The case of Eliza Fletcher gripped America for much of the past week. On Monday, authorities revealed that the worst had indeed happened: Fletcher’s body was found behind a vacant house in Memphis, Tennessee, where she had been abducted at 4:30 a.m. on Friday.
The suspect, 38-year-old Cleotha Abston, had spent more than half of his life in prison: When he was 16 in 2000, he abducted a lawyer at gunpoint and drove the man around to different ATMs demanding he withdraw money, according to Fox News. He served almost 20 years of a 24-year sentence before being released in 2020. In addition, he committed rape at the age of 14, Fox reported.
However, as Tucker Carlson noted on Tuesday’s show, Fletcher’s killing — as horrifying as it may be — is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the most serious problem: The fact Memphis, like so many other U.S. cities, is a crime-ridden cesspool.
“In 2021, according to federal statistics, Memphis, Tennessee, was the most dangerous city in the United States,” Carlson noted.
“Last year, it recorded a total of 342 murders. Now, how many is that? Well, by comparison, San Antonio, Texas, which has more than twice the population, recorded fewer than half as many murders. So, by any measure at all, Memphis was absolutely falling apart, but Eliza Fletcher decided to make a life there anyway.”
She moved back to Memphis after college and married a man who’d grown up in the city; she had two children. She taught pre-kindergarten. She was the kind of pillar of the community you’d love to live next door to.
Her alleged killer was anything but.
“Meanwhile, in Memphis, seven miles across the city, lived a man called Cleotha Abston … Cleotha Abston was a predator. He was an evil man,” Carlson said.
“At a young age, Abston was arrested for, among many, many other things, stealing, aggravated assault weapons charges, carjacking and rape. In 2000, he was convicted of kidnapping a local attorney at gunpoint downtown and forcing him into the trunk of his own car. Crimes like that are now common in Memphis. Last year, the city reported more than 100 kidnappings, but like most lifelong criminals, Cleotha Abston was never fully punished for what he did.
“He was released years before the end of his prison sentence. Nor was he in any way sense reformed by his experience behind bars,” Carlson continued. “Abston was well known in his apartment complex as of last week for his sexual aggression and his perversity. He terrified his neighbors, but no one from any part of the justice system seems to have intervened.”
Carlson then gave a harrowing summary of what police now say happened to Fletcher.
“As her husband and two young children slept at home, Eliza Fletcher went for an early morning run through her neighborhood. Cleotha Abston followed her, stalking her every move from a black SUV,” he said.
“According to the indictment, as Fletcher jogged by, Abston leapt out, beat her bloody, smashed her cell phone, then dragged her into his vehicle. Within an hour, Eliza Fletcher was dead. She’d been sexually assaulted and murdered.
“Police arrested Abston soon after based on surveillance video, but he refused to say what had happened to Eliza Fletcher, so her family waited in agony, but he didn’t care. He never spoke.”
(Note: It’s important to point out here that, regardless of what Carlson said about Fletcher being sexually assaulted, the charges against Abston, so far at least, make no mention of that. According to Fox News, Abston was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, premeditated murder, and murder in perpetration of kidnapping. He had already been charged with kidnapping and tampering with evidence, Fox reported.)
Investigators eventually found her body, which had “been thrown like garbage behind an abandoned building in a seedy part of town,” Carlson said.
Carlson said that, as soon as Fletcher’s case hit the headlines, there was a hue and cry about the media paying too much attention “to the kidnapping of an attractive, privileged white woman.”
But there was another question that, as Carlson noted, everyone was asking, too. “Why was she jogging at that hour, anyway? In Memphis? Come on.”
“The point they’re making was clear: Everyone knows the rules. Eliza Fletcher violated those rules. You can’t go outside in certain hours in certain places in America, obviously, and if you do, if you violate the rules, you run the risk of being raped and murdered. That’s how things work in this country. So, adapt. Accept it. Move on.”
This is what America has become, Carlson said. We accept the fact that Memphis and so many other cities are cesspools of crime. The law-abiding are expected to follow the rules and be held hostage to the brigands, or to leave. When they leave, of course, it’s branded as “white flight” — no matter what color those fleeing may happen to be.
“Cities like Memphis or Baltimore or Detroit or Montgomery or Gary, Indiana, or Wilmington, Delaware, or a dozen dozen other formerly prosperous, orderly, little cities across the country were destroyed forever by the rioting that accompanied our last progressive social revolution more than 50 years ago,” Carlson said.
“Politicized criminals started breaking things, torching buildings, stealing and immediately anyone with a decent job just left. They pulled their kids out of school, sold the house or not, didn’t matter, and they split for somewhere else and mostly they have never come back. That is true not simply in Memphis, but in places all over the country.
“So, it seems a little weird to a lot of people when someone like Eliza Fletcher, someone who could live anywhere, voluntarily moves back to a place like Memphis, not to some suburb of Memphis, but to the city of Memphis,” Carlson continued.
“That seems weird to people. But it’s not weird. It’s not odd at all when you think about it. Eliza Fletcher was from Memphis. She grew up there, and she had a right to come back. This was her country, too, just as it’s your country too.”
Remember that, in 2020, this is what the Democrats signed us on for — lawlessness of the worst sort. Mind you, it had been building up for years, with progressive district attorneys not prosecuting certain classes of crimes and bail reform not keeping those who allegedly committed them behind bars, anyway.
Just like 50 years ago, cities burned thanks to those “politicized criminals.” Everyone who could afford real estate outside the city moved there. Now, those left behind are dealing with the soaring crime rates that pandemic-era politics unleashed on the country.
We don’t have to accept it. We shouldn’t. We can’t. Otherwise, we’ll be a nation where everyone is at risk of being an Eliza Fletcher.
“The good people who lived in Memphis a century ago would never believe what has happened to the city they built,” Carlson concluded.
“They would weep if they saw it. That will be the experience of every American before long. Our entire country will be Memphis if we don’t put a stop to this insanity right now with as much force as is required.”
If we don’t, we have only ourselves to blame.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.