Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle

sf sanctuary city

Banner found at OneNewsNow.com

I’m writing this as a companion piece to Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction which I wrote and published rather impulsively yesterday.

Okay, I’ve done some reading since then. The New York Times makes a case for about 60 percent of the unauthorized population has been here for at least a decade and that the vast majority of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. (89.9%) having never been convicted of a crime.

Of course there are organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform that say merely crossing the border into our nation without permission is indeed a crime, so by definition, 100% of undocumented immigrants are criminals. However, CNN states that under federal law, a person entering the country without permission for the first time is guilty of only a misdemeanor that is punishable by fines and no more than six months in prison.

It gets dicey if you are found to have entered our country illegally on multiple occasions, particularly after having been deported, but the waters get even more muddy since approximately 45% of undocumented immigrants actually entered the U.S. legally and then stayed after their visas expired.

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Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction

zarate and steinle

Garcia Zarate (left) and his victim Kate Steinle (right)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — Jurors Thursday afternoon acquitted the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle as she walked with her father on a crowded San Francisco pier of all charges except for felony possession of a firearm.

A spokesperson for the Superior Court of California made the announcement that the jury had reached a verdict shortly after 3 p.m. Shortly after 4:30 p.m., the shocking verdict was announced that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of all charges except for the gun possession charge.

Jurors have been deliberating on the case since Tuesday, November 21, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their arguments whether Garcia Zarate was a hapless homeless man who killed Steinle in a freak accident or a calculated murderer intent on playing a sick game.

CBS SF Bay Area

Jurors have found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of killing Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in the trial that sparked a national debate over illegal immigration.

Jurors reached the decision Thursday in the sixth day of deliberations after first receiving the case last week.

Zarate was found not guilty of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He was also found not guilty of assault with a semi-auto weapon. He was found guilty of count two – possession of a felon with a firearm.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

Fox News

I started writing a story about this but I realized I was too angry and too heartbroken to concentrate. I have been following this story and it is just astonishing that the jury came to this verdict. This is exactly why I have “issues” with these so-called “sanctuary cities.” Garcia Zarate has seven felony convictions. Seven! He was in possession of a stolen handgun, which in and of itself is a crime for a convicted felon. The defense says the .40 caliber handgun “just went off.” I’ve been handling firearms for a long time and they don’t just “go off” spontaneously.

When I’m upset, I process by writing, but this one is over the top. A 32-year-old woman walking with her Dad on Pier 14 was gunned down and collapsed in her Father’s arms. As a Dad to a daughter and a Grandpa to a granddaughter, I am grief stricken and absolutely outraged. I’m going to need some time to process this before I write in order to process this. I’ve written on social issues here in the past with varying results, but like I said, this one is off the scale.

Our justice system says that the jury’s decision must be respected and I can only hope the prosecution files an appeal. If not, then in my opinion, Zarate gets away with murder and San Francisco is his sanctuary city protecting him from experiencing any consequences for his crime. Is this really the ideal we’re striving for here?

Addendum: Having had some time to mull over this issue, I have authored a more thoughtful response to this issue I present for your consideration: Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle.

The Remembering Tree

old tree

© Sandra Crook

When Jake was seven, he and his brothers and sisters were taken away to strange lands, to forests and deserts, to where dragons and demons were found. He lived and lived and nearly died in those lands, fighting the war of restoration, of good vs. evil. But years had passed.

When Jake was seven, he found his way home again. Years had passed but he was still seven.

Mom said Dad would be out of the hospital soon. She had a lot to do to get ready for Dad to go home, so Jake and his siblings stayed with Grandpa for the past week.

When Jake was seven, he was at his Grandpa’s house. He used to like video games, the old ones Dad showed him, like Pac-Man and Mario Brothers. But that was before. This is now and now is different.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Ian

boy in hospital

Found at BabyCenter.com

Chapter Two: Ian

“Good morning, lad.” Dennis peeked around the corner of the door so as not to startle the boy. He saw young Ian had been working on a sketch pad, probably the one that Winston mentioned. “Mind if I visit you for a bit?”

The eleven-year-old eyed him suspiciously. His sandy blond hair looked disheveled but his blue eyes were red but otherwise clear. He’d been crying. He was sitting up in the hospital bed, covered to the waist with blankets and dressed one of those awful patient gowns that opened in the back.

“You a doctor?”

The older Ian stepped into the room and let the door close behind him. “No. I used to know your Mum. Came to see how you were doing.”

The child seemed to brighten for a second that it was a friend and not a doctor or the police come to question him, but then he closed up again. “Don’t remember you. Who are you?”

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Will We Ever Have The Answer?

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

It was the worst mass murder in U.S. history. The President and First Lady attended the memorial service. Too many of these events had occurred over the years.

The murderer had a history of mental illness. The nation’s strict gun control laws were useless. Improvised bombs planted all over Chicago’s commuter corridors had been timed to explode at the height of the morning rush hour. Hundreds died in less than a minute.

President Larson addressed the vast assembly at the candlelight memorial.

“It is with a humble heart that I address you tonight. Everything we’ve tried to prevent these atrocities has failed. It is not enough to control how one person kills another, we must understand why they kill. The majority are not because of a religious or political agenda, but rather being disenfranchised from society, isolated, and ostracized seems the chief cause.

“As a nation, we must come together to bring belonging and hope to these people. Only when we show them love will they know love, for only love will stop these tragedies.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of October 3, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

Given the image, it’s impossible for me not to write about events such as the Las Vegas mass shootings that occurred last Sunday evening. 58 people died and over 500 were wounded. We all ask ourselves the same questions after one of these tragedies but we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer.

I chose not to take the obvious route, but unlike how I’ve woven my wee tale, the National Center for Biotechnology Information doesn’t agree that there’s a clear connection between mental illness and gun violence (and I eliminated guns in my story).Newsweek seems to believe that since statistically, white males commit the majority of these shootings (54 percent since 1982), something akin to a sense of entitlement might be involved.

Neither of these explanations is particularly satisfying nor to they point to a solution.

I deliberately used bombs rather than guns in my story because if guns aren’t available and someone is intent on violence, they will find a way. Consider the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the scores and scores of middle eastern terrorist bombings.

I don’t know if there’s a universal method of preventing these tragedies. Maybe outlawing guns is part of the solution, but while that might prevent some of these incidents, criminals will still buy guns illegally, and as we’ve seen in other societies (Israel has one of the toughest gun control laws in the world), people will still find a way to hurt one another.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com

Who Celebrates Murder?

geftman-gold

Hayley Geftman-Gold and CBS logo – image found at Fox News

Just as I did previously when registering moral outrage last week, I was tempted to write a short story fictionalizing the horrible events that occurred in Las Vegas less than 24 hours ago (as I write this), but I just couldn’t. Maybe in days to come I will, but it’s too soon for me emotionally.

I grew up in Las Vegas, but it’s hardly the town I remember from my childhood into becoming a young adult. I haven’t been back in decades and there’s no real reason for me to return.

But this could have happened anywhere.

I’m sure we’ll hear all about the investigation in social and news media in the days and weeks to come but the fact that 58 people lost their lives and hundreds were wounded somehow isn’t the worse of it. The worst of it is someone out there is celebrating their injuries and deaths.

I’m not talking about ISIS claiming responsibility which may or may not be true. I’m talking about an American citizen and attorney. Her name is Hayley Geftman-Gold and among other outlets, Variety reported on this person’s reaction to the Las Vegas shootings.

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Juan’s Prayer

Plaza España

Plaza España at night, found at Wikipedia

Rosita had been sitting at the edge of Plaza España in Guatemala City for hours. It was night, but she was oblivious to the passing cars or the bright neon lights which, to everyone else, were so festive.

The earthquake caused his beloved church to collapse on Juan during his prayers, though why he would be praying at such a strange hour was a mystery.

“Oh my dear husband, what will I do without you? How can I go back to our home in San Sebastian alone?”

“You won’t have to, sister. He prayed for me to watch over you.”

Written for What Pegman Saw. Thanks to Google maps, this week we are taken to Guatemala City. The idea is to use the prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 100.

I did some “Googling” and found that there had been a severe earthquake there just a few days ago. A man had been killed in neighboring San Sebastian when a church collapsed on him at about 1:30 a.m. Since the prompt was specifically Guatemala City, I set the scene with his widow at the Plaza España (keep in mind that Rosita and Juan are fictitious) where she had been staying with relatives. I’ve implied that Juan knew he was going to die and was praying for his dear wife to be cared for. His prayer was answered.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Guide

fishing

© The Storyteller’s Abode

“This place is no good, Mom. Too many people. Too much activity.”

“No, it’s not like your Dad’s favorite fishing hole.”

“Not by a long shot. I know I promised you an exotic vacation after Dad died, but maybe we’re better off at home.”

“You’re right, Mike. We should honor your Dad. Let’s go back to Enterprise. I’m sure the eagle will greet us.”

“Sounds good, Mom. We’ll save some of our catch to feed to him, just like Dad did.”

Mike helped his Mom up off of the beach. An hour later, they had booked their flight back to the U.S.

Somewhere in Southwest Utah, an Eagle sat on his perch overlooking Enterprise Reservoir and waited. The eagle, the old man’s spirit guide, escorted him into the next world. Now he watches over the reservoir waiting for the man’s widow and son. The man is gone, so the eagle is now responsible for their lives and their souls.

Written for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of May 23, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 159.

My Dad passed away a little over a month ago just one day short of his eighty-fifth birthday due to complications related to cancer. Last Saturday, my family interned his ashes near his favorite “fishing hole” at Enterprise Reservoir.

Dad regularly fished there with two or three friends, usually on a Friday. They tell a story of a large eagle that nests near where they fish. One day, the eagle was eyeing their catch very closely. Dad took one of the fish he caught and tossed it up. The eagle soared down, caught it, took it back up to its perch, and ate.

After that, often when they fished, the eagle was there and seemed to recognize them. At one point, it launched itself downward, flew underneath a fishing pole line with its wingtip within just a few feet of one of Dad’s friends, and scooped up a fish they had thrown back in.

I was sorry the eagle wasn’t present to witness Dad coming to his final resting place, but in my imagination, I thought of the great bird taking Dad’s spirit into the next world.

Goodbye, Dad. I miss you.

To read more stories based on this prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Firewood in May

firewood

© Loretta Notto

“All the firewood she’ll need for next winter.”

Gerald had been laboring for weeks to make sure the house was ready and that she would be taken care of.

Most folks would say that having the winter firewood cut in May was a little premature, but he knew he was already out of time. The cancer in him was spreading fast and his doctor told him he wouldn’t last much longer.

She’d have to learn to live without him. After over sixty years together, that would be hard. He wasn’t an emotional man, but the thought of her having to go it alone made him tear up some.

Gerald turned to put the ax back in the shed only to discover he wasn’t holding it.

“Now where did that damn thing go?”

He looked again and he wasn’t at home anymore.

“Gerald, have you forgotten again?”

“Who are you?” This wasn’t home. In fact, Gerald wasn’t sure where he was.

“She will be fine, Gerald. I told you I’d take care of her.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long with 150 being the ideal. Mine is 175 words exactly.

To read more stories based on the photo prompt above, go to InLinkz.com.

Anne

grave

© Liz Young

Her grave was one of the few to survive the uprising. Earth defeated the invaders in the Revolution of ’48.

I can barely make out ‘Anne’ on the gravestone. She was thirty when she died, one of the millions killed in the uprising. Only because my project was so secret did she think I died during the first alien attack.

It’s been decades since Earth became free, and the new government eventually found records of my experiment and sent rescuers. The equipment was still working when they woke me from decades of cryogenic sleep.

I wish I’d died with my daughter.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge for April 28, 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo above that is no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.