The Problem isn’t Bad Guns, it’s Bad People

California Proves Gun Control Doesn’t Work

A MAC-10 with a silencer
This is a MAC-10 pistol with a silencer. The dance hall shooter used this type of a weapon, but without use a silencer.

On Chinese New Year, a man opened fire in a dance hall in an Asian neighborhood in California, killing 11 and injuring at least another nine. The police recovered 42 shell casings. He then left and drove to another dance hall where an employee wrestled the gun away from him before he could kill anyone else.

Despite early tweets from Democratic politicians and other leftists blaming white supremacy and implying this was a hate crime, the killer was Huu Can Tran, an elderly Asian man. Although still under investigation, it appears it was a domestic dispute. What I’ve read is he was mad a woman went dancing without him. Not sure if this is speculation, rumor, or just hearsay, but the police may come forward with more information.

Despite claims that he had an “assault rifle,” he didn’t. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the shooter used a 9 mm MAC-10 which with an extended magazine. Both the gun and the magazine are illegal in California. The sheriff called it an “assault pistol.” There is no such thing, although I guess if you use a pistol to assault someone, it becomes an “assault pistol,” much like if you assault someone’s husband with a hammer, it becomes an “assault hammer.”

He also had a Norinco 7.62×25 pistol, which he used to commit suicide as the police were closing in. The pistol fires a bottle-necked cartridge that sees little use here in the States but is better known in Russia and China.

According to Reuters, “California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States.”

That didn’t stop this or other shootings. Why? Because people with criminal intent don’t follow the law. Just ask people in Chicago or Baltimore how well their restrictive gun laws are reducing crime in their neighborhoods.

Bans and Regulation

Sadly, banning something doesn’t make it go away. For many, it just becomes more desirable. This is why gun sales accelerate every time the government suggests it will ban some kind of gun.

We banned alcohol during Prohibition and it led to whiskey running, moonshining, and the emergence of organized crime. Banning alcohol didn’t work, people made gin in their bathtubs, and prohibition was eventually overturned (although moonshine is still illegal).

Then there’s the war on drugs which filled our jails with drug dealers but didn’t stop supply or demand. Instead, it led to the militarization of our police forces, heavily armed cartels and street gang, and large-scale violence and death. Most shootings in the U.S. are related to gangs and the drug trade. More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses last year and the streets of our largest cities are filled with homeless drug addicts. We lost the war on drugs, and an increasing number are being legalized on a state level while illegal ones come across the border and flood our streets. Clearly, banning drugs didn’t work, either.

Then there’s prostitution, often called the world’s oldest profession. It’s illegal almost everywhere in the United States, yet it goes on right under our noses. Making it illegal just chases it underground, increases trafficking of young women, and endangers its practitioners. Banning prostitution has failed, stopping neither the sellers nor the buyers.

Machine guns are also illegal, but there are multiple shootings done with a “Glock Switch” equipped fully automatic guns every week in places like Chicago and Washington, D.C. Fully automatic weapons used to be rare. They are becoming increasingly common among the criminal class.

It’s the People, Not the Guns

I could hop in my car this evening with a few hundred dollars in my pocket, buy a quart of moonshine, pick up some meth, and get laid. I could also buy a gun, and not from a licensed gun dealer. Despite laws to the contrary, these and many other illegal items are available in almost every corner of the country. Banning them doesn’t make them go away. It doesn’t stop people from partaking.

I choose not to visit prostitutes, buy drugs, shoot people, or drink. Just like I choose not to break into my neighbor’s houses when they are not home, rob the local pharmacy, kidnap young children, set houses on fire, rape women, beat up those who fail to treat me with respect, or shoot at the cars of people who cut me off. Sure, all of those things are against the law, but when we come right down to it, none of those laws would stop me from doing something if I really wanted to. The laws would be used to punish me afterwards. (Assuming they caught me. Smart criminals can sometimes get away with things for years.)

Thus my premise: It’s not the guns that are the problem, it’s the people who are the problem. People are the problem because we don’t raise them right.

No Consequences

Here’s a thirty second summation of a semester of Child Psychology 101. We’ll call it the ABCs of Child Discipline.

Antecedent: You tell your child what you expect of them. For example: Both Mom 1 and Mom 2 tell their two-year-olds, “We’re going to go grocery shopping today. If you sit in the cart and behave the whole time, I’ll buy you the breakfast cereal you like. But if you act badly, not only will you get no cereal, but when we get home, you won’t get any screen time until tomorrow.”

Behavior: This is what the child does. Do they sit in the cart and behave, or do they whine and cry and carry on and run up and down the aisles?

Consequences: This is where they get either the reward or the punishment. The punishment has to be something they strongly dislike, so you can use the memory of it the next time you go shopping.

When Child 1 misbehaves, Mom 1 grabs the cereal box out of the cart and says, “If that’s how you are going to act, I’m going to put this back on the shelf!” and starts waking back down the cereal aisle. Child 1, their bluff having been called, begs her not to return the cereal and promises to be good.

When Child 2 misbehaves, Mom 2 buys them a sweet to distract them. Once she gets home, she needs some quiet so she can carry in the groceries and put everything away. She plops the kid down on the soft and turns on their favorite show. She has just taught the kid that Mom’s word is not law, and there are no consequences for bad behavior. The kid also learns that by stomping their feet and screaming, they can get anything they want.

Ten Years Later

At age 12, Child 1 does what they are told, is polite, helps around the house, and gets rewarded with praise, which by now is sufficient. Not only do they follow the rules, they like having boundaries.

Child two is hard to control, doesn’t listen to the parents, hates authority figures, and is rude. Child two ignores the rules at home and is a big troublemaker at school. They are also angry and unhappy and don’t know why.

Which one do you think is going to break the neighbors’ windows, steal a car, get into fights at school, and one day get shot or shoot someone?

In Full Metal Jacket Sgt. Hartmann yelled at Private Pyle, “What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?” Pyle shoots the drill sergeant, but the comment was on target: many of the problems people deal with today start at home and are then compounded by schools.

Most of us train our dogs. We reward them for good behavior and over time they become well-adjusted members of the pack. Sure, kids aren’t dogs, so we use different techniques, but we still need them to grow up to be well-adjusted members of the pack.

Whether you are training dogs or kids, you can accomplish a great deal with rewards, but sometimes a dog needs to be reminded who is the alpha. I think the lack of discipline and consequences, the softness with which we raise our kids, contributes to the multitude of unstable personalities who have fantasies about killing everyone around them.

Physical Punishment

Someone in my father’s generation told me a story about doing something wrong in school when he was a kid and facing the “board of education.” That was the name given to the paddle they used on the butt of kids who broke the rules. He claimed getting paddled was a rite of passage, but he also said it never happened again. He had run into a consequence he wanted to avoid and was smart enough to change his behavior to avoid getting paddled again. After graduation, he went on to become an engineer and had a long and successful career. We’ll never know if his future might have been different had he not been paddled.

Getting paddled in school is kind of like doing pushups at boot camp or being forced to clean the urinals with your toothbrush until you fall in line. Only then can you and your fellow recruits make progress and become a team.

Bleeding hearts might think this kind of “behavior modification” is cruel. I think raising a generation of kids who have no better option than grabbing a gun and shooting up their neighborhood is cruel.

Someday, the pendulum will have to swing back. I don’t think it will until after the collapse. Those that live through the collapse and come out the other side will no longer be soft. Their experience will have tempered them. They’ll make sure the next generation faces the consequences.

Until then, keep your guns secured on your body or in your safe. If some numbnuts with a major malfunction goes on a killing spree in a gun-free zone, you don’t want to learn after the fact that they used a gun stolen from you.