It’s getting harder and harder every day to find liberals with whom one might have a “reasonable” discussion about current events. Usually it takes more than the first line in an opinion piece for me to become angry at something the author wrote.
Yet the first sentence of Roy Edroso’s article in The Village Voice titled “Right-Wingers Find Accidental Shooting to go Ballistic Over”, was enough to cause me to become apoplectic with rage.
The article began, “Conservatives, being Second Amendment stalwarts, are usually pretty chill about accidental shootings” and never got any better.
The rest of the article suggested that conservatives had no business getting upset when a jury in San Francisco acquitted José Inés García Zárate of both murder and involuntary manslaughter charges for the death of Kate Steinle, after the illegal immigrant had recklessly fired the shot that killed her. The author clearly implied that conservatives harbored racist tendencies as he rambled on a bit about illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. Mr. Zarate is called an “unauthorized” immigrant in the article, rather than more accurately described as an illegal immigrant.
The disturbing lack of logic in Edroso’s article inspires the reader to wonder what The Village Voice might be using for editors these days. Clearly, the premise of the piece is that the jury had delivered a fair and just verdict in the case, and therefore the only reason conservatives were upset was because they are all racists.
The problem is that nobody noticed the glaring flaw in Roy Edroso’s argument, which is that the jury actually nullified the law as applied to the involuntary manslaughter charge. The charge of murder was clearly prosecutorial overreach in an effort to play on the jury’s sympathies for the victim, but that fails to justify the not guilty verdict on the involuntary manslaughter charge.
The legal definition of involuntary manslaughter (found at FindLaw.com) is as follows:
Involuntary manslaughter usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as a DUI). The usual distinction from voluntary manslaughter is that involuntary manslaughter (sometimes called "criminally negligent homicide") is a crime in which the victim's death is unintended.
The website also offered three elements to the crime that must be satisfied in order to achieve a conviction for involuntary manslaughter. They are:
- Someone was killed as a result of the defendant's actions.
- The act either was inherently dangerous to others or done with reckless disregard for human life.
- The defendant knew or should have known his or her conduct was a threat to the lives of others.
Ms. Steinle was indeed killed, which satisfies the first criteria. Discharging a firearm in a crowded, popular metropolitan shopping district certainly qualifies as reckless disregard for human life.
And any idiot should have known better. Check, check, and check.
What if Mr. Zarate had been driving down the wrong side of the road and killed Ms. Steinle in a car accident, instead of shooting her? Would this same jury in San Francisco still find him not guilty of involuntary manslaughter? For that matter, what if a white male had been driving that car, or fired the gun?
Of course, if that perpetrator’s name was Ted Kennedy and this had been Massachusetts in the 1960s, he probably wouldn’t have even been charged with a crime. But two wrongs will never make a right. The point is, in order for our legal system to work and both criminals and victims to receive equal justice under the law, the prosecutor, judge, and jury all must do their jobs.
Either politics or incompetence played a role in the outcome of this case. Kate Steinle was denied justice under the law.
While I don’t have the audacity to claim to speak for any conservative other than myself, I will most enthusiastically reject any argument suggesting that I should be willing to surrender my Constitutional rights because someone else has committed a crime. Would it be fair to revoke my driver’s license because the guy in the car in front of mine was arrested for a DUI? Should the police take my steak knives if the neighbor two blocks down stabs his wife? Should my legal (hypothetical) firearm be confiscated because some illegal alien in California acted like a jackass with a loaded weapon? Do guns really kill people, or do people kill people? Or is the real problem that some people want to use a gun to hurt other people, while others are merely stupid and irresponsible?
And other than harsh criticisms of conservatism, what courageous solution does Mr. Edroso propose? Does he advocate the repeal of the Second Amendment and banning/confiscating every gun in America? Should even hunters be deprived of their rights? The article is full of complaints about conservatism, but the sound of crickets chirping might distract the reader while he or she looks through the article for any daring proposals to solve the problem caused by Ms. Steinle’s tragic death.
It might surprise Mr. Edroso for him to learn that not every conservative wants to own a gun, and his article may have inspired a future gun purchase. When liberals openly admit that they will turn a blind eye and deny conservatives equal justice under the law, conservatives will eventually feel the need to protect themselves, and perhaps even take the law into their own hands.