Terror in Antioch, Tennessee: A Politically Inconvenient Crime

While media talking heads and representatives of the NFL are busy prattling on about the “oppression” that blacks supposedly face on a daily basis in America 2017, there has scarcely been a peep about something that occurred just days ago in a little town in Tennessee called Antioch.

When Dylan Roof, a young white man, shot up black congregants in a South Carolina church a few years back, there was not only wall-to-wall media coverage, but politicians at the state and federal levels, including the President and then-Governor Nikki Haley, who were quick to weigh in. Because photographs emerged that revealed Roof with a Confederate flag, the latter became once again the focal point of national controversy, with Haley going so far as to remove it from the statehouse grounds where it had been.

Outrageously, even the family-friendly The Dukes of Hazzard, a program that aired on CBS when I was a child in the late 1970s and ‘80s, was pulled from syndication because it featured “the General Lee,” the lead characters’ car that was the centerpiece of the show.

In dramatic contrast, since a black Somalian immigrant entered a little, rural, predominantly white church in Antioch and shot seven people, killing one of them, we’ve heard nothing but virtual crickets.

On Sunday, September 24, at 11 am, Emanuel Kidega Samson, a 25 year-old Somalian immigrant, went on a shooting spree at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ as a service was about to end. Wearing a neoprene ski mask, Samson first confronted in the parking lot Melanie Crow Smith, a 38 year-old mother.

He shot and killed her.

Then, Samson drove to the rear of the church and proceeded to enter the building. Once inside, he began shooting “indiscriminately.” The 66 year-old minister shouted “Run!” to his congregants before he and his wife were gunned down.

There were 42 people inside the church. Most of them were “seniors.” This explains, as one member said, why they couldn’t heed the minister’s call and “make it out.”

By the time Samson’s rampage came to a close, and after he murdered Smith, six others were shot, three men and three women: William and Marlene Jenkins, 83 and 84, respectively; Linda Busch, 68; Katherine Dickerson, 64; David Joseph Spann, 66, and his wife Peggy, 65.

There was, though, another person that sustained an injury courtesy of Samson. Caleb Engle, a 22 year-old member of the church, attempted to fight Samson off. In the process, Samson pistol-whipped him in the head—and, thankfully, shot himself (non-fatally, unfortunately) in the chest. While the killer lay injured, Engle retrieved his own firearm from his car and detained Samson at gunpoint until the police arrived.

The police describe Engle as a hero.

A neighbor of the church who came to cover up the body of the murder-victim as it lay in the parking lot remarked: “He [Samson] shot her like she was a damn dog in his backyard.”

He added: “It’s just a lil’ country church. It’s just a sad day when people do something like that at a church.”


There was, though, another hero: A 10 year-old boy who, while in a separate room of the church, barricaded the doors, potentially saving more lives.

As of now, the victims who survived are hospitalized, with at least one of them, the minister, David Spann, in critical-stable condition.

As of Sunday, the police claimed to have been unaware of Samson’s motive. Samson had been a member of the church a couple of years earlier. Yet both the FBI and the Justice Department have launched a “hate-crime” investigation into the shooting. Presumably, the fact that the shooter is black and the congregation predominantly white served as a red-flag.

Before the shooting, among other remarks, Samson posted on Facebook: “You are more than what they told us.”

Who is “they”? Who is “us”? Does “they” refer to whites, and “us” refer to blacks? Somalia is a predominantly Muslim country. Is Samson a closet Muslim? Does “they” refer to Christians and “us” refer to Muslims? Is Samson a terrorist?

As of this juncture, it is anyone’s guess as to what this murderer meant by this cryptic message.

Encouraging, though, is that the night after the shooting, hundreds of people of various races descended upon the church parking lot to participate in a candlelight vigil. One of the speakers, a black minister who came all of the way from Brooklyn—Dimas Salaberrios—also made the trip to Charleston, SC when Dylan Roof went on his rampage.

Salaberrios said, “The devil tried to start a race war there [in Charleston] and I believe he is trying to start one here but he will not be victorious.”

The mayor of Nashville called for calm and unity.

It certainly does the heart good to hear of blacks joining whites in this show of solidarity against what seems to have been a racially-motivated attack. But that this event has received relatively little coverage serves as a painful reminder that the media continues to observe a racial double standard when it comes to its reporting and commentary on crime.

We needn’t even hypothesize as to what the coverage would’ve been had the racial roles of the attacker and his victims been reversed, for we witnessed it in Charleston.

The aggressor in this case is black, an immigrant, and an immigrant from one of those countries on President Trump’s travel ban. The victims were white Southern Christians. One couldn’t envision an event that more powerfully contradicts the media’s politically correct narrative.

And this is why the Fake News handlers are more interested in calling Trump a “racist” for critiquing the Kaepernickists of the NFL than talking about this heinous attack on a “lil’ country church” in little old Antioch, Tennessee.

Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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