A cornerstone of Ben Carson’s presidential campaign is religion. Specifically, he has written and spoken about finding God after perpetrating a series of shockingly violent acts against family members and friends. Now, a CNN investigative report has called the veracity of these incidents into question.
The CNN report summarizes Carson’s details from his 1990 autobiography, Gifted Hands, about his childhood tendency towards violence:
In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” Carson describes those acts as flowing from an uncontrollable “pathological temper.” The violent episodes he has detailed in his book, in public statements and in interviews, include punching a classmate in the face with his hand wrapped around a lock, leaving a bloody three-inch gash in the boy’s forehead; attempting to attack his own mother with a hammer following an argument over clothes; hurling a large rock at a boy, which broke the youth’s glasses and smashed his nose; and, finally, thrusting a knife at the belly of his friend with such force that the blade snapped when it luckily struck a belt buckle covered by the boy’s clothes.
Carson ostensibly changed his ways, becoming the calm, collected candidate that we see today after this pivotal incident:
He writes in “Gifted Hands” that his religious epiphany took place in the bathroom of his family’s tiny home in southwest Detroit, after he says he had tried to kill a young friend over a dispute about what music to listen to on the radio. It was the last in a string of violent acts that Carson says were spurred by a roiling anger that threatened to derail his dream of becoming a doctor.
Crying, and praying to God for deliverance, Carson found his answer when he picked up a Bible and opened it to the book of Proverbs and a passage on the importance of controlling one’s temper.
However, CNN’s Scott Glover and Maeve Reston report that when they interviewed nine people from his childhood, nobody could back up these stories. These revelations have put Carson on the defensive, with him saying in the video above, “What makes you think you would be able to find them? Unless I tell you who they are? And if they come forward on their own because of your story that’s fine, but I’m not gonna expose them.”
In an appearance on Fox News, Carson says he didn’t use real names in his descriptions of these incidents to protect his victims’ privacy, and that the media questions are a “smear campaign:”
“I want to point out silly the CNN investigation is, because when I would have flashes of temper, it would only be the people who were directly involved, it wouldn’t be something that everybody else would know.”
Ironically, the people CNN interviewed recall how obedient and calm Carson was as a child, which is a characterization that you would think a presidential candidate would want in the first place. It’s surreal, to say the least, to see Carson vehemently defend being so violent, whether true or not.