5-year-old Cannon Hinnant's murder is a tragedy, but politicizing it is gross on every level

Every murder of an innocent person is tragic, but the cold-blooded killing of a child is too heinous to even think about. So when a man walks up to a 5-year-old riding his bike in broad daylight and shoots him in the head in front of his young sisters, it's completely reasonable that people would be horrified. It's an unthinkable and unforgivable act.

Cannon Hinnant didn't deserve to die like that. His parents didn't deserve to lose him like that. His sisters didn't deserve to be scarred for life like that. We can all agree that it's a horrible tragedy in every way.

His murderer—Hinnant's dad's next door neighbor, Darius Sessoms—deserved to be rounded up, arrested, and charged for the killing. And he was, within hours. He deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law, and history indicates that he assuredly will be. The system is working exactly as it's supposed to in this case. Nothing can be done to bring Cannon back, but justice is being served.

So why is #SayHisName trending with this story, when that hashtag has long been used in the movement for Black Lives? And why is #JusticeForCannon being shared when justice is already happening in this case? Why is #ChildrensLivesMatter a thing, when there's never been any question that that's the case?


The complaint stems from the claim that the media isn't covering this story because the murderer is a Black man and the victim was white. It doesn't "fit the narrative," according to these complaints. "If the races were reversed, we'd see nothing but this story on the national news," say people foaming at the mouth on Twitter as they point to public support for Black Lives Matter protests and ask why there isn't a similar outrage for this little boy.

First of all, the story is being covered by news outlets. It's a popular media attack tactic to say that the media isn't covering a story, when it takes a 30 second Google search to find that it's not true. National media outlets generally don't report on individual crime cases, so them not picking up an individual murder story immediately is the norm, not an exception. But it's certainly not being ignored.

Second of all, while every child's murder is undeniably tragic, it happens every day. Literally, an average of three children are murdered in the United States every single day. The vast majority of these crimes don't make headlines on the national news, because most of the time, the system works like it's supposed to. Families suffer terribly, but murderers are apprehended and convicted. Generally, individual murders—even of children—are considered local stories unless there's something in the story that pushes it into the national discourse. (For a BLM-related example, Ahmaud Arbery's murder didn't make national news when it happened, but rather months later when it came to light that the men who killed him hadn't even been arrested, much less charged or convicted.)

Third, the not-so-subtle racism in the hijacking of the #SayHisName hashtag is gross, as are the false equivalencies with the BLM movement. Cannon Hinnant was not killed by the police with impunity. He was not a victim of a justice system that disproportionately harms people with his skin color. His murderer is not walking free. BLM isn't just about Black people being murdered, otherwise the #SayHisName or #SayHerName hashtags would be used for every Black murder. It's about Black people being killed with impunity by agents of the state charged with protecting people, or murdered by others and justice not being served. There's not an ongoing justice issue with children being murdered in broad daylight and their murderers walking free.

When I see people complaining that Cannon Hinnant's murder isn't getting the same outrage or attention as Black Lives Matter, I see people who willfully don't get the issue, which has been explained ad nauseam. What exactly is the justice people are calling for in this case? For Cannon Hinnant's murderer to be apprehended? Already done. For him to be charged with murder? Also already done.

Stop conflating a heinous individual tragedy with the fight against systemic injustice. And stop using a child's gruesome murder to discredit or demean or deflect from a social justice movement. There is little doubt that justice will be done in Cannon Hinnant's case.

By all means, be outraged that this little boy was murdered, but direct that outrage at his murderer, not at the individuals and groups calling for justice to be equally applied to all. Say his name if it makes you feel better, but don't politicize his death to hijack the movement for racial justice. Call for justice in a case where justice is already happening if you must—even though it doesn't makes sense—but ask yourself if you've put that same energy into the systemic racial injustices that have long been documented in this country.

Cannon Hinnant's murder is a tragedy, no question. But using his death as a political talking point is a travesty. Just stop.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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