Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Sept. 22, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photo by John Minchillo/AP

Carson eyes guns in kindergarten, boasts of his imagined bravery

Updated
10/6/15, 7:18 PM ET

Carson advocates teachers with guns

In an interview with USA Today’s Susan Page, Ben Carson says he would be more comfortable to know there were more guns in kindergartens.
In the wake of the latest mass-shooting, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson appears to have been thinking a bit about gun violence, and the often ridiculous candidate has drawn some curious conclusions.
 
For example, Carson said yesterday that if he had a child in kindergarten, he’d feel better knowing there were loaded firearms in the classroom. “If the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, I would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn’t,” the GOP candidate said.
 
Last night on Facebook, Carson added, “As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies. There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away. Serious people seek serious solutions.”
 
To date, the retired right-wing neurosurgeon has offered no solutions, serious or otherwise, to combating gun violence. On the contrary, he’s begun rejecting solutions he used to support.
 
But Politico flagged Carson’s comments on Fox News this morning, where the GOP candidate was in rare form, first complaining about President Obama traveling to Oregon to meet with grieving families and a recovering community, then indirectly criticizing the victims of the mass murder.
Asked what he would have done had a gunman walked up to him and asked him to state his religion, Carson said he would have been more aggressive.
 
“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all,’” he told the hosts.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
 
It’s genuinely shameful how common comments like these are. After the massacre in Charleston, S.C., a Republican state senator complained he wasn’t satisfied with how the victims reacted to the gunman. After the massacre in Aurora, Colo., a Republican U.S. congressman complained that the victims should have been armed so they could shoot back. After the massacre at Virginia Tech, National Review published a piece admonishing the victims. “Where was the spirit of self-defense here?” John Derbyshire wrote, adding, “[W]hy didn’t anyone rush the guy?
 
And now we see Ben Carson thinking along the same lines. He didn’t directly chastise the victims in Roseburg, Ore., but by explaining how brave he’d be towards the gunman, Carson was effectively complaining that the real-world victims should have displayed the kind of imagined courage the Republican candidate described.
 
For a man seeking national office, this isn’t acceptable rhetoric.
 
It’s so easy – too easy, in fact – for anyone to imagine what they might do when faced with a life-threatening crisis, but until someone is confronted with such a nightmare, he or she should keep their bravado fantasies to themselves.
 
A madman entered a community-college classroom and began shooting people. Ben Carson, from the comfort of a television studio, wants to tell us about how heroic he’d be under the same circumstances.
 
But here’s the unfortunate truth that the unhinged candidate fails to understand: he has absolutely no idea how he’d respond to such a crisis. Almost none of us do.
 
Carson probably didn’t intend to insult the victims, indirectly blaming them for failing to meet his standards for bravery. But imagine being the parent of one of the young people killed in Oregon last week, and seeing a presidential candidate talking about how he graceful he’d be under fire – unlike those who actually faced the nightmare and were shot.
 
Carson’s callous arrogance is nothing short of staggering.
 
Who knows, maybe Carson’s rhetoric will resonate with Republican primary voters, who’ll cheer his latest comments. But to my mind, this represents a new low for the GOP candidate, one devoid of compassion and basic human decency.
 
 

Ben Carson, Gun Violence and Oregon

Carson eyes guns in kindergarten, boasts of his imagined bravery

Updated