Update on Carson’s Popeyes story


I must admit that I am quite intrigued by Ben Carson’s sensational Popeye story. So now it appears that there is still no corroboration of his account of being held at gunpoint at a Popeyes restaurant. Yesterday the Baltimore police said that even with the narrowing of dates of this possible event, they could find nothing.

Baltimore police said Thursday they can’t locate a police report in which Dr. Ben Carson was a victim in the robbery of a Popeye’s — but they’re not saying the stick-up didn’t happen.

Police released a 24-page letter to the media documenting their efforts to find the report, which included searches of four databases.

“No database search of any reports prior to 1987 can be run without a police report number,” wrote Wayne Brooks, assistant to legal affairs for the department. “Hopefully, this explanation is satisfactory for our friends in the media and shows that the BPD has done a diligent search for reports of any incident involving Dr. Carson.”

TJ Smith, a spokesman for the police department, said the police department is not trying to debunk Carson’s statement. It’s merely responding to media requests.

“We’re not saying it did or didn’t happen,” Smith said. “We can’t find a report based on the information we’ve gathered. It absolutely could have happened. We just don’t have the information to get that report.”

The Carson camp, after initially refusing to discuss the matter further, then added that Carson is ‘hazy’ on the details and that few of us would remember stuff that happened 30 years ago. Except that having a gun stuck in one’s ribs is kind of memorable, not to be compared with remembering what one had for breakfast. It is the kind of story that gets cemented in one’s memory through constant recounting to others.

What I don’t understand is why other people close to Carson (family, friends, colleagues, other people in the restaurant) have not come forward to corroborate this story, saying that Carson told it to them at the time

As more time goes by with no corroboration, the conclusion will be that either the story is a complete product of Carson’s well-known fevered imagination in an effort to support his statements about how bravely he would behave if confronted by a gunman, or his memory has become confused and he has put himself at the center of an event that he either just heard about or in which he played a much more passive role.

Comments

  1. kevinalexander says

    It is the kind of story that gets cemented in one’s memory through constant recounting to others.

    I’m not a neurologist but I don’t think that that’s how memory works. Every time you remember something it gets recreated in the mind –along with the opportunity to embellish. Think of Ronald Reagan’s stories. When anyone called him on their veracity he didn’t even shrug, he just kept telling them and no one cared.
    Of course Carson doesn’t have Reagan’s stature or mythological status so he might have a little more trouble with this.

  2. Johnny Vector says

    Personally, I find it much more damning of him if it’s true. Cause I know memory is a strange thing, and everybody misremembers events, especially traumatic events. So if it’s false, the stain it leaves on him is solely that he refuses to acknowledge that.

    Whereas if the story as he tells it is true, that makes him a cowardly bastard who would put someone else’s life in danger to save his own, and then use that to try to convince the country that he’s not a coward like those cowardly cowards who got themselves all gunned down in Oregon. Cowards.

    So yeah, if I found out for certain that the story is false, it would raise the chance of me voting for him from less than the Planck length to slightly greater than. In MKS units.

  3. Robert,+not+Bob says

    It’s true just like it’s true that every itinerant preacher used to be a drug addict, and half the Christian apologists used to be atheists. It won’t be long before he remembers it, though, even if the staffer who actually made it up comes out, with recorded evidence.

  4. says

    Johnny Vector @2

    Personally, I find it much more damning of him if it’s true. Cause I know memory is a strange thing, and everybody misremembers events, especially traumatic events.

    Wow, that’s just bullshit. You just said that victims of domestic violence “misremember” being violently assaulted.

  5. david says

    “Except that having a gun stuck in one’s ribs is kind of memorable,…”

    To be precise, the gun wasn’t stuck in ribs. This was reportedly at a Popeye’s. The gun was stuck in chicken.

  6. oualawouzou says

    @WMDKitty – Survivor, #4

    “Misremember” doesn’t mean “make things up”. Victims of domestic violence may misremember the date or location a particular assault occured, the specific injuries sustained, the words spoken at the time… That doesn’t make the assault any less real, and (I hope) nobody here would dispute that.

    Maybe Carson did get threatened, except that it was only words and no gun was involved. Maybe Carson was a close witness to such an assault, and misremember it as happening to him. Maybe Carson discussed that particular scenario at lenght some time back, and it morphed from being merely a hypothetical event to an actual event.

  7. says

    Sorry, but I stand by what I said.

    I do not “misremember” what was done to me. Incidents may blur together, due to frequency (and the fact that my abuser was fairly predictable), but I remember what he did. I damn well remember being kicked repeatedly in the ribs, being choked until I nearly passed out, and, oh, let’s not forget the rapes, either. Those are the kind of things that burn themselves into your brain, no matter how or hard you try to get rid of them.

  8. Robert,+not+Bob says

    Acknowledging that human memory is plastic-which is established fact-is not the same as denying someone else’s suffering.

  9. Marshall says

    We remember traumatic or unique events with much greater clarity and fidelity than we do the mundane.

    Every time you remember something it gets recreated in the mind –along with the opportunity to embellish.
    This is true, but it fails to address, as do anti-vaxxers, the dosage. The opportunity to embellish is a variable that is inversely proportional to the clarity of the memory. Traumatic events are not highly subject to embellishment.

    Victims of domestic violence may misremember the date or location a particular assault occured, the specific injuries sustained, the words spoken at the time
    This is true, and victims may also wear shoes while riding a horse. Just because it is possible that it happens doesn’t mean that it’s likely. And in fact, what victims of domestic violence are less likely to misremember the date or location than non-victims, so why bring it up?

  10. Mano Singham says

    Also, the richness of the experience counts as well. If we just read or hear about something, that leaves a lower level of impression on our memories. If we actually experienced the event and had some combination of visual, audio, touch, taste and smell all combined together, that would create a much deeper impression.

  11. Johnny Vector says

    Marshall:

    We remember traumatic or unique events with much greater clarity and fidelity than we do the mundane.

    That is not an uncontested fact. There are those who claim it, but there are plenty of studies (e.g. Neisser and Harsch (1992), Southwick et al (1997), Schmolck, Buffalo, and Squire (2000) ) that find traumatic events are not well-remembered.

    And we’re talking about specific details here, of exactly what Carson said and did. The kinds of things that are routinely found to be false when objective evidence exists.

    Note that this does not imply anything at all about domestic violence.

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