Ben Carson has been sharply criticized this week since he responded to the Oregon shooting on Tuesday by saying that he “would not just stand there and let him shoot me.” On Thursday, he stood behind his comments, saying his idea to have victims rise up against an attacker could help save lives in future mass shootings.
“I’m not complaining about any of the victims,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a CNN interview. “I’m trying to plant the seed, because this may not be the last time that this occurs. If it occurs again and there’s a bunch of people, they might start thinking, ‘You know what? We’re not going to just take this.’”
The comment came in response to Wolf Blitzer’s question about a statement made by Matthew Downing, one of the survivors of the Oregon shooting. Downing said on Facebook that “nobody could truly understand what actions they would take like that in a situation unless they lived it.”
Carson speculated that Downing’s comments were “fed to him” by someone who misconstrued what he meant when he said he would have risen up to attack the shooter.
Blitzer also pointed out that not everybody has the experience to rise up and attack a gunman. But Carson said that a school in Virginia came out with guidelines after a shooting which included “throwing everything you could possibly throw at the shooter.”
“He’s not going to be able to deal with all of that,” he continued. “In a sense, they were saying, attack him.”
Carson’s comments are actually contrary to government protocol. The Department of Homeland Security recommends attempting to evacuate or hide before attacking a shooter — something that should only be done “as a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger.”
Carson has also criticized President Obama for “politicizing” the shooting. “When do we get to the point where we have people who actually want to solve our problems rather than just politicize everything?” he said in a Fox News interview.
Many of the Republican presidential candidates have made similarly inflammatory comments in reaction to the Oregon community college shooting which left nine people dead. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that mass shootings are caused by people’s “loneliness” and not easy access to guns, Donald Trump has said “that’s the way the world goes” and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters that “stuff happens.”