“Cannon Hinnant” is a name that has received scant media coverage, though the young boy’s story should be flooding our news streams. Last Sunday, the 5-year-old child was shot in the head while he was out riding his bike in front of his father’s North Carolina home.
The alleged killer, 25-year-old Darius Sessoms, was taken into custody by Wilson police roughly 24 hours after Cannon’s gruesome death at around 5:30 p.m. the day before. According to WRAL-TV, the little boy’s 7- and 8-year-old sisters witnessed their baby brother’s killing.
Cannon’s skin was white and Sessoms’ skin is black. It’s entirely possible (and perhaps likely) that fact played no role whatsoever in the boy’s alleged murder, but as some conservative writers have speculated, it certainly seems unlikely the press would be so mum on the matter had the skin tones of those involved been reversed.
The Daily Mail reported Sessoms, who lived in the neighboring home, had a relationship with the Hinnant family, with whom he reportedly had dinner last Friday night. Neighbors also claimed they saw Sessoms, a convicted felon, over at the Hinnant house earlier Sunday.
Police have not yet revealed any sort of motive, though the deadly encounter is under investigation. A GoFundMe page established by a family member says Cannon rode into Sessoms’ yard prior to being shot at point-blank range.
In an article about the disparate media coverage, columnist Rod Dreher wrote:
We do not know if race had anything to do with this killing, and we should not assume so without evidence. The Daily Mail reports that Sessoms and the Hinnant family had been friends. Maybe the adults had a falling-out, and this is how Sessoms sought revenge. Bad people do bad things all the time. Race might have nothing at all to do with this murder. Hinnant’s family said the boy had ridden his bicycle in Sessoms’s yard.
But we also can be confident that if Sessoms were white and Hinnant had been black, this would have been front-page news, and on all the networks, even without evidence that it was a racially-motivated attack. Angry white man kills black child who trespassed on his lawn serves the narrative the media prefers. I hope I’m wrong, but I bet we will not hear much more about this savage killing in the media. They will not want to know more about it.
Multiple times, Dreher pointed out no racially charged motive has been established or even speculated at this point. He’s correct: we should assume it played no role. It was, however, last summer that an unnamed staffer at The New York Times told publisher A.G. Sulzberger that racism “is in everything.”
“I just feel like racism is in everything,” the staff member said. “It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting.”
I don’t subscribe to that theory. But if the staffer is right — and if that really is how those at the Times see the world — shouldn’t Cannon’s murder be plastered all over our national media outlets?
Please pray for the Hinnant family as they seek justice and healing.