Rep. Hamilton Fish Jr., the New York Republican who only this year began serving on a House subcommittee on crime, got a personal introduction to the subject last night when he was robbed at gunpoint in front of his Capitol Hill home.
"This was the first time in my 54 years anything like this has happened to me," said Fish, a member of the House since 1969.
Fish told police he and his wife were getting into their car parked in front of their home in the 400 block of A Street SE about 6:30 p.m. when "a very pleasant-looking, athletic young man in his 20s" stopped at the car. The 6-foot-4 congressman was trying to squeeze into the back seat of their 1974 Chevy Vega so the couple could pick up a friend.The robber pulled out a silver-colored pistol and demanded money.
Fish said he protested that "I have a lot of papers and credit cards and things in my wallet, and I said I would give him the money but not the wallet." The man said nothing, Fish reported, but took $130 in cash and left the wallet. Fish's wife. Billy, was carrying no money. The man walked away, Fish said.
A member of the House Judiciary Committee, Fish said the incident probably wouldn't change his views on crime in general -- a need for tougher law enforcement measures nationwide with greater police visibility and community involvement.
And what did he feel about the view that increasing crime is a symptom of greater social ills?
"Well, a conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night," he said.