(AP/Carlos Osorio)

Umpqua shooting victim fires back at Ben Carson's vile victim-blaming: "I'm fairly upset"

The GOP presidential hopeful has come under withering criticism for his insensitive remarks


Sophia Tesfaye
October 8, 2015 5:17PM (UTC)

While Ben Carson defends his controversial comments on last week's mass shooting at an Oregon community college by saying he'd have charged at the gunman rather than "just stand there and let him shoot me," at least one shooting victim says Carson's apparent victim-blaming left him "fairly upset."

18-year-old Mathew Downing was called the "lucky one" by the 26-year-old gunman who terrorized Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon one week ago, killing nine people and injuring nine more.

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"You, with the glasses," gunman Chris Harper-Mercer reportedly said to Downing, "you're the lucky one. If you give this envelope to police, you'll live."

Downing was then sent to the back of the classroom where he watched his classmates get executed.

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all,’” Carson, a former neurosurgeon, said during an appearance on Fox News this week.

“I would ask everybody to attack the gunman because he can only shoot one of us at a time. That way, we don’t all wind up dead,” he explained later to ABC News, doubling-down on his comments that seemingly blame the victims for failing to end the bloodshed.

"I'm fairly upset he said that. Nobody could truly understand what actions they would take like that in a situation unless they lived it," Downing told CNN.

For his part, Carson is still defending his comments, citing his past experience directing a gunman away from himself and towards a fast food restaurant employee.

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Real heroic stuff.

"I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye's organization" in Baltimore, Carson told Karen Hunter on Sirius XM Radio. "Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter."

Carson Chuckles After Repeating What He Would Have Done to Oregon Shooter


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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