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American Thinker
American Thinker
9 Sep 2023
Jeffrey Folks


NextImg:Not a Time for Moral Vacuity

The number of murders in America has risen to "unprecedented numbers" under Biden's watch, and the Biden administration has no answer to the problem.  Even CNN and the New York Times have published the numbers, though refusing to admit that blacks and illegal aliens are a big part of the problem.  The liberal media prefer to look the other way and blame the problem on COVID or racial inequity.

The problem is not with COVID or inequity: it is with people who kill and who appear to enjoy killing.  Just this week, a young college student attending Texas Christian University was gunned down execution-style by a felon of mixed race who claimed he would have killed bystanders as well had he not run out of bullets.  It's an everyday story, but it doesn't make the national news.

On January 6, 2007, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, two white youths barely out of their teens, were kidnapped from their apartment in Knoxville, Tennessee; driven to a rental house not far away; and repeatedly raped, sodomized, and tortured, and finally killed by a group of four black men and one black woman.

Following her rape and torture, which included having her mouth and vagina washed out with Lysol while still alive, Channon Christian was left to suffocate slowly, her body wrapped in black plastic bags and stuffed in a garbage bin.  At trial, it was reported that Channon had not merely been raped, but raped "with an object"; severely beaten; tortured for hours, hemorrhaging at the head and groin; and, according to the medical examiner, suffering "extreme" sexual assault.

After being tortured, raped, and sodomized, Newsom was taken to a nearby railroad track, where he was forced to walk barefoot (one of his killers, Lemaricus Davidson, having taken his shoes), where he was shot in his neck, back, and point-blank in the head just above his right ear.  His body was then wrapped in a comforter and set alight.

The day after the murders, one of the perpetrators presented some of Channon's personal effects to his girlfriend and walked around in Christopher's stolen shoes.  Another, the woman who took part in the murder, torture, and rape, wrote in her journal: "I've had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE since I've been in the big T.N. ... I love the fun adventures and lessons I've learned."  I assume that the woman who wrote that, Vanessa Coleman, was referring to the abduction, rape, torture, and murder of the two young, innocent persons who fell into her grasp that night.  I assume that the other perpetrators had no more compassion or humanity than what Coleman expressed in her journal.  And I suspect that part of the reason for this brutality was because Christian and Newsom were white.

That was a topic that many persons connected with the trial, including the prosecutor, refused to consider.  Collectively, the perpetrators faced hundreds of separate charges, but they were never accused of a "hate crime."  Many, including Michelle Malkin, believed they should have been.

It is also true that these horrific crimes were never reported in the mainstream media or national news.  The story was largely suppressed because of it egregious racial elements and of the mainstream media's refusal to fairly report crimes of whatever magnitude if committed by blacks.

Had it been the opposite — a gang of whites kidnapping, raping, torturing, and killing two young blacks — the news coverage would have been enormous.  CNN and MSNBC would have featured the events in prime time.  Al Sharpton would have been in Knoxville in a heartbeat, leading public protests and sounding off for the media.  Hillary Clinton would have made her views known, and Obama would have campaigned in the shadow of the crimes.

As it was, almost nothing was said at the national level except on conservative websites.  Unlike George Floyd, who has become an iconic figure, especially for the left, the names of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom have been largely forgotten outside East Tennessee.  But what happened on January 6 and 7 was beyond horrific: it was the wanton abuse of two human beings as nothing more than objects, helpless and disposable, beaten senseless and brutally raped and sodomized before they were discarded as trash.

At the time of the murders, the most horrific in modern Knoxville history, I lived in the same suburban area where Channon Christian grew up.  Channon's high school was within walking distance of my home, and I attended many functions there while she was a student at the school.  I was also familiar with Christopher Newsom's suburban community, where I'd had medical treatment and spoken one Sunday at the local Methodist church. 

Channon and Christopher were middle-class kids, innocent of the ways of the world, trusting and unafraid.  As one of their killers chose to put it, they were "stupid."  At the time of their deaths, they were living in a small apartment in a section of Knoxville very different from those where they grew up: poor, and heavily black and Hispanic.  It probably never occurred to them that they were at risk, even late at night when they were leaving their apartment to visit friends and when they were kidnapped at gunpoint in their building's parking lot.

The Christian/Newsom murders were far more horrific than what happened to George Floyd, though his killing was wrong and recorded on video for all to see.  Channon and Christopher were tortured and raped through the night of January 6–7 in a small, run-down frame house, the events unnoticed by all — except perhaps a waste collection driver who saw lights on and activity at an unusual hour but failed to report it.

All of the perpetrators in these murders were convicted of multiple charges in state and federal courts, and all are still serving long prison sentences (one on death row).

There are people who are evil beyond redemption.  Evil is real and must be met with force, but our society is increasingly incapable of recognizing evil and of responding as it should.  It seems incapable of making clear moral distinctions and hesitant about acting on them.  Even in the most terrible conditions, progressives would rather bury their heads in the sand and pretend nothing happened.

Millions of Americans live in fear, and millions are harmed as a result of lax policing and prosecution — and lax border enforcement — and by progressives' refusal to face this issue of violence, in part because much of it emanates from minority communities.  The time for moral vacuity is over.  Only strict enforcement of the law and severe punishment will restore order in America.

God have mercy on the souls of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, and on their families.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).