“Kate’s Law”: A Red Herring

Generally, I avoid making political statements, yet I am going to stick my neck out now and write one that is very close to my heart. You may have read about the shooting death of a young woman, Kate Steinle, in San Francisco in July 2015. My heart goes out to her family; I understand what they must have been going through. Ms Steinle was killed by a homeless Mexican man, a convicted criminal who was in California illegally. The gun had been stolen from the personal car of a federal park ranger a few days earlier, and the shooter had found it. Due to the tragic circumstances presented in court, the shooter was acquitted last night by a jury of all charges except for being a felon in possession of a firearm. This must be a very, very difficult verdict for the family, and it has unleashed a wave of outrage across the media. I am not going to comment on the verdict but on something else.

The US Government has been exploiting this case of a homeless undocumented immigrant shooting dead a young woman with a stolen gun to advertise and justify their position on so-called sanctuary cities; cities that according to Wikipedia “limit their cooperation with the national government effort to enforce immigration law.” The entire time since her death, her family and loved ones had to deal with it; “Kate’s Law”, a proposed measure to increase penalties for deported, convicted criminals reentering the US illegally, became a popular subject in the media.

But what about the other facts, that her death was caused by a homeless man firing off a stolen gun?

My husband Steve and Audrey Carey, a young Canadian tourist, were murdered three months after Ms Steinle, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were both shot dead with a stolen gun, by a homeless young man with a criminal record, a drug addict with a history of mental illness on a wild craze with his girlfriend and another friend, and all of them US citizens by birth.

Nobody suggested to create “Steve’s Law” (or “Audrey’s Law”) – a law that could eliminate society’s failure to handle homelessness, drug addiction, crime rates and perhaps mental illness, of hopeless people, young or old, living on the streets of our cities. Those issues were not mentioned in the media.

If there had been a “Steve’s Law” requiring that guns must be locked away in a safe, inaccessible place (not to mention addressing gun ownership in the first place), the gun that led to Steve and Audrey’s deaths would not have been left carelessly in that parked car, then stolen from the vehicle, and used for two cold-blooded murders. This gun safety issue quickly fizzled away after only one investigative report on NBC News.

Steve and Audrey could still be alive today.
Kate Steinle could still be alive today, as well.
And many, many others, too, could still be alive today.

Making the death of Ms Steinle an immigration issue is a red herring if I’ve ever seen one, conveniently distracting from gun violence, out-of-control gun laws, and other pressing issues happening in the USA everywhere, every single day. Finger-pointing and scapegoating to shroud governmental and societal shortcomings and failures has a history of catastrophic consequences, as we all well know.

“From day one, this case was used as a means to foment hate, to foment division and to foment a program of mass deportation,” public defender Francisco Ugarte said. “Nothing about Mr. Garcia Zarate’s ethnicity, nothing about his immigration status, nothing about the fact that he is born in Mexico had any relevance as to what happened on July 1, 2015.” ~CNN 11/30/17

 

17 replies
  1. Samvada Hilow
    Samvada Hilow says:

    Well written Lokita and you hit the nail on the head – it is just unbelievable that nothing is done to tighten gun laws. Other countries have shown that it works and can prove with results. It it something I will never understand in this country. Thank you for your thoughts, love and a big hug – Samvada

    Reply
  2. Anita
    Anita says:

    Thanks for writing this. Like you, I wish the people invoking Kate’s death for political fuel would stop distracting from the real issues. If we allow ourselves to be misled about the source of violence, we can expect to see no end of it and instead see (yet) more political division and violence, hand in hand, as those who would be victims are left vulnerable by tribally-fueled government policies.

    Reply
  3. Christina de Jongh
    Christina de Jongh says:

    I feel that guns ownership should be strictly strictly more than strictly supervised!!!!! And people should be educated about rules…. to keep guns safe locked away when not in use… etc etc.
    Way too casual here in USA and causing way way way too much grief for too many families.

    Reply
  4. Moureen Conyers
    Moureen Conyers says:

    Oh my, this post really hit home for me. Thank you for your writings. I shared this one on my facebook page. Bless you Lokita

    Reply
  5. Holly
    Holly says:

    Right on, Lokita! Thank you for your deeply insightful perspective. Building our Heart Connection and addressing basic human needs are the path to sanity… Much Love to you!

    Reply
  6. Linda Zimmerman
    Linda Zimmerman says:

    You are speaking to the choir; in fact I called the media (ABC news) last night and expressed my dissatisfaction with the coverage focusing on immigration issue and further fomenting hate and division in this country.Seems like we are lacking critical thinkers in this country and that makes me really concerned for humanity and the future. Thank you for your thoughtful blog; I am going to post it on my Facebook page.

    Reply
  7. Wayne Greenway
    Wayne Greenway says:

    Well said Lokita.
    As long as our elected officials answer to the NRA first and their constituents somewhere down the road we will not see change.
    The latest salvo from the GOP to make ALL state abide by the concealed carry laws of states with vastly different laws is plain sick and irresponsible.
    You Rock!

    Reply
  8. David Bradford
    David Bradford says:

    Extremely well said. Unfortunately a portion of our population does not like people who are of a different color. But will tolerate people who are suffering from mental illness and from self medication in illicit drugs. I’m all for “Steve’ law.
    Lové you…. david & Marsha

    Reply
  9. Mark Zila
    Mark Zila says:

    Lokita you are so right. Our country is still living the Wild West. Guns are for one thing and one thing only. Killing. We are a sick society.

    Reply
  10. Sara
    Sara says:

    It’s going to be crucial for people who have direct experience of issues like this to comment on the ‘red herrings’ (seemingly plausible, though ultimately irrelevant, diversionary tactics). Thank you Lokita for your ongoing vigilance and courage.

    Reply
  11. Emily
    Emily says:

    Issues like poverty and limiting the second amendment for public safety are not concerns for this administration or republicans generally. As long as I can remember republicans are concerned with issues around economic growth. Immigration continues to serve as a rallying point to bring voters to the voting booth. Fear of the other who comes in and takes jobs away and gets away with murder is a big motivator.

    I would support a “Steve’s Law” or “Audrey’s Law” that helps solve homelessness, support mental illness and/or address gun safety.

    Reply

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