By Lee Williams
None of the more than 20,000 gun laws on the books in this country will ever stop a criminal from committing a crime – not one – but when you add soft-on-crime prosecutors, politicians only trying to deflect blame and an unguarded target just waiting to be looted, you get a perfect storm of criminality.
A storm is exactly what swept the Union Pacific railroad tracks in Los Angeles earlier this month – a storm of criminals.
Since 2020, more than 90 railcars have been burglarized on the 275 miles of tracks running through Los Angeles County, most in LA’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood, according to the Hastings Tribune, which on Wednesday revealed that firearms were among the thousands of items stolen by the thieves.
“People were … breaking into these containers and stealing firearms, tens of firearms,” LAPD Chief Michael Moore told his Police Commission this week, according to the paper. “That gave us the great concern as a source again of further violence in the city as people were capitalizing on the transport of these containers with having little or no policing or security services there.”
The trash and utter devastation left on the train tracks by the criminals – whom California Gov. Gavin Newsom first called “gangs” but later referred to as “organized groups” – went viral. It drew dozens of reporters, who drew dozens of politicians. Newsom himself helped bag trash for the cameras at the crime scene just last week, wearing a t-shirt, ballcap and COVID-19 mask.
Once the legacy media stories were aired, the finger-pointing began. The railroad blamed Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who is soft on crime – especially if the defendant is homeless or a drug addict.
Gascón blamed the railroad for poor security. Chief Moore noted that the massive number of empty boxes and debris created a “free for all” atmosphere among the thieves.
Newsom touted his Organized Retail Theft Task Force, which he created last year after Los Angeles, San Francisco and other California cities saw organized groups of ne’er-do-wells looting retail stores completely unhindered by law enforcement.
California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. However, none of them will keep guns out of criminal hands once the weapons make it onto the black market. Even Joe Biden realized this, once he learned that the Texas synagogue terrorist acquired his handgun from another criminal. “You can’t stop something like this if someone is on the street buying something from somebody else on the street.” Biden admitted.
Similarly, none of the Golden State’s gun laws will work if they’re not enforced. District Attorney Gascón admitted that his office only prosecuted about half of the railroad burglary cases they received from law enforcement, and that the charges included “felony or misdemeanor charges of burglary, theft and receiving of stolen property.”
Misdemeanors? Newsom’s “organized groups” burglarized locked railcars and stole firearms. Armed burglary would have been a more appropriate felony charge.
Gov. Newsom said the carnage on the Lincoln Heights tracks looked like a “third world country,” for which he took some political heat. In my humble opinion, his assessment is correct, but too narrow in scope.
California itself has become a third world country. The entire state is nothing more than one large gun-free zone. Most Californians lack the means to defend themselves, their places of business, and their families. The Lincoln Heights free-for-all is nothing extraordinary. It just happened to catch the legacy media’s eye.
Once a population is disarmed, gangs or organized criminal groups will always rise up. Once a population is armed, the gangs disperse, because while they may not fear defunded law enforcement, soft-on-crime prosecutors or anti-gun politicians, most career criminals still have an aversion to getting shot.
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.