The public defender attorney representing Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez—the recidivist illegal alien accused in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle who is due back in court this Friday—is essentially faulting the stolen Sig Sauer pistol for the tragedy.
It’s apparently part of a strategy of pleading the case in public. Attorney Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, not only suggested the shooting was an accident in an Op-Ed appearing in the San Francisco Examiner, he also wrote a piece critical of “Kate’s Law” in the San Francisco Chronicle. In a separate Chronicle story, Gonzalez portrays his client as “more a homeless victim of lifelong poverty than a murderous monster,” according to the newspaper.
In the Chronicle piece, Gonzalez writes “He is a simple man with a second-grade education who has survived many hardships. He came to the U.S. repeatedly because extreme poverty is the norm in many parts of Mexico. He risked going to jail so that he could perform a menial job that could feed him. Each time, he came to the U.S. because American employers openly encourage illegal immigration to fill the jobs U.S. citizens don’t want.”
Readers are expected to overlook the fact that Lopez-Sanchez had been deported multiple times for being in this country illegally. And that he had just served time for felony re-entry. And also that he was in San Francisco on a two-decades-old marijuana warrant in a case that saw the charges dropped, the newspaper noted.
He was released because of the city’s “sanctuary” policy, and he was on the tourist pier where he just happened to find a gun wrapped in a T-shirt; a pistol that had been stolen out of a federal Bureau of Land Management agent’s car.
Gonzalez offers allegations against the Sig Sauer pistol from which the fatal bullet was fired. He lists apparently negligent and accidental discharges from Sig Sauer handguns that suggest a possible design problem relating to a light single-action trigger let-off.
But in the wake of House passage of the proposed “Kate’s Law” which would crack down on illegal immigrants, the “blame everyone and everything else” defense might not gain much traction.
After all, if Lopez-Sanchez had not been in the country illegally, he would not have ever had his hands on that pistol. If San Francisco did not have a “sanctuary” policy, he would not have been released to wander around and allegedly find that stolen gun wrapped in a T-shirt.
Blame is a double-edged sword, and it cuts both ways.
Steinle was walking with her father on the pier when the bullet left the pistol, apparently ricocheted off the pavement and struck her in the back. It pierced her heart. She lived just long enough to ask her father to help her.
Another opinion piece, appearing in the Chicago Tribune under the byline of Francis Wilkinson, an editorial writer for Bloomberg View, takes the argument into the race arena. Instead of criticizing the gun, Wilkinson intimates that the Republican backers of “Kate’s Law” might be at least partly motivated by Steinle’s race.
“Steinle was white,” Wilkinson wrote, “and her accused killer was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Those facts would matter less if Republicans had chosen a different path in 2016 instead of embracing Donald Trump, who repeatedly denigrated Mexicans, sought to inspire fear of immigrants and deployed overtly racial appeals to white voters.”
And then Wilkinson tosses this in for good measure, asking readers if Steinle’s death is not “the fault of a bumbling government employee, a federal ranger, who left his gun where it could be stolen?”
What liberals apparently fear is that not only will Lopez-Sanchez be on trial, but so will “sanctuary” policies.
“Passing Kate’s Law as a response to this tragedy is the legal equivalent of invading Iraq in response to 911 — a preying upon emotions to further a pre-existing agenda,” attorney Gonzalez asserts. “It is a cynical anti-immigrant effort unrelated to Steinle’s death that in no way honors her memory.”
Couldn’t one say the same thing about gun control laws passed in reaction to Sandy Hook or San Bernardino? They would not have prevented those crimes, but they amount to cynical anti-gun efforts exploiting tragedies.