Ben Carson. (Charlie Neibergall, Associated Press)
Columnist

“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.'”
-Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, on “Fox & Friends,” describing how he would respond to a shooter like the one in Oregon

It always astounds me how many tragedies would have been averted if the people who discuss them on morning talk shows afterwards had only been there at the time. Hypothetical heroism is, it seems, in almost infinite supply. There is no limit to the incredible things you would have done, had you but been there. Alas! All the problems of the world would have been solved if people had simply done as you advise.

I don’t need to explain why this is wrong, insensitive and generally all-around-bad. Instead, here is Ben Carson responding to other disaster scenarios, real and fictional.

The Hindenberg

“If I were that blimp, I would not just sit there and catch on fire. I would land safely, and I would land all my passengers safely.”

Terrorist Attacks “Air Force One”
“I would have tackled him and thrown him through the hatch shouting ‘Get off my plane!’ but I would have done it better and faster than Harrison Ford does it in the movie of that name. I suppose we cannot all be like me.”

Child Abducted By Human Traffickers
“I would not just sit there. I would call them, first thing, and say, ‘I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.’ I am certain that is how I would perform in a crisis.”

Wolf Attack
“I would not let myself be eaten by a wolf. I would tie glass to my hands and fight the wolf. In that movie, Liam Neeson only did what I know I would do.”

Fall of the Roman Empire

“Well, for starters, no empire that I was running would fall. I would say, ‘Hey guys, let’s hold together! We’re Romans and they’re barbarians! We can fight this!’ It would have been a great speech.”

Lady Sybil Dying In Childbirth On “Downton Abbey”
“I would not just sit there and die in childbirth. I would have made a big point of not dying. She should have made that a priority.”

The Titanic
“I would definitely not sit there and drown. I would have floated. I am a neurosurgeon, and I am not letting an iceberg take me down. If any sharks or seals started to circle I would have fought them off using my particular skills.”

The Alamo
“If I had been at the Alamo, we would remember it because we won. Or rather because I, Ben Carson, won it.”

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
“The first mistake that everyone made was to catch fire. I would not have made that mistake.”

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
“I would have not just sat there and let John Wilkes Booth get the drop on me. I would have charged him, shouting ‘GET OFF MY THEATER BOX!’ and then America would have rallied behind me and we would have given our nation the new birth of freedom that Abraham Lincoln lacked the presence of mind to give it. I’m really struck when I think about myself, realizing just what an action hero I am.”

The Blitz
“I would not have just sat there and let them bomb me. I would have swatted those planes from the sky with my gifted hands. Like a real hero.”

Pearl Harbor
“Look, I’ll just say this. Looking through history generally, I find one consistent problem: that the victims were not as heroic as I, Ben Carson, would definitely have been.”

Extinction of the Dodo

“I would not sit there and let my species die out. Not on my watch! I would have said, ‘Hey, Dodos, get it together! Do you want to have a species or not?’ We would have so many dodos now if I were a dodo.”

JFK Assassination
“Well, first things first, I would have caught the bullet. Then I would have thrown it back in Lee Harvey Oswald’s face. Then I would have led a grateful nation in singing ‘God Bless America.'”

9/11
“I would have called Mark Wahlberg immediately.”