Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee may both be from Hope, but to the south lies the town of Friendship, not far from where a cross was burned last week in the yard of a mother of biracial children. A week later, her house burned to the ground. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Jacob Wingo, 19, is charged with terroristic threatening and aggravated assault, jailers said. Hot Spring County Chief Deputy Richard Tolleson said there could be other suspects in the reported cross burning and it was still under investigation. Tolleson, who refused to release Wingo’s arrest report, also asked that Wingo’s name not be printed as “a courtesy.” Wingo was questioned Friday about the house fire. “He was first,” said detective Barbi Koder with the Hot Spring County sheriff’s office. Yvette Briggs, Wingo’s mother, vehemently defended her son, saying he turned himself in to authorities earlier and “told the truth.” “It was all a joke,” she said about the cross. “He’s got mixed friends. He’s got black friends — he does not hate people. If he knew it was considered a hate crime, he would never have done anything like that.” She said he couldn’t have been involved in the house fire because he was with his father after bonding out of jail.
I can’t find any reports from last week of the cross burning. Maybe it never made it to the papers. If so, I’m very disappointed in the local and state press. I’d hate to think that this sort of thing happens and is kept under wraps. Also, I find it really odd that the paper tells you the kid’s name and then tells you that the chief deputy asked the paper not to print the kid’s name. And I find it amusing that the kid’s mom said it was “all a joke.” Because, really, what’s funnier in Arkansas that a good old fashioned cross burning?