Jackson, Mississippi is 90 percent black. It’s the capital city of the great state of Mississippi. It hasn’t had a movie theater operating in the city for 19 years. [Jackson without movie theater years after last one closed: Theaters face competition from Redbox, Netflix, WAPT.com, November 2, 2017]
If Wakanda were real, it should exist in this 90 percent black city dominated by black elected – and appointed – officials in every branch of government and throughout the bureaucracy, right?
But western civilization is barely alive in the city, the only reminder it once existed in Jackson found in the abandoned buildings and infrastructure whites long ago built and left behind once the last vestiges of the universally maligned Jim Crow disappeared.
But the post-Jim Crow world of now 90 percent black Jackson, devoid of a movie theater for going on 19 years, seems to prove virtually every long held stereotype of blacks in America… doesn’t it?
Enter Charles Ponthieux, a 52-year-old white man who managed Top Dollar Pawn in 90 percent black Jackson. On his way home from work, he was murdered on Feb. 22 by two black males. Six months later, there are no leads, but the violence in 90 percent black Jackson, MS is only getting worse. [Her dad was killed in Jackson. She’s scared his case will be buried by rising homicides, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, July 22, 2019]:
The sun had set by the time the manager of Jackson’s Top Dollar Pawn closed up shop on Feb. 22.
Like he did every day, 52-year-old Charles Ponthieux called his wife of 33 years to let her know he was leaving work. Instead of going directly home in Madison, he was looking forward to meeting his family at a grocery store that day.
His young granddaughter wanted him to be there for a special moment — when she exchanged the coins she had spent months collecting into bills for a Disney World trip.
“He was her best friend,” said Emilie McEachern, Ponthieux’s middle daughter and the child’s aunt.
Ponthieux never got to the store.
Ponthieux’s death is one of 54 homicides Jackson Police Department detectives have investigated in the first six months of 2019, which has been shaping up to be one of the bloodiest years Mississippi’s capital city has seen.
The pawn shop manager’s family wonders whether the mounting homicide rate is stretching investigators thin and preventing more resources from being focused on solving his case.
Meanwhile, plans for the Real Time Crime Center, which city officials pitched as a game-changing crime fighting tool, are at a standstill as Jackson searches for funding.
Originally, Jackson’s mayor announced in January that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant had pledged millions of dollars to support the new program.
But Jackson Police Chief James Davis told the Clarion Ledger on Wednesday that Jackson did not receive any funding from the state. The city is looking to other sources for the estimated $3 million to $5 million startup cost for the Real Time Crime Center, where law enforcement could monitor a network of cameras that watch the city.
‘We are living in a nightmare’
Ponthieux’s trip from the pawn shop to the grocery store was abruptly cut short by a crash at the intersection of Hanging Moss Road and Forest Avenue.
There, two men in an ATV had run a red light. Ponthieux’s pickup truck crashed into them. Ponthieux got out to see if the two men on the ATV were OK, McEachern said. Then he picked up his phone to call police.
The other men started arguing with Ponthieux because they didn’t want to involve the authorities, she was later told. When the pawn shop manager turned his back on them, one or both opened fire on him.
The men fled. Five months later, the family still doesn’t know who the killers are.
“My dad is a good person. He didn’t deserve to be shot and die in the middle of the street,” McEachern said. “He was a family man. He never bothered anybody. He was kind to everybody.”
A spokesman for the Jackson Police Department told the Clarion Ledger there are no updates in the investigation into Ponthieux’s killing.
The victim’s family is frustrated by the lack of progress.
McEachern took to social media to voice her concerns on July 6.
“We can’t stand by and be patient any more, McEachern wrote in her Facebook post, which has been shared about 6,500 times. “We are living in a nightmare where murderers go free, the community is afraid to speak, and innocent people are gunned down in the street.”
Ponthieux was to his family what an engine is to a car, his daughter told the Clarion Ledger.
Ponthieux was always there for McEachern and her siblings to offer life advice, resolve conflicts and tell a joke, she said.
“We all joked we called him 1,000 times a day. We didn’t know how he got work done because were we always calling him,” McEachern said. “….He was the life of the party. He was so funny and so compassionate and so caring.”
She begged for anyone with information about the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 601-355-8477. There’s a reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.
She said a JPD representative recently called her family to assure them the case would not go cold and they would get justice for Ponthieux. Other than that, McEachern said communication from police has been almost nonexistent.
“Every time you turn on the news, there’s another person murdered and that’s terrible,” McEachern said. “…It just feels like my dad’s case is getting buried under the fact that so much violence happens in Jackson.”
Do you need to be reminded Jackson, MS, the 90 percent black capital city of the state, has had a movie theater operating within city limits for 19 years?
Rest in peace, Charles Ponthieux. May your family find some peace.
And reminder: Wakanda isn’t real. The quality of life – and perilous state of western civilization – found in Jackson, Mississippi is proof of this.