Ben Carson the Inspiring Thug

Who ya gonna believe, a hero brain surgeon or the mainstream media?

If, like millions of Americans, you have watched the Ben Carson biopic Gifted Hands, you may recall the dramatic moment when a young Carson stabs a schoolmate in the stomach.  The only reason there is a Dr. Carson today instead of Prisoner #54321 is that the knife caught on the victim's clothing and the blade snapped off.  No harm, no foul, but this perilously close call compelled Dr. Carson to change his life for the better.

Indeed, this narrative is a large part of what makes Dr. Carson such a compelling role model and, now, presidential candidate.  He grew up in a poor single-parent family; he lived life on the mean streets; and yet he rose to the highest heights of a profession so challenging we use it as a trite phrase for something very difficult: "That's brain surgery!"

The American people love a tale of redemption and repentance, and the media have noticed:

At the core of his narrative of spiritual redemption are his acts of violence as an angry young man — stabbing, rock throwing, brick hurling and baseball bat beating — that preceded Carson's sudden transformation into the composed figure who stands before voters today...

"I was trying to kill somebody," Carson said, describing the incident -- which he has said occurred at age 14 in ninth grade -- during a September forum at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

Under normal political circumstances, this might be the stuff of dreams for opposition researchers in the Democratic party.  Imagine, a Republican candidate who is a confessed attempted murderer!  What uncertain voter would ever vote for a violent felon?

Except, like the exotic life of Donald Trump, this incident is the furthest thing from a secret.  The movie took the tale from Dr. Carson's autobiography of the same name, and he's mentioned it many times in public appearances and speeches.

So, there's apparently no mileage in slamming Dr. Carson with charges about something he's freely admitted many times over.  His enemies must look elsewhere.

When There's A Will, There's A Way

Or do they?  To our surprise, the media has demonstrated more imagination than we thought they possessed.

No, they aren't attacking Dr. Carson for being a thug; quite the contrary.

Get this: they are attacking him for not being a thug.

Carson, 64, has given vague and shifting accounts of the violent incidents over the years, most notably one involving his mother...

It's the image of the quiet kid with the pocket-protector that endures in Carson's hometown of Detroit, not the flashes of violence Carson also describes.

"I personally do not have knowledge of those incidents," said former classmate Dorian Reeves. Reeves said he overlapped with Carson in elementary, junior high and high school. "I wondered, 'When did that happen?'"

Dr. Carson has the answer:

The explanation is that it occurred over 50 years ago.

Well, time lapses of this scale weren't enough to prevent the media from claiming to have evidence of Mitt Romney's bullying ways as a teenager.  But it's also true that researching the friends of Mitt Romney, son of a car executive and state governor, is probably easier, safer, and more pleasant than researching the life of Dr. Ben Carson who grew up in the Detroit 'hood which has only gone downhill in the half-century since.

Once again, the media are wrongfooting themselves: every time the make these preposterous accusations and lies, they expose more Americans to the inspiring story of Dr. Carson's life.  That presents voters with a decision: do they believe the word of a man who has saved countless lives in the most difficult of surgeries?  Or do they believe the media?

Considering that polls place media trustworthiness somewhere below that of used car salesmen, it won't be much of a contest.  So we have to thank the media for the publicity they are providing for the good doctor, a man we would be proud to vote for and to honor in any leadership position.

For a President Carson - or even a Vice President Carson - would once and for all give the lie to the Jacksons and Sharptons who say poor blacks can't succeed in racist, bigoted America.  Dr Carson grew up in worse circumstances than either Mr. Jackson or Mr. Sharpton; he's accomplished far more for good in his life; and he's managed to do so without surrounding himself in a dense cloud of lies and bigotry.  What could be more worthy than that?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

The press isn't attacking Carson for not being a thug. They're attacking him for not being honest. That's definitely fair game. He's built a 2nd carer out of raising sympathy and donations on this story, country over.

The problem with what CNN is doing is two fold:

1) They have no actual evidence of any dishonesty

Instead of presenting evidence of dishonesty as the story, the **investigation** is the story. That's ridiculously unfair. They looked and found nothing, so they're running a story with the implication that someone will hear this and come forward against him. The attack is one of those of work-in-progress we'll-find-something-eventually investigations that has become commonplace against black Republicans who are making in roads in the GOP establishment (Herman Cain, Mike Steel).

2) The double standard

Hillary has piles of lies, easy for all to see, that are recent as the last few months or years. The same eagerness to investigate and report against Hillary would yield weeks of stories - CNN would have to create several more channels just to unload it all.

But the underlying question of whether Carson is behind honest about his roots is definitely fair game and should be open to investigation if people start to smell a rat.

November 9, 2015 9:44 AM
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