Here’s What Happened When Ben Carson Was Actually Confronted by a Dangerous Gunman

“I believe you want the guy behind the counter.”

<a href=http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/2016-GOP-Carson/2b8b0e69e2594e79a73db10a15d05295/39/1>Butch Dill</a>/AP

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Since last week’s mass shooting in Oregon, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson has made a series of eyebrow-raising comments.

On Monday, he wrote on Facebook, “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

On Tuesday, he appeared on Fox & Friends, where he seemed to suggest that the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting should have responded differently to the heavily armed gunman. “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'” (Carson was apparently unaware of the story of Chris Mintz, an army veteran who did block the door between the shooter and a classroom full of people, suffering several gunshot wounds and two broken legs in the process.)

On Wednesday, Carson doubled down on these controversial comments in an interview with CBS This Morning. “I would ask everybody to attack the gunman because he can only shoot one of us at a time,” he said. “That way, we don’t all wind up dead.”

That brings us to Wednesday evening, when Carson appeared on a radio show and described an actual episode in which he was faced with a gunman. In Carson’s telling, he responded quite differently in this real-life scenario than he said he would have reacted if faced with a possible shooter. “I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye’s in Baltimore,” Carson told Sirius XM’s Karen Hunter. “[A] guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe you want the guy behind the counter.'”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Twittersphere pounced:

It makes you wonder what Carson really would have done had he been in that classroom, staring down the barrel of a gun. Clearly, he would definitely not “just stand there.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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