Dr. Ben Carson, a likely candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, joined me at the start of my program today.
HH: I am joined by Dr. Ben Carson, www.realbencarson.com is his website. Of course, Dr. Carson can be followed on Twitter, @RealBenCarson. Dr. Carson, welcome, it’s good to have you back.
BC: Thank you, my pleasure.
HH: Dr. Carson, was justice done to Michael Brown yesterday?
BC: Well, you know, there are a lot of different ways to look at it. The way I’d prefer to look at it is, is there anything good that can come out of such a tragic situation. And I think there is. First of all, I don’t think that the police officer did anything wrong. Nevertheless, there probably are additional techniques and knowledge that he could have been given. So all along, we probably need to beef up the instructions for police officers in general so that they don’t place themselves in such dangerous situations. And then as far as the community is concerned, I suspect a lot of people woke up today and said what did we just do? We burnt down establishment from people in our own community, people who have worked hard to do that, because we let a bunch of outside agitators come in here and get us riled up. And you know, I hope people will think back to the days of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was faced with a bunch of people who thought violence was the way, and somehow he convinced them that peaceful demonstrations and conversation and demonstrating to people what was going on would have a better effect. And in fact, it did. It had a profound effect on our nation. But violence is never going to help anything. And the people who came in and agitated I are probably sitting up in their hotel rooms sipping wine and eating steak.
HH: Now you say I don’t think that the police officer did anything wrong. So you have reviewed and have come to the conclusion that the officer in fact should not have been charged with anything?
BC: Yeah, he had every right to protect his life. But I do think that there are probably other techniques that could have been used.
HH: All right, now if there were other techniques that could have been used, doesn’t that suggest he did something wrong?
BC: No, that suggests that he perhaps has not had the maximum training.
BC: You know, for instance, in a lot of places, police officers aren’t even allowed to go into the more dangerous areas by themselves. They’re always paired. Or you know, people use tasers, people learn how to shoot people in the legs to stop them from charging, things of that nature. And I seriously doubt that he’d been given that information.
HH: Do you think Governor Jay Nixon did a good job yesterday?
BC: I would have liked to have seen that the National Guard in place at the time, quite frankly. And I probably would have made every effort to convince them to make the announcement early in the day so you don’t have the cover of night, which tends to, you know, make people a little more adventurous in their violence.
HH: Do you think the President of the United States did a good job yesterday?
BC: Well, he did what I expected him to do, was to come out and give a very nice, pleasant speech. I thought it was kind of funny on the split screen. He’s talking about let’s not be violence, and the violence is already going on. It probably would have been a little better to say I see the violence has already started. Stop.
HH: Are you surprised he didn’t say stop?
BC: Well, I don’t know that he even knew it was going on.
HH: Dr. Carson, if you’re the president of the United States, and that situation arises, what would you do differently than what President Obama did yesterday?
BC: Well, first of all, you know, in the beginning, back in August, I certainly wouldn’t have sent the Attorney General to play favorites. I mean, if he was going, I would want him to talk to both sides. I would want him to look like he was impartial in the whole matter. I would certainly try to be impartial. And I would try to educate the American people about what a grand jury is. I seriously doubt that most people even know. What is the whole purpose of it? Education can stop a lot of problems, and ignorance can cause a lot of problems.
HH: I spent an hour with a 22 year prosecutor today, so I knew exactly what I would be talking about later in the program, and I don’t think many people do. Do you think the media has been acting responsibly, Dr. Carson?
BC: Well, some of the media tries, but you know how the media, for the most part, is. I mean, wow, there’s a circus, let’s go and cover it. And that’s not particularly helpful.
HH: The President has said that the frustrations are rooted in “hard truths.” What is he trying to say in these oblique descriptions, Dr. Carson?
BC: Well, I mean, I think he’s trying to say that you know, there’s still a lot of racism in our society, a lot of unfairness in our society, and that’s what’s causing people to act the way that they are.
HH: Do you believe that to be true?
BC: No. Now is there some? Of course, there is some. There will always be some, because there’s always going to be people with small minds who are easily influenced. But you know, for the most part, you know, that’s a thing largely of yesterday. Does it mean we should stop making attempts to create total fairness in our society? Of course, it doesn’t. That’s something that will be a constant task for all of us.
HH: With clarity, Dr. Carson, what is the situation with regards to race? When the President says there are problems with race in the United States, my friend, Ben Shapiro, critiqued that this moment in saying nobody knows that that means. What in the world does that mean? And I’m asking you as you look at white/black relations, especially, but also at Anglo/Latino relations, or even Latino/black relations, what is the biggest problem in the United States?
BC: Superficial evaluations. You know, I was asked by an NPR reporter why I didn’t talk about race very often, and I said it’s because I’m a neurosurgeon. I said when I take someone to the operating room, I’m operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are. And yet so many of us are so myopic that that’s all that we can see, and we make our judgments and determination based on that. And that happens across all racial lines. And it’s kind of silly, to be honest with you.
HH: Is it going to get worse before it gets better in the United States, because after all, we’ve had an African-American president for six years, Ferguson is a racially-charged situation. You’re an African-American running for president on the Republican side, and I say that with the assumption that you will run, and I know you haven’t formally declared, but you’re all but in. Is it going to be another hundred years before this tableau stops unfolding every time there’s a white-black incident?
BC: Well, you know, I actually believe that things were better before this president was elected. And I think that things have gotten worse because of his unusual emphasis on race.
HH: Can you explain more? What do you mean by that? How did they get worse, and how did he contribute to it?
BC: Well, for instance, in the incident with Henry Louis Gates, Skip Gates, and him calling out the police, and you know, how they always do this kind of thing, and the Trayvon Martin case, you know, if I had a son, this is what he would look like, rather than trying to take the balanced, objective look at things, and then, you know, what’s happened here. And then the way, which really irritates me to some degree, the way he and a bunch of progressives manipulate, particularly minority communities, to make them feel that they are victims. And of course if you think you’re a victim, you are a victim. And…
HH: Was Michael Brown a victim, Dr. Carson?
BC: Well, he became a victim based on perhaps not having a well-established ideal of how to relate to authority.
HH: Let me also ask you when you say things were better before this president, some have said the President plays the so-called race card. Do you think he does?
BC: Yes, absolutely.
HH: Is he doing so right now?
BC: He’s trying very hard not to, because I think he is aware that people are suspicious of him doing that. So you know, we keep an eye on him and hope for the best.
HH: And will you call him out if you think he in fact does do that?
BC: If asked. I won’t actively go out to do that, because you know, the way I kind of look at things, what we really need to spend our time on is the solutions to the incredible problems that we have in this nation, and they are multiple, and they expand all over the place, way beyond racial issues.
HH: Do they start with withdrawing television cameras from Ferguson?
BC: I think that would be incredibly helpful. You know, those outside agitators, if they couldn’t be on television and creating a big sensation, I think they’d probably find someplace else to go.
HH: Dr. Ben Carson, it’s always bracing. Thank you for joining us. www.realbencarson.com.
End of interview.