Down Trump memory lane: the curious case of Kathryn Steinle and Francisco Sanchez

It all seems like it was another world, another age, but it was only five-and-a-half years ago, which isn’t that much in the planetary scheme of things.

June 16, 2015, precisely. The day that the billionaire celebrity, Donald Trump, announced his Presidential aspirations while offering the world an early glimpse of the next four years. Capitalizing on the fact that illegal Mexican immigrants are essentially voiceless, faceless, lacking the romanticized flourish American elites smartly extend to the other global wretched, he exploited their powerlessness and cultural invisibility to brandish his first dose of Trump drama. What did he have to lose? He had a whole lot to gain for there is no American structure in place that speaks for the peasant Mexican immigrant as there exists to defend the other downtrodden ethnic groups.

And that was Day 1 of Trump’s foray into undignified but very amusing statesmanship. This was the launching pad for Trump Derangement Syndrome, an affliction we’ve suffered continuously until today. A national cacophony of offense and ire echoed across the country in the wake of Trump’s words. In the motif which would foreshadow his bombastic style, Trump’s hyperbolic ambiguity was misconstrued willfully by most people.

He told us, “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Sure, it was a bit over the top, but if we bothered to dissect his words earnestly and objectively, we would see that he was right. Mexico’s adjacency to the United States is its reputational downfall. Mexico’s siphon valve is only a border away, not an ocean away. The nation’s “problematic refugees” only have to exert some physical exertion in order to reach the promised land; they don’t get to board a ship, raft or airplane, like other immigrants do when abandoning their homeland. Trump was right but no one could see it. The combative dialogue that ensued consumed us. People argued and pondered over Mexican immigrants as the nuanced flavor of his comments was lost on them. Emotion ruled the day, on both sides.

Mexican immigrants hadn’t been the focus of such attention in decades as they were the Summer of 2015. Generally ignored, the disinterest of the American public to this anonymous group of gardeners, janitors, and car washers could not have been more intensely indifferent. Trump brought them to the attention of our collective radar. He placed the issue in our lap where it was difficult to ignore. Was Trump right? Wrong? A madman?

Donald Trump’s Presidential splashdown was polarizing and could have gone in any of 5,000,000 directions during the national spark that led to this Trump bonfire. America, shocked, elated, spellbound, mortified, offended, couldn’t respond cohesively. His Presidential fate rested in the hands of feuding Americans. Mr. Trump had made some interesting, if not outlandish, claims about those lowly Mexican peasants, the ones Americans didn’t care to think about. To borrow a term the MSM would use for all its Trump consternation in the ensuing years, were his observations “baseless?” Keep in mind, this was the “pre-pandemic/BLM/Trump” era when identity politics hadn’t quite reached that crescendo of nuttiness as they have today. Trump’s words introduced a new level of mania, but we continued to retain our sanity nevertheless.

So June 16, 2015, brought us Trump, the marauder and trampling scourge of nice and for those latter two June weeks, his allegations of unsavory Mexicans rattled in our collective dialogue, not sure what to make of it all.

Until Kathryn Steinle and Francisco Sanchez.

Just 2 weeks later, in a spooky serendipitous juxtaposition, fate volunteered to pitch in its 2 cents worth. If there existed doubt or skepticism of Trump’s assumptions, leave it to an illegal Mexican criminal to prove him right.

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States’ vulnerable southern border for this week’s fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city’s South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.

Francisco Sanchez
Francisco Sanchez
Kathryn Steinle
Kathryn Steinle

The San Francisco collision of California’s liberalentsia and immigrant pauperacracy was spectacular. Right on cue, as if penned and staged by the playwrights on Trump’s campaign team, the drama unfolded. Steinle’s death at the hands of the immigrant Sanchez was an incremental series of scenes which bolstered the Trump argument. Everything he had warned of two weeks previously came to bear in a perfectly choreographed murder on Pier 14. A good-for-nothing Mexican illegal immigrant who epitomized the horrors of Trump’s tales killed a good-looking white woman for no apparent reason. What more could one ask for if you’re Donald Trump looking to drive your unpopular point home? It was precisely this timing that inspired the most curiosity and raised eyebrows on my part, but I’m a logical person not prone to extravagant postulations. As they say, “shit happens,” and it surely did for Steinle and Sanchez on July 1. Once is a coincidence, twice…

To further tickle the event’s peculiarity quotient, the details of Sanchez’s bizarre path leading to his killing of Steinle began to surface.

For instance, the gun.

The gun used in the slaying of a woman last week on a popular San Francisco pier belonged to a federal agent, law enforcement sources close to the investigation told NBC News Tuesday.

Sources could not immediately say how Francisco Sanchez, the undocumented immigrant charged in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, obtained the weapon. The firearm, described as a large-caliber handgun, was left inside a vehicle from where it was stolen, the sources said.

A downcast Sanchez spent most of the hearing with his head bowed, appearing to fight back tears while the judge explained the charges to him.

Outside court, his attorney said Sanchez has a second-grade education and a nonviolent criminal record of low-level drug arrests and immigration violations. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Sanchez’s criminal history dates back to 1991, mostly for drugs, including heroin, and sneaking into the United States, sometimes fewer than 30 days after he was deported Mexico, federal records show.

A federal database has logged Sanchez’s past convictions and deportations, with at least 40 entries in its system over the last two decades. In jailhouse interviews, Sanchez said that if he killed her, he didn’t remember much because he was high on marijuana and sleeping pills.

It was the gun, it was the sleeping pills, the marijuana and the way this story formed a series of absurdist undulations which seemed to eerily live up to Trump’s omens.

The gun, stolen from a federal police officer’s car, found its way to the pedestrian walkway where Sanchez stumbled around in a pill-induced daze. [Archive link: original Yahoo link no longer exists]

He told two television stations who interviewed him in jail that he found the gun used in Steinle’s killing wrapped in a shirt on the pedestrian pier she was walking on. Sanchez said the gun went off in his hands, and his public defender, Matt Gonzalez, said Tuesday that the San Francisco woman’s death appeared accidental.

I wrote in an old blog that something seemed very incongruous about Sanchez’s actions. Their coordinates in that unique measure of spacetime were inauspicious and led to some very dire results.

Translations of Sanchez’ account are muddled and confusing, a frustration not helped by his uneducated lack of articulation. Much of what he says, or is supposed to have said, seems dubious at best, but one fact is incontrovertible: the serial number on the gun Sanchez is alleged to have shot Steinle with belonged to a United States Federal agent. Let that sink in. A lost service gun belonging, in some haphazard way, to the U.S. Feds, is involved in a high profile random murder in San Francisco at the hands of a drug-addled illiterate peasant from Mexico. A career criminal whose investment in law-breaking involved drug manufacture and sale, and maybe possession. This simpleton is a cold-blooded killer; he finally came into his own at age 45.

This event, the first to greet “President Trump’s” grandiose and chaotic entrance on our national stage, was the first of in a series of darkly secluded nooks lining the sojourn that culminated in one of America’s darkest years.

The events on July 1, 2015, were an omen.

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