On Sunday, August 9, a five-year-old white child, Cannon Hinnant, was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding his bicycle in Wilson, North Carolina. His sisters, ages seven and eight, were playing alongside him when he was murdered. Alleged shooter Darius Sessoms, a 25-year-old African American, had apparently eaten supper with the Hinnant family the night before.
Sessoms and the Hinnant family had been neighbors for years, with no bad blood between them. At this point, there is no easily identifiable motive for the murder.
Few in the mainstream media have paid much attention to this story. Some conservative commentators have stated that if Cannon were black and Sessoms white, television news would be awash with stories about this killing, and our cities would be embroiled in riots and protests.
They have a point.
After all, look at what happened in the wake of George Floyd’s death. A video appears of a policeman with his knee on the neck of a black man crying “I can’t breathe.” As a result, riots break out in cities across the United States and Europe. Even today, there are ongoing demands to “Defund the police” and end so-called systemic racism in America.
It’s highly unlikely that the early riots and protests about George Floyd’s death were spontaneous. The Marxist Black Lives Matter organization led the charge in cities across the country, and last week The Epoch Times reported that a Minneapolis Communist group claimed to be behind the looting and fires in that city from the very start. Radicals who had little interest in George Floyd were instead very interested in using him to inject chaos into our streets.
The press and most Americans have also ignored, or are ignorant of, certain points of evidence regarding George Floyd’s death. His autopsy revealed an ugly mix of drugs in his body. The police officer was using a procedure which Minneapolis police officers were trained in. None of the four officers present uttered racial epithets.
So was the death of George Floyd racist? What about the death of Cannon Hinnant?
Newsweek reports that Sessoms has a history of arrests involving firearms and drugs.
Though we don’t have the full story on Sessoms, we may assume mental instability was a factor. No one in their right mind walks over to a neighbor’s house and puts a bullet into the head of a child riding a bicycle.
Yet some commenters on social media posted racial epithets regarding the boy’s death, including “Blew his little white privileged brains clean out of his head! #BlackLivesMatter.”
As Megan Fox at PJ Media writes of this racist post:
“This is what the media has done to America. They’ve so divided us with their race obsession that it’s turning people into actual sociopaths who can’t muster empathy for a family that just lost a child to horrific violence. When the phrase ‘all lives matter’ is controversial, you know you’ve gone over the edge of sanity and into Crazytown—where people can cheer the death of a child because he had the skin color of the only group on earth it’s okay to hate.”
The obsession with race in America today is the Great Stupidity of today’s culture. Most Americans my age – I am 69 – have seen racism firsthand, and we know the country is in a much better place today than it was 60 years ago.
But some among us insist we are blind, that we still live in a racist society, and that the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter has legitimate complaints. Few can provide evidence of such racism, but if you hurl the tar often enough and hard enough, some of it will stick.
If we look at the shootings in our schools, the mass murders in our public square, and the culture of death in our inner cities, we realize that shooters either are mentally ill, are under the influence of drugs, bear some baseless grudge, or are simply street thugs out for vengeance and money. Race is rarely a factor.
If Cannon Hinnant’s death is to have any meaning at all, let it be that the rest of us take a breath and pause when the next violent incident like this one occurs. Let’s take a step back and wait until we can determine as clearly as possible the cause of such a shooting. Instead of jumping to conclusions based on prejudices, let’s wait for some evidence before rushing to judgment.
Let us vow to know the facts before we condemn others as racists.
As for Cannon’s family, whose father said of him, “Everybody loved Cannon. His smile lit up the room,” I can’t imagine the pain of their horrific loss or the impact witnessing Cannon’s death had on his sisters. Were this to happen to one of my grandchildren, I’m not sure how I could handle such an awful and strange ending to a child’s life.
Cannon, may you rest in peace, and may your family find strength and love in the days to come.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.