Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings told MSNBC on Saturday that “young white men” scare him more than the prospect of terrorists exploiting the Syrian refugee program to gain entry to the U.S. to attack innocent Americans.
“How confident are you of the systems that are put in place [to screen refugees]?” MSNBC reporter Chris Jansing asked Rawlings, a Democrat who was elected mayor of Dallas in 2011.
“Well, there is never a 100 percent guarantee,” Rawlings said, “and safety is my number one concern.”
“I am more fearful of large gatherings of young white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” Rawlings told MSNBC.
According to crime statistics compiled by the Texas Tribune, over 80 percent of Dallas county residents imprisoned in Texas for committing crimes are either Hispanic or black, even though minority residents make up less than half of the city’s population. Less than one out of every five Dallas residents who end up in the Texas prison system–18.8 percent according to the Texas Tribune–are white.
Of the 17,022 Dallas county residents currently incarcerated in the Texas prison system, 9,265 (54.4 percent) are black. Hispanics comprised 26 percent of the Dallas residents serving jail time.
Even though the statistics show black men in Dallas are more likely to commit crimes than “young white men,” one is left to wonder how Rawlings’ statement would have been received if he said “large gatherings of young black men” scared him more than Middle Eastern refugees.
In October, Rawlings officially joined an anti-gun group bankrolled by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.