San Francisco Is Fucking Amazing and We Don’t Care What Bloodthirsty Racists Think

The unhinged reaction to the Kate Steinle verdict generated a #BoycottSanFrancisco tweetstorm (and 2,300 out-of-state comments on our Facebook page telling us we suck).

We may have trolled the racist trolls a little after our neutrally reported story on the Steinle verdit got 1,400 irate comments in under two hours. Fuck ’em. (Eric Pratt)

So: a mostly not-guilty verdict in the Kathryn Steinle trial. Were you surprised? We were, to be honest. But Attorney Matt Gonzalez made the successful argument that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate found a gun wrapped in a T-shirt on Pier 14 and it accidentally went off, shooting Steinle in a random — tragic — daylight accident. And millions of Americans are absolutely livid about it.

Garcia Zarate, it should be noted, didn’t get off scot-free. Although the counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semi-automatic firearm came back with not-guilty verdicts, he’ll be sentenced for the crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm. As 48 Hills noted, District Attorney George Gascon should never have pressed for a first-degree murder charge, since the evidence manifestly didn’t support it.

“Gascon and Garcia knew what the evidence was going into the trial,” Tim Redmond wrote. “They knew what the defense was going to argue. Perry Mason aside, there are not typically a lot of secrets in criminal cases, not a lot of sudden revelations that one side or the other introduces at the last minute.”

Good points, although I will admit that anticlimactic conclusions on procedural grounds invite mass fury because everyone who was primed to celebrate the guilty verdict has no place to put their rage. Further, the defendant has already served two years in jail awaiting trial. It’s unlikely that the firearm charge will get him more than a three-year sentence, so the likeliest outcome is that Garcia Zarate will be deported. So I expect the mass-bed-shitting to continue for some time.

And we’re going to keep hearing about it. The case, which stems from a 2015 incident, included essentially every possible ingredient to send the right-wing internet into a maximum froth with sustained winds of 200 miles per hour: an undocumented suspect who’d entered the country multiple times, a blonde victim, emotionally charged opinions from Bill O’Reilly and a certain crypto-fascist in rapid cognitive decline, and beautiful San Francisco itself, the crown jewel of sanctuary cities.

My colleague Nuala Sawyer wrote a largely-just-the-facts blog post about the verdict at exactly 5 p.m. Apparently, because she did not bend over backward to slam immigrants or demand a border wall, her neutral reporting opened the floodgates of vitriol like nothing I’ve ever seen in the five-plus years I’ve written for this little old free rag. Less than two hours after she posted it, we had 1,400 Facebook comments, approximately 85 percent of which were from out-of-state conservatives shrieking for blood and condemning SF Weekly, San Francisco, and California as accomplices to murder, and cesspools of reverse racism (because, as the logic went, Garcia Zarate obviously killed Kate Steinle and only got off because San Francisco hearts “illegal aliens”). 

By this morning, there were 2,300 comments and near-total Breitbartification, with the occasional sane person saying, “You guys realize SF Weekly didn’t sit on the jury, right?” Recognizing the futility of being comment no. 2,301 and getting our attention, a couple people took to commenting “fuck you liberal scum” on a profile of James Blake our intern wrote, simply because it was handy. Many told us we’re “manure of the highest order” (LOL), and predicted riots. Some of them tried to contact our advertisers, ostensibly because this avowedly anti-racist newspaper is too progressive for dispensaries, gentleman’s clubs, and … Arinell Pizza. 

Of course, being a juvenile smartass, I went in there and poked them with a stick a couple times for sport. That brought out the pearl-clutchers who fainted en masse at the specter of an alt-weekly clapping back at the naked racism that our dear readers people who never heard of SF Weekly until 5:02 p.m. and who were never going to read anything we write ever again anyway started disgorging on our page like a suppurating pus volcano. 

Because tribalism is paramount, several folks went the Sarah Palin route and enumerated their cultural superiority to us with the same tired tirade of red-state virtues: “beer-drinking, gun-toting, flag-waving, God-fearing, proud rednecks,” et shitera, et shitera. Never mind just how pro-beer SF Weekly is for a second; instead, mull over the irony of pro-gun people telling us we suck because we didn’t demand the justice system railroad a guy with a gun. 

Keep in mind this is the same #MAGA crowd that would have almost certainly called Garcia Zarate a “mentally ill lone wolf” if he’d been white, many of whom were the same #2A people ghoulishly arguing that mass shootings are the price of freedom only a few weeks ago in Texas — and a few weeks before that, in Vegas. 

Let’s be clear about what these people are really pissed about, a combination of the true and the false, oxidized by their own righteous certitude. They’re mad that an undocumented, brown-skinned, homeless man (true) got away (false) with the murder (false) of a white woman (true) in a sanctuary city (true) because the justice system is skewed toward letting people of color commit crimes with impunity (false) something that also proves that white people can’t get a fair trial in America today (false) and if we had a border wall it would never have happened (false) and this whole thing is all directly traceable to the fact the Democrats want to destroy the country (false) by fighting against everything Trump supporters want (true) and even more so to the fact that Califuckya sux (false).

The whole thing gave me a little myopia, especially because this was national news, so why were thousands of angry Tennesseeans yelling at SF Weekly? Hours went by before I realized it wasn’t just us. The entire right-leaning quadrant is now engaged in a mass boycott of the Golden State and they’re never again going set foot in San Francisco and they really, really mean it. (I mean, one time, they all came here and encountered a homeless person and there isn’t even a Chick-fil-A on the Wharf so who needs this stupid town?)

We know there are a lot of these people and they’re very vocal, but I forgot how prone they are to flinging poop like colobus monkeys in the form of inane stuff about how California drains the federal coffers and we’re broke and functionally ungovernable — which is my favorite stereotype about the state, because it’s so manifestly made-up. Most of our problems can be traced back to the fact that too many rich people live here.

And maybe it’s just the general climate of things, or maybe the snuffing-out of SFist and the decimation of LA Weekly is getting to my head a little, but you know what? We don’t care what you crybabies think about our beautiful city, because San Francisco is freaking awesome, end of discussion. Go ahead and fake-boycott us all you want on the grounds that we’re insufficiently hate-filled racists like you. Free up some room for the millions of wonderful people who come here and have a blast.

This relentlessly terrible year has never let up for a goddamn second, but the editor-in-chief of this newspaper is out of fucks to give when it comes to being polite to racist assholes spewing their tragically misspelled garbage on our site or our Facebook page. Why fight it? Being hated by truly, profoundly horrible people — the worst of humanity, really — is nothing to be ashamed of.

Undoubtedly, San Francisco has major existential issues — and SF Weekly calls them out, all the time. But it’s still a unique and special place, in a diverse and progressive state whose demography mirrors the future America in an era when we’ve hopefully passed all the white-resentment-fueled paroxysms of our times. (One can dream.)

If justice being served animates you to shun California, then I invite you to stay where you are and have a terrific time marinating in your own bitterness — and also to surrender any guns you may have and maintain a respectful silence after the next inevitable mass shootings in America.

Or you can renounce everything you’ve ever said or thought, then come see me go-go on a pool table in a dive bar tonight and put some dollar bills down my undies to support queer arts, because in addition to being proudly anti-racist I’m also proudly fearless and gleefully depraved. I’ll take out the first $6 and buy you all a drink, and then we’ll see just how beer-swilling you really are.

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