In a radio interview Wednesday, Dr. Ben Carson (who happens to be a vegetarian) recounted a time when he was held up at gunpoint in a Baltimore Popeye’s fast food restaurant. Carson didn’t say when the incident happened, but did recall how he handled the potentially deadly situation.
Carson tells the interviewer, “Guy comes in, puts the gun in my ribs…And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.’” Then he laughs as Karen Hunter of SiriusXM Radio laughs with him. She asks if he really “directed, misdirected” the gunman to the fast food worker.
A day before the Sirius interview, Carson told ABC News he believes that when faced with an active shooter situation like the one at Umpqua Community College, he “would ask everybody to attack the gunman.” In talking about a very tragic event with the Oregon massacre, at the :50 second mark of a CNN video Carson laughs right after saying he would not just “stand there” and let the shooter kill him, “he can only shoot one of us at a time, that way we don’t all end up dead.”
Facing criticism regarding his initial advice on what people should do if confronted by a killer, Carson defended his comments on Wednesday stating, “I want to plant in people’s minds what to do in a situation like this.” That evening, he recalled the Popeye’s holdup.
Carson’s statements on the Roseburg mass murder have gone from controversial to perplexing. His latest revelation, that he was robbed at gunpoint, did not elicit any follow-up questions from an amused Hunter. When did it happen? Were the police called? Did the gunman turn his weapon on the guy or gal behind the counter? Why didn’t he “rush the shooter” in that circumstance?
In an effort to quell even more criticism, Carson offered this ending to the story during a second radio appearance on The Michael Smerconish Show Thursday:
The resolution was, he said, ‘Oh, sorry’ and then he went to the appropriate person behind the register who gave him the money, and he left the store running before the police got there.
“He went to the appropriate person behind the register?” What if he had shot him? While no one can fault Carson for his self-preservation instincts in the heat of the moment at Popeye’s, this Kafkaesque recollection of the holdup on Wednesday followed by a more detailed conclusion the next day, is bizarre. When Smerconish asked him why he didn’t rush the gunman, Carson said, “I was not fearful for my life at all, I knew why the [robber] was there.”
As conservative bloggers compare Donald Trump to one’s “drunk uncle,” Carson’s headline-grabbing, idiosyncratic and peculiarly sensational remarks in response to a mass shooting don’t seem to bother the same critics.