The Gaffe Circle of Life is now complete.
First, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, asserted that he felt safer in Israel than in New York or Chicago.
Then, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., fired back. From Buzzfeed:
“People from outside of New York, certainly from the South or the West — they seem to have this compulsion to look upon New York as this high-crime den of evil,” said King. “The fact is, if we’re going to single an area out for being dangerous, Atlanta would come far ahead of New York.” …
Because New York is “culturally different” from other parts of the country, King suggested, “they just then accept this total exaggeration and distortion about New York being the center of crime.”
“I mean, we take it for granted in New York that you’re gonna have different ethnic groups all over the place, that you’re gonna have different religions all over the place, that you’re gonna have so much activity,” said King.
“Many other communities in the country are — basically, they’re all the same. They’re not used to the diversity we have in New York.”
And finally, Loudermilk apologized, via the New York Daily News:
Through a spokeswoman, Loudermilk said his comments on combating terrorism were “sensationalized to create division where none was intended; I was simply trying to emphasize how safe I felt in Israel.”
“I certainly never intended to disparage any U.S. city, and I apologize if anyone took offense to my comments.”
Loudermilk didn’t respond to King’s argument that Atlanta, near Loudermilk’s suburban district, has a far higher violent crime rate than New York City.
So let’s solve this ourselves, shall we?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation data in 2013, there were 5,517 incidents of violent crime in Atlanta, with a population of 451,020. That’s good for .012 incidents per person.
In New York City there were 52,384 violent incidents for 8,396,126 residents, or .006 incidents per person — half of Atlanta’s rate. Point, Pete King.