Fabio Lanzoni loves America. He’s had wild success since immigrating here as a model and adorning the covers of popular romance novels (as well as writing a few of his own). He’s also appeared in a handful of popular movies, television shows, and commercials.
“It was like a beautiful dream. It was like paradise,” Fabio told LifeZette about first arriving in America. “I fell in love with this country.”
He became a legal citizen last year — and now finds himself very worried indeed about what he sees happening in California, where he lives.
“It’s a disaster. It’s an epidemic,” Fabio said this week as he described what has happened to his state under the direction of Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat. “I’ve been around the world. I’ve been to Africa. Everywhere. Downtown Los Angeles now looks like a third-world country,” said Fabio. He described closed-off streets and sidewalks along with “out-of-control” problems with crime and the homeless.
The man whose house was burglarized in January of this year said the major issue is Proposition 57, something likely unfamiliar to many people who live outside the state. The goal of Prop 57 was to reduce the sentences of nonviolent criminals to help save money on prison expenditures — and to aid in the rehabilitation of some lawbreakers.
Yet this is not happening, said Fabio, as more and more people he knows become victims of crime on a daily basis. “These are serious criminals,” he said of what Prop 57 defines as “nonviolent” lawbreakers.
Listing some of the crimes for which the law helps reduce sentences, Fabio said, "Human trafficking involving sex with minors, assault with a deadly weapon, attempting to explode a bomb in a school or hospital, discharging a firearm on school guards, failing to register as a sex offender ... the list goes on and on and on."
Proposition 57 has many critics. A website called stop57.com lists the crimes that are not being properly punished under the law and allows citizens and victims of crime to speak out about the negative impact Prop 57 has had on their communities.
"We have to repeal Proposition 57," Fabio said, adding that the governor has "turned his back on law enforcement."
Fabio said the governor sold the bill on local television by saying it would mainly apply to people arrested for possession of marijuana and that it would help save the state money.
"Politicians don't really have to care. They are protected. They have security," said Fabio, noting that people supported the measure without studying the finer details. "People never really went and read into it. They go to the grocery store. They buy food. They don't even bother to read the label and then they go, 'Why I am I gaining weight?'"
California is throwing "candy to these criminals" and attracting more and more lawbreakers to the state, said Fabio, while chasing away businesses.
"This is a non-political situation. You're talking about the people and the law enforcement against the criminal. You're on the side of the people and the law enforcement, or you're on the side of the criminal. It's a very simple issue," he said.
"Just look at Europe and go the opposite way."
He continued, "Being from Europe, I already saw this movie. It's why people left."
Not only has the law "demoralized" the police with whom Fabio has spoken, but he said it's another example of California's strange spending priorities. While Gov. Brown is trying to save money on housing criminals, "in the meantime, he's trying to build the train to nowhere," said Fabio.
The "train to nowhere" is a famously poor decision on California's part, a $64 billion investment that has been delayed again and again and will likely never do much of anything. What was supposed to be high-speed rail service from San Francisco to San Diego is a prime example of why the government never met a dollar it couldn't waste.
With his background as an immigrant from Europe, Fabio said he sees a worrisome trend for America — he describes recent experiences in his home state as a "flashback." He said empires fall "always because of two reasons — because they were busy fighting each other, and they didn't secure the border."
"This is the greatest country in the world," he said, "but we have to come together. We have to find common ground."
The current division in the country only makes politicians stronger, he said. "When people are divided, the politicians can do whatever. When people are united, that's a dangerous thing."
Fabio is one of the few in the entertainment industry to use a public platform to praise police officers and to criticize expensive liberal policies — but he wishes more people would do so. "They are always out there trying to be on the side of the people, but this is a real people issue. It's an American people issue," he said of outspoken celebrities.
As an immigrant from Europe, Fabio is in a unique position to share some advice with American citizens. His first bit of advice is blunt: "Just look at Europe and go the opposite way. It's as simple as that." He added, "Europe already jumped off the cliff. They are doomed."
His second bit of advice is not something one often expects to hear from a celebrity. "Don't you ever give up your guns," he said. "If people lose that right, forget about it. Politicians — they will take everything away from you. And then what are you going to do, protest with a rock? Because that's what they do in Europe."
He said one major difference between America and Europe is the right of good people to be armed against tyranny and criminals who "are always going to have every single weapon available to them."
He added, "The day you give up your weapon in the United States, the United States is going to be history."