And much of the country is up in arms. Rightwing Twitter wants a boycott of the City by the Bay. I kind of suspect they weren't coming here anyway, and wouldn't enjoy the place if they did, so that's not so worrisome. President Cheato is raving that this has something to do with San Francisco's welcome to immigrants and we should build his wall. Just as in the 2016 campaign, he's using other people's pain for his gain and inflaming racial fears.
I don't have any special knowledge of the case beyond what I read in the papers, but I have observations that I haven't seen brought together in most sources.
Devastated and decent
The Steinle family. The Chronicle recorded a short video, Mending the Heart, in which Steinle's father conveys his dignified determination not to participate in a blaming circus. He tries very hard to keep focus on the real harm, his daughter's death. And he stays away from vengeance-filled vituperation against the shooter or the city. (Kate's brother isn't so measured, but her father is the main spokesman.) Watch this soon at the link and weep; Chronicle links aren't always durable.
devastating description of Gascon's failure here.)
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It gets lost in the fog, but Garcia Zarate was on the street that fatal day because ICE neglected to get a warrant to pick him up from San Francisco County custody. San Francisco's "sanctuary" status means we don't just turn over inmates because someone at the Feds calls the jail and asks for a prisoner. Our law enforcement officers are required to follow the rules. In this country, it takes (or should take) a legal warrant to hand someone into custody. ICE didn't do its job and get the right judicial order; the SF Sheriff's Department merely followed the rules. Garcia Zarate became yet another homeless San Franciscan.
The jury. Mostly criminal cases never get as far as being heard by a jury of fellow/sister citizens (much less a jury of their peers.) In 2012, 94 percent of state cases never reached trial. Most charges end in a plea deal with the defendant agreeing to guilt for some offense in order to receive a lesser sentence. But in the rare cases in which defendants do face a jury, ordinary people can prove thoughtful and discerning as I've written here from personal experience. Jurors often end up taking the momentous task they've been stuck with very conscientiously. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that a San Francisco jury made up of people who've likely seen quite a few individuals like Garcia Zarate on their streets needed more evidence than raw prejudice to make the man a deliberate murderer.
I have jury behavior on my mind as I'm on the hook for such service myself next week. I'm confident that nothing will come of it, as no attorney on either side would put me on a panel, but going through the motions is a welcome citizenship task.