Our country's national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.
- Ida. B Wells
Throughout our nation's history, bigotry against black Americans, the dreaded Other, has always been enforced through a number of means. Whenever institutional, state-sanctioned methods of bigotry and discrimination failed to achieve the desired results, it was left to the white mobs to enforce bigotry through violence. Time and time again, seemingly decent, God-fearing American men and women would transform themselves into a hateful, virulent force bent on protecting the ideals of white supremacy by violently and publicly destroying a few black bodies, regardless of innocence or guilt and with the quiet sanction of law enforcement seemingly rendered impotent in the face of a spontaneous and unruly force.
Mob-led lynchings were the preferred means of educating the black populace on where they lay on the societal totem pole through terror and violence. After all, there's nothing scarier than seeing dozens of angry white faces drag off a single black soul in the middle of the night in preparation for a public, hands-on exhibit on the dangers of being an affront to whitekind, for whatever reason.
These days, the hands-on lynching of old has fallen along the wayside in favor of more high-tech means. Nevertheless, there are those out there who still believe that the old ways are still best.
Nathan Ener's rant against the New Black Panther Party, the Black Lives Matter movement and those he sees as "black thugs" comes in the aftermath of the unfortunate death of Texas sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth and his killer, Shannon Miles, being found incompetent to stand trial for his murder. At this point, a white mob would have gladly stepped in to deliver the sort of "justice" they thought was denied to them and the rest of whitekind, but you'd have to get them fired up about it first. And that's where the above rant comes into play.
Stirring up deep-set indignation and fear over the dreaded Other running roughshod over God-fearing white men, women and children has always been part of the recipe for inciting white mob violence. The death of a white person (or at least rumors of white deaths) serves as its explosive catalyst. Had this event happened in 1915 instead of 2015, it's very likely that Shannon Miles' corpse, shredded from head-to-toe, would be hanging from some forlorn oak somewhere as a shining symbol of mob-delivered justice - and as a warning to any black American who'd even harbor thoughts about harming the hair on a white person's head.
It's not beyond the pale to wonder if, given the right circumstances, someone like Nathan Ener would gladly lead the way.
Yours truly would have written off Ener as your typical bigot, something of which East Texas has in spades, if it weren't for a rather disturbing link to another case where a young black man by the name of Alfred Wright was found murdered. According to authorities, Wright died of a drug overdose shortly after a deal involving 28-year-old Shane Hadnot. But it was the manner in which he was found dead that brought a great deal of suspicion:
Wright's body was disfigured when he was found Nov. 25, 2013, which led his family to suspect foul play.
His sister Annilia Wright-Mosley said her brother's tongue was cut out, eyes gouged out, throat slit and ear cut off. He was also missing teeth and fingernails, which are signs of violence and torture, she said.
Wright's family believes Alfred was tortured and brutally murdered and has called Hadnot a "scapegoat" in the case.
The authorities wrote off those allegations by citing how the damages were likely caused by scavenging animals.
So what's Nathan Ener's link to all of this? Here's Ener squaring off with black rights activist and New Black Panther Party leader Quanell X.
“I know why you’re upset. You’re upset because of Ashley,” Quanell X taunted Ener as they met in the street. “’Cause your daughter likes black coffee, no sugar no cream. That’s why you’re upset. It’s eating you up, ain’t it? That she likes a black man?”
Ener called to a white man on the sidewalk.
“Ben, does any of my people—any of my family like black folks?”
“Not that I know of.”
Quanell X goaded Ener: “Ashley does! Ashley does! Now let me tell you something, peckerwood. I will whup your ass. I’m that one.” He peeled off his suit jacket, stepped up inches from Ener’s face, and the two jawed to the crowd’s amusement. A line of uniformed troopers filed out of the county building and led Ener away.
It's likely that not only was Nathan Ener's own daughter might have been romantically involved with Wright, but also that her father told her he knew what really happened to him:
The plot thickens.
Wright may have also been romantically involved with Cindy Maddox, daughter of Sheriff Tom Maddox. The same guy who complained bitterly that he was missing out on a good day's hunt by searching for Wright.
Now you'd have to wonder if this was what Alfred Wright was really murdered for. In many unspoken parts of the nation, consorting with white women is the highest unspeakable offense for a black man to commit. In some cases, it could lead directly to his death.
You also have to wonder if Nathan Ener had anything to do with Wright's death. Town gossip being what it is, it's likely that some tightly-held secrets are bound to come spilling out at some point.
A mob is a great way for an evil to be committed without any of that pesky responsibility or guilt assigned to you. But it doesn't take a mob to commit evil. Sometimes, it only takes one or two individuals to get the job done.