On June 16, 2000, a black teenager named Raynard Johnson was found hanging from a tree in his front yard, his body still warm, a belt tied around his neck. His parents said they believed the 17-year-old had been lynched. All hell broke loose. Here was the evidence:
Raynard was an honor student who seemed happy.
- He was dating or was friends with a couple of white girls.
- This was Mississippi.
This flimsy evidence didn't stop Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton from getting on their racial hatred soapboxes and screaming about the lynching. A London newspaper shouted the headline, Fear of Lynch Mob Returns to the South.
There was a ton of evidence to show that there was probably no foul play involved. Teen suicide is fairly common, and the suicide rates for blacks aged 15 to 19 more than doubled between 1980 and 1998 (CDC figures). About 3,700 males aged 15 to 24 commit suicide each year in America (CDC figures).
Two autopsies, including one the family commissioned, found no evidence of a struggle. He had no marks on him, no other injuries. There were no broken bones, no gunshot wounds, no stab wounds, and he was not beaten up. It was a suicide. This is what the coroner said.
Regardless, Jesse Jackson went to Mississippi and cried, "Some man or men did this evil," then led a thousand marchers chanting, "Stop the lynching now; stop killing our children." That's children, plural.
One of the white girls had told police she had broken up with Johnson right before his death. The police asked for the teen's computer to see if he wrote a suicide note. The family refused to let them or the FBI have it. Now, don't get me wrong. I think the parents' feelings are perfectly understandable. Your kid is dead, and you didn't see any signs of trouble. But it's these others who seize upon tragedies such as this and use them for political fights; those are the folks that sicken me.
Lynchings sell. Don't have a real one? Then the mere suspicion of one will do nicely. Bigot-spotting is big business in this country. It makes some folks famous, brings in big money to some special-interest groups, and gets politicians votes.
Here's the analogy that should free your mind, my liberal friends:
Just like Joseph McCarthy needed Communists in the State Department, Jesse Jackson needs to keep finding bigots around every corner in order to stay in business. Isn't it about time to stop this madness and put these race baiters out to pasture?
"Stay out d' Bushes!"