The Slatest

Ben Carson Talks Roseburg: “I Would Not Just Stand There and Let Him Shoot Me”

Ben Carson doesn’t want anyone blaming the guns, but on Tuesday he came awfully close to blaming the victims.

During an appearance on Fox and Friends, Carson trotted out the usual NRA-endorsed conservative argument against stricter gun laws: Guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do. The GOP hopeful, though, didn’t stop there. Asked by one of the show’s co-hosts, Brian Kilmeade, what he personally would do if a gunman walked up to him and asked his religion—as the shooter allegedly did to his victims before opening fire last week on the campus of an Oregon community college—Carson responded with this doozy:

I’m glad you asked that question because 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.”

If you ignore Carson’s convenient, Mark Wahlberg–style counterfactual bravery, Carson’s comments, as stunningly insensitive as they may be, are actually consistent with the general pro-gun worldview that the former neurosurgeon has been espousing on the campaign trail. “There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking,” Carson wrote on Facebook on Monday night in response to a question about the Oregon shooting, “but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”

Elsewhere in Slate:

See more of Slate’s coverage of the Oregon shooting.