Ben Carson: ‘I Would Not Just Stand There and Let Him Shoot Me’

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Heritage Foundation Take Back America Presidential Forum in Greenville, SC
Photo: Richard Ellis/Corbis

Ben Carson, who keeps climbing in the polls, did an interview marathon on Tuesday. Since last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College has dominated much of the political discussion lately, it was inevitable that he would be asked repeatedly to state his views on gun violence — and offer his ideas for how to prevent shootings from happening, should it become his job to deal with these sorts of things in the future.

During an appearance on Fox & Friends, he said that one way to deal with mass shootings, at least while they’re happening, is to not get shot. Host Brian Kilmeade asked Carson what he would do if someone pointed a gun and asked, “What is your religion?”

I’m glad you asked that question,” Carson began, seizing the moment to move the discussion away from policy and toward an opportunity to present himself as a heroic leader.

I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” he said. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”

Carson later clarified to ABC News that his hypothetical efforts would have prevented gun deaths. “I said what I would do … I would ask everyone to attack the gunman. That way we wouldn’t all end up dead.”

Carson’s idea for how to decrease gun deaths — the “Hey Guys, Everybody Attack Him” Plan — was revealed a day after he wrote on Facebook, “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.”

In an interview with USA Today published today, Carson offered another gun-violence prevention tactic that adhered to his mantra of “doing things that work, not … things that stroke the emotions.” 

If I had a little kid in kindergarten somewhere,” he said, “I would feel much more comfortable if I knew on that campus there was a police officer or somebody who was trained with a weapon.”

Later in the day, when he stopped by The View, Joy Behar asked him — after Carson assured the hosts that the gun would not be on the kindergarten teacher’s desk — “So, if a gunman comes in with an AK-47 or an AR-15, how fast can that teacher go to the locked drawer and get that gun?” 

Well,” he responded, “I want that teacher trained in diversionary tactics and whatever needs to be done in order to get there.”

He was not asked a follow-up question about whether “Hey guys, everybody attack him” was an example of a diversionary tactic that professionals should be trained to use.