Tennessee politician compares violence in Nashville to Beirut

Gilmore apologized after comparing violence in Nashville to Beirut. (

A politician in Tennessee compared youth violence in Nashville to Beirut during a public city council meeting, according to CBS-affiliate WTVF-TV.

Nashville councilwoman Erica Gilmore said youth poverty and violence has become a crisis, and the issues compare to the challenges facing an underdeveloped nation.

UPDATED: Erica Gilmore issued an apology after Lebanese Examiner’s story about her comments.

“People do not recognize there are kids out there that are in such poverty that we are like a third world country,” Gilmore said. “I feel like I was in Beirut.”

According to her online biography, Gilmore completed a study-abroad program at the American University of Beirut while studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tennessee politician Erica Gilmore compared youth violence in Nashville to Beirut. (YouTube/Metro Nashville)
Tennessee politician Erica Gilmore compared youth violence in Nashville to Beirut. (YouTube/Metro Nashville)

In reported crime rates, Beirut ranks at 36.84 — a lower score than Nashville, which ranks at 49.11, according to two independent crime databases.

A study at the American University of Beirut found that disadvantaged Beirut neighborhoods, which have higher crime rates, are more likely to have problems with youth violence.

“Lebanon has a history of civil and cross-border war, which may influence the production of violence at the individual level,” the study said.

Gilmore pointed to a lack of respect among Nashville youth as a contributing factor to the violence. FOX-affiliate WZTV-TV reported that youth violence has been increasing in some Nashville neighborhoods.

“We’re seeing so much violence in the neighborhoods amongst the youth that I’m really concerned. The other day I was walking down Pearl Street and there were about 60 kids in the middle of the street. They were throwing bricks at one another. And I tried to get them to stop, and I could not get them to stop.”

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