Kim Kardashian to wow us with her shallow mediocrity.

    Sorry guys and gals… I guess I’m feeling a bit resentful today.

  49. 49
    PurpleGirl says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Let’s see, mid-1980s (I was watching with friends), so you have Rowdy Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan.

  50. 50
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Wally Ballou:
    I’m elderly, and a bit autistic. If I’m senile, I’d be like everyone else who is; we don’t want to know. Despite qualifying on those two (Three?) counts, I’m not racist. I can’t begin to figure how people can be racist. If someone sticks their hand out for help, or to offer help, the color of that hand could mean shit less to me. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

  51. 51
    quannlace says:

    Goddamn, isn’t this guy is jail yet?

  52. 52
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @PurpleGirl: Oh, those were actual wrestlers… I was referring to the manager type characters. Wasn’t there a (comparatively) skinny little guy with long hair named Jimmy or Bobby or Johnny or something in a male-dimunitive name? Honestly, I sort of watched under protest; my best friend at the time was deeply into WWF.

  53. 53
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @opie_jeanne: Can the vendor sue? Is there a county commission to appeal to? This country is so fucked. Sounds like medieval Germany. The Prince buys shit and then runs out on the bill. Dont like it? Welcome to my dungeon.

    Where are the’baggers screaming tyranny when you need them?

  54. 54
    shirt says:

    A dialog between 911 and a Principal:

    Phone Operator: 911, what’s your emergency?

    Principal: There’s an armed man loitering about my school.

    Operator: Are you sure he’s not one of Arpaio’s assholes?

    Principal: How would I know? You want me to confront an armed stranger?

    Operator: Where is he?

    Principal: I have him in sight, He’s just outside the school, Wait! He’s stoping a child who just made a one finger gesture of fertility.

    Operator: Is it a brown child?

    Principal: No, white but what…

    Operator (interupting): We’re rolling the swat team.

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    The obvious solution, is to teach gun safety to fetuses, while women are being transvaginally probed – like the womb as movie screen.

    Gun safety, hell! Gun safety classes are a government plot to discourage people from getting the most powerful guns possible and carrying them ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. We’ll just give the fetuses guns and trust God to keep them safe, just as the Founding Fathers intended./wingnut

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    If I was anything other than a white guy, I’d be terrified to death of having Arpaio’s thugs around my kids all day at school. Might as well leave them with Mafia hitmen.

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:


    Might as well leave them with Mafia hitmen.

    Mafia hitmen are probably better trained than Arpaio’s posse and less likely to shoot somebody for no reason.

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I would laugh if it wasn’t probably true.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): A lot of those guys were the managers, including Ms. Elizabeth, who was also Macho Man’s wife IRL. Back then, wrestlers were more independent contractors for a promotion than employees of a media conglomerate. So the wrestlers and their managers would jump from promotion to promotion depending on ratings, etc. You should watch the documentary on the Road Warriors.

    And you’re thinking the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart.

  60. 60
    PurpleGirl says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): I don’t really remember the “managers” beyond Miss Elizabeth. My friend was really more into the wrestling than I was, too.

  61. 61
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Cassidy: Yes, the mouth of the south. Jimmy Hart. Now I remember him.

  62. 62
    kathy a. says:

    you used to see NRA types babbling on about responsible gun ownership — what ever happened to that?

    i hope that gun owners who actually are responsible drop those foolish asses, for advocating anything but gun responsibility.

    it should not be hard to agree on some basics, if one cares in the least about safety — like background checks +training and licensing for gun owners, registration of guns, safe storage in the home, closing the shady online and gun show operations.

    i would think that lots of gun owners don’t see any reason for civilian use of military-grade weapons. why should these be publicly available?

    it would be very sensible to also require liability insurance for gun owners — like we do for cars. and to tax sales of ammo, heavily. (i can already hear the squawking about that, though. i live in a peaceful town, but one local gun nut responsible gun owner claims that he “couldn’t afford” training and safety measures if the shit was taxed…)

    i really want to see more responsible gun owners step up for rational safety measures.

    i’d also like to see more about the cash flow of gun manufacturers — their obscene profits; who they donate to; how they work to block safety legislation; deals they have with those violent video game people to promote their products; etc. kinda groovy from their perspective to make so much money, be behind the killing and wounding of so many per year, and be immune from liability, too. (we wouldn’t exactly support airlines with the same track record of injuries and death…)

  63. 63
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Violet: I knew that even when I wrote it, but dammit if I had kids in schools where this happened it would make me, a staunch supporter of public schools, think twice if I couldn’t find enough outraged parents to oppose this with me to stop it.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @opie_jeanne: I have an old college friend who is an assistant principal at a charter school in the Phoenix area. I’ll need to solicit his opinion about this whole situation, although having caught a few of his Book of Faces posts, I’m pretty sure I can speculate.

  65. 65
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    As one of the aged, I can remember seeing Gorgeous George wrestle on a show delivered by a black and white TV with a giant magnifying glass in front of the screen because the screen was maybe eight inches diagonally.

    Wrestling was an early TV favorite because one overhead camera could cover the whole ring. I guess that it must have remained lucrative over the years.

  66. 66
    opie_jeanne says:

    @AHH onna Droid: I asked and was told that the lawyers would cost a whole bunch of money the company doesn’t have, but for nearly $2million dollars that is owed I’d think there would be some left after the fact.

    It was when austerity suddenly became the new fashion, right after Obama was elected the first time. The county told him to trim his budget so he decided not to pay for the fancy security/communications system that had just been installed. Voila, instant savings of nearly $2million.

  67. 67
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Yutsano: Charter schools make me cringe. The ones being touted these days seem to be “for profit” schools, but the ones that I knew about in California were not. Either way, the kids in them do not test better than kids in regular public schools despite the charters being able to pick and choose who goes to their school (within certain limits).

  68. 68
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: My mother went to a couple of Gorgeous George’s matches. She said he would take the gold bobby pins out of his hair and throw them to the ladies in the stands, and he wore a lavender-colored robe. When he retired he bought a turkey ranch and had the fences painted that same shade of lavender.

  69. 69
    Yutsano says:

    @opie_jeanne: A turkey ranch? I feel for him. They really are the dumbest birds on the planet. Well domestic turkeys anyway. Wild ones are wicked smaht.

    @opie_jeanne: Actually it’s listed on their website as a “magnet school” but he’s described it as a charter. I’m not sure if it’s a distinction without a difference. He does crack the whip on the kids though, uniforms are mandatory.

  70. 70
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Yutsano: Magnet schools were a separate category in California. They were not charters, they were almost always in schools with lower incomes or higher minority populations.

    The first charters in California were supposedly interested in teaching a more solid foundation in the basics: math and reading. I don’t know if that was really what they were about, but I have some suspicions since they arose during a bussing controversy, when district administrators seemed to have finally lost their collective minds. Until then, non-white kids were bussed way out of their districts and into white schools. This was an attempt to make it more fair by bussing white kids way out of their districts and into non-white districts.

  71. 71
    Chris T. says:

    Q: what’s the difference between a school and a prison?
    A: unfortunately, this is no longer a joke, and there isn’t any difference.

  72. 72
    Joel says:

    As a kid, I would have been stoked to see Steven Segal patrolling the halls.

    At least until I realized that he’s a fat, washed up, womanizing loser.

  73. 73
    Fwiffo says:

    Lou Ferrigno? OK…

    a) Not to discriminate against the disabled, but Mr. Ferrigno is legally deaf. That seems like it might be a problem for this sort of situation.

    b) Not to discriminate against gamma-irradiated individuals, but wouldn’t Hulk’s extreme rage issues and blackouts disqualify him from possession of a firearm?

  74. 74
    gelfling545 says:

    How long will Arapio’s merry men keep patrolling when the news cameras stop rolling & days go by with no one to shoot?

  75. 75
    Cacti says:

    As someone who lives, and has practiced law in Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe’s “posse” isn’t fit to pour piss from a boot with instructions written on the heel.

    I would trust the crypto-fascist goons that he calls his deputies to protect my children either.

  76. 76
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Wow! That’s an amazing recall. Thanks for the memory.

  77. 77
    sophronia says:

    I suspect the reason they are stationing these people outside of school grounds is so that they don’t have to run school-district-approved background checks on them. Deity only knows what some of these “volunteers” might have festering in their backgrounds.

    Also, I wonder if, in the spirit of our glorious SB1070 law, the posse members will be able to question the parents taking their kids to school about their immigration status? It would certainly be an easy way to drum up lots of arrests for Sheriff Joe to crow about in the media.

  78. 78
    Hunter says:

    Wait until some unhinged gun owner with a grudge against his first-grade teacher shoots Steven Seagal.

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