Ben Carson’s violent past is not something he’s kept quiet about. In Gifted Hands, he wrote about the rage that consumed him as a teen and how he became enlightened after reading the book of Proverbs. He felt as though the references to anger described him. He then applied counsel from the Bible to his life and said he never had another angry outburst.
“As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers. And, of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone. You know, fortunately, you know, my life has been changed, and I’m a very different person now.”
Ben Carson as a boy, pictured 2nd from right. [Image via Carson’s Scholars Fund]
Carson’s former violent behavior even led to him going after his mother with a hammer, but his brother was there to intervene.
In a CNN interview, when asked why he was so violent, he talked about a difficult childhood that included learning challenges and poverty. Carson spoke of being at the bottom of his class academically and being laughed at by peers.
According to a recent poll, Carson now leads in Iowa — 28 percent to Trump’s 20 percent. Carson’s leading contender in the bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Donald Trump, joked about his rival’s energy level.
“Ben Carson is super low energy, right? He’s super low. Super low energy. We need tremendous energy. We need tremendous energy.”
In an interview, Carson said people mistake his calmness for a lack of energy, but that’s not the case.
“I do have a tendency to be relaxed. I wasn’t always like that. There was a time when I was, you know, very volatile. But, you know, I changed.”
Ben Carson in New Hampshire. [Image via Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons, Aug. 13, 2015]
Carson’s admission of a violent temper may come as a surprise to some, but it’s nothing he hasn’t talked about before. He said he once stabbed a classmate with a knife, but it broke on the would-be victim’s belt buckle. In the inner city, poverty-stricken neighborhood of his hometown, Detroit, being violent may have been a defense and survival mechanism.
To help Carson excel in school, his mother stopped him and his brother from watching TV and insisted they write two book reports each week. She pretended to read them, although she only had a third grade education.
He journeyed on another path through prayer, his mother’s guidance, and ultimately, discovering his talents. Carson attended college at Yale and later earned a medical degree from the University of Michigan, specializing in pediatric neurosurgery.
Carson’s rise to director of pediatric neurosurgery at the renowned Johns Hopkins University was meteoric. He was only 33-years-old. Soon, he became the first neurosurgeon to separate twins who were conjoined at the head. He retired in 2013, saying, “I’d much rather quit when I’m at the top of my game. And there’s so many more things that can be done.”
Two years ago, Carson spoke at a White House prayer breakfast where he blasted political correctness and said the words of those who disagree with Washington’s current policies are often monitored by the “PC police.” He also gave insights on health care reform and taxes.
After the prayer breakfast, he was encouraged to run for political office. Those who don’t agree with Carson’s controversial statements and conservative politics have to admit the man is living the American dream. He’s relatively new to the Republican party, and was formerly registered as an Independent.
Carson’s violent past and his present reality are, according to his philosophy, proof positive that anyone—even a poor, Black boy from Detroit—can do anything, like become a neurosurgeon, or maybe, a Republican presidential candidate.
[Image: Courtesy of Joe Raedle / Getty Images]