It is 1965. Well, more or less. The first lady’s first name is “Lady Bird”, NASA’s Ed White is the first American to walk in space, and first among its peers on television is the Andy Griffith Show – in brilliant black and white. Britain’s Winston Churchill passes away, Tampa’s Clearwater Beach sees the birth of The Twist, and New York’s 17 year-old phenom Lew Alcindor conquers city basketball then begins a cross-country trek to UCLA.
But lurking beneath all of this energy and enthusiasm, there is more. Unbeknownst to most there is a hidden menace stalking the American landscape. Beyond the War in Vietnam, or the race riots in the ghettos of the inner city, beyond even the sinister presence of the next president, Richard Nixon, there is this: The senseless violence of fourteen year-old Ben Carson. Soon to culminate in attempted murder…
…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.
“I was trying to kill somebody,” Carson said, describing the incident…
…yes. We know. And we shake our heads in shame at a more naive, permissive era. At a time when folks greeted each other with a “Good Day!”, and always left their front doors unlocked, and apparently didn’t particularly care whether or not their 14 year-old sons staggered home like zombies after Bennie The Blade tried to eviscerate them. Back in those days, when a teacher saw a student walk into their classroom covered in blood from a gaping head wound, they simply thought, “Kids.”
But nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described…
Gerald Ware, a classmate at Southwestern High School said he was “shocked” to read about the violence in Carson’s book. “I don’t know nothing about that,” said Ware, who still lives in southwestern Detroit. “It would have been all over the whole school.”…
Carson’s campaign adviser and business manager, Armstrong Williams, declined repeated requests by CNN to provide details…”Why would anyone cooperate with your obvious witch hunt?” Williams wrote in an email last Friday. “No comment and moving on…… Happy Halloween!!!!!”
Carson, the famed neurosurgeon and current frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, prayed to God after the bungled murder and thankfully – for everyone involved – changed his ways. But the picture that CNN draws of the demented Ben during his worst days is not a pretty one:
Friends and classmates interviewed by CNN in recent weeks, however, recalled Carson as quiet, bookish and nerdy.
“He got through his day trying not to be noticed,” Robert Collier said.
“I remember him having a pocket saver. He had thick glasses [third from left]. He was skinny and unremarkable.”
Brad Wilson remembered him as an obedient child who would not defy his mother’s rule against crossing the street, even when she wasn’t around to enforce it. He would not even cross the street to ride bikes alongside his friend, Wilson said. Instead the two would wheel around the block — both on their own sides of the street.
Mother making Ben bike circles around his own block…perhaps now we understand why he tried to bash her head in. And why Ben attempted to gut his friend, who probably taunted him from across the street and got a dented belt-buckle for his clowning. In all this, you’d have thought somebody would have noticed the homicidal ninth grader. Like principals, or police detectives. Coroners, or trauma surgeons. Interpol, for one, had an office at the U.N.
Carson then responded that the only people who would know about the encounters were the people who were victims.
“Why would anybody know about, you know, private incidents like that?” Carson said. “I was generally a nice person. It’s just that I had a very bad temper so unless you were the victim of that temper why would you know?”