The silly argument that Asian mass murderers are assimilated Americans

One of the defining hallmarks of leftism is that America invariably suffers compared to other cultures. There’s a good example of this in the New York Times, where a man named Jeff Yang claims that the reason two Asian men killed numerous Asian victims last week is that they’ve been assimilated into American values. Yang might want to look back to Asia to see that these men might have brought some Asian values with them to America.

Last week was a tragic one for 18 Asian victims in California. In Monterey Park, Huu Can Tran, a Vietnamese man who immigrated to America from China, went to a dance hall frequented by his ex-wife and callously slaughtered 11 people. Just days later, it emerged that Zhao Chunli, a few hundred miles up the California coast, murdered another seven people in Half Moon Bay, California. In his essay, Yang also brings up the case of David Chou, who, in May 2022, killed one person in an Asian church in Laguna Woods, California, and injured four others.

Image: Hu Can Tran. Public domain.

What happened is terrible but is Yang correct to blame these killer’s acts on America? Here’s what he has to say:

In the countries from which Mr. Chou, Mr. Tran and Mr. Zhao immigrated, civilian gun ownership is essentially nonexistent. In America, just three weeks into 2023, there have already been over 40 acts of gun violence with at least four victims. That’s a statistic that would be cause for widespread public alarm anywhere else in the world, but here in the United States it’s the status quo.

Ours is a nation where the unimaginable has somehow become inevitable. If Mr. Chou, Mr. Tran and Mr. Zhao committed mass shootings, they did so not because they were Asian but as Americans. Mass murder may be the fullest act of assimilation possible into a culture that has proudly chosen as its colors the red of innocent blood, the white of panicked eyes and the hazy blue of semiautomatic smoke.

There are some countervailing facts Yang might want to consider before concluding that America’s gun culture infected these Asian killers.

First, the killings on which Yang focuses happened in California, a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in America. It’s possible that, if people in California had greater Second Amendment rights, the shootings might not have occurred or might have ended without so much bloodshed.

Second, as Yang notes, the three guys he names weren’t that anomalous. Asian Americans have been involved in shootings before, although they haven’t always targeted fellow Asians:

There have also been Asian mass shooters: Wayne Lo, the gunman who shot six and killed two at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 1992. Seung-Hui Cho, perpetrator of the horrific Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Elliot Rodger, whose 2014 attack on students near the University of California, Santa Barbara, left 14 wounded and six dead.

Third, Yang isn’t correct that Asians don’t turn on each other in their home countries. Asian governments have often turned on their own race. Mao’s Cultural Revolution killed something between several hundred thousand Chinese citizens (a low-end estimate) to tens of millions of Chinese people (a high-end estimate). In Cambodia’s Killing Fields, Pol Pot murdered around one-third of his fellow citizens. The Vietnam War saw innumerable massacres by both the Republic of Vietnam forces and the Viet Cong forces. North Korea has the largest collection of concentration camps in the world. The Japanese massacred indigenous populations across Asia, everywhere from China, to Korea, to Thailand.

Yang is also wrong to believe that individual Asian citizens don’t go on rampages in their home countries. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to “rampage killers.” Asia has quite a few (and this is just the shortlist, with the long lists here and here):

Back in the 1960s, leftists taunted those who showed a pro-American patriotism that expressed itself in the idea of “my country, right or wrong.” But there’s a flip side to this: Yang represents Marxist “hate-triotism,” which boils down to “my country, always wrong”—and that’s the case even when the facts fail to support his arguments.

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