PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Black man's death raises questions

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

The shocking hit-and-run death of a Jackson man recently sends chills to my very core. Understand, these charges are as yet be proved in a court of law.
The allegations are sensational and horrific, to say the least.
I am especially sickened by the claims against these alleged attackers, who are from the place my children grew up.
That’s Brandon – right in the heart of our state.
James Craig Anderson was a black man, apparently going about his business on June 26 when he was attacked in west Jackson by a group of teenagers.
If you want to see what happened, a surveillance video even captured the attack.
So the story goes, two carloads of white teenagers drove to Jackson, on what the Hinds County district attorney says was a mission of hate: to find and hurt a black person. Some of the teens say they were after beer.
Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, was standing in a parking lot, near his car.
The video shows him repeatedly beaten, and then one them floored the gas pedal on a large Ford F250 pickup truck and drove it over Anderson, killing him instantly.
An 18-year-old is under arrest, charged with his murder.
Some people are calling this a hate crime, a racially motivated murder.
The rest of the nation will say, “Oh, sure, that’s Mississippi. Stuff like that happens there all the time.”
No, it doesn’t.
We are proud of telling the rest of the world what an enlightened place Mississippi is – how we have more black elected officials than any other state in the country, that we’re all friends and have grown up together.
We are proud of progress in race relations in a place that was on fire, physically and emotionally, during the 1960s.
But something is wrong, someone has failed when a group of teenagers thinks it’s OK to go looking for anyone of any color or persuasion to attack, just for the fun of it.
Some fun.
Some horror.
Who are these people’s parents? Who are their teachers?
Did someone fail to explain to these young people that inflicting harm upon anyone else is deadly wrong?
You’d think this isn’t something you have to tell your child. Apparently, you do.
While this terrible story plays out across the world, with that video on the Internet, the rest of us should take this moment to consider whether we have reared children or influenced others to behave this way.
Many teenagers modify their urges to do something stupid with the mere reflection that consequences will be swift and deep at home. They learn to behave themselves because it matters to them that they grow up with good reputations.
What in the world happened that these Brandon youths cared so little for the consequences, and so little for another person’s life?
All of us should demand an answer.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column for the Daily Journal. Contact her at patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.