Opinion: What does San Francisco think of its ‘sanctuary city’ status now?

A cyclist visits a memorial site for Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco on Dec. 1.
A cyclist visits a memorial site for Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco on Dec. 1.
(Ben Margot / AP)

To the editor: Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was accused of killing Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. His defense was that he found a recently stolen handgun, which fired the bullet that struck and killed Steinle in 2015. (“The Kate Steinle verdict will please few, and be manipulated by many,” Opinion, Dec. 3)

By acquitting him of murder and voluntary manslaughter (criminal negligence), the jury found that he had no legal responsibility for the “accidental” discharge of the gun held in his hand.

Although the trial jury was never told that Garcia Zarate had been deported as an illegal immigrant five times and had seven prior felony convictions, I’m sure the citizens of San Francisco are now aware of these facts because of post-trial media publicity. My question to them is this: Is Garcia Zarate still welcome in their sanctuary city?


Bill Gravlin, Rancho Palos Verdes


To the editor: The mob mentality and rush to judgment espoused by those seeking “justice” in this case were moderated by a dispassionate group of citizens who honored their duty and obligation to society.

What disappoints me most about this case is how little we have read about losing yet another innocent life to gun violence. We are now so awash with guns that apparently we do not find it notable, much less of great concern, that a stolen loaded handgun can appear in a widely traveled public area.

Do we not recognize that the proximate cause of Steinle’s tragic death had nothing to do with the immigration status of the person who picked up the gun, but rather our societal irresponsibility that led to that handgun being on the street?

Sadly, we find it easier to engage in scapegoating, because it serves to advance a larger political narrative, rather than confront the ugly consequences of our addiction to violence and guns.

Matt Lucas, Lake Forest


To the editor: Saying that the verdict was fair completely misses the entire point of the trial — namely, someone was responsible for Steinle’s death, and that person was Garcia Zarate. He was illegally carrying a loaded gun that he had no idea how to handle, and now Steinle is dead.

I don’t care about his undocumented status or how many times he had been deported; neither of these has anything to do with his causing the death of someone. But at least he should have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Upon completion of his prison term, he could then be deported. He might try to come back to the United States, but that is another problem entirely.

Tom Reinberger, Glendora

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