Eliza Fletcher, the 34-year-old wife and mother of two young children in Memphis, Tenn., who was murdered while on an early morning run last week, will be laid to rest on Saturday following her funeral at the Second Presbyterian Church.
This is the same church where Eliza met and married her husband, Richie.
Cleotha Abston, who had been previously imprisoned for twenty-years for another abduction, has been charged with her murder.
The heartbreaking tragedy made headline news for days both here and around the world. Even in a broken and depraved culture, the details surrounding Mrs. Fletcher’s abduction and killing still take your breath away.
Has America deteriorated to a point where a woman can no longer step outside her home and run when or where she wants? Some may suggest that sad moment already came too long ago – especially in some of our especially crime-ridden cities.
Much was made about Eliza’s early morning regimen and routine, with some even suggesting she shouldn’t have been running alone. But how early is too early? Busy parents juggle workouts and work all the time, and when you’re training for the Boston Marathon, like Eliza was doing, you run when you can.
Rage roils and rises inside us when we think of what happened. We may think of our own spouse or daughter or granddaughter. We remember what it was like a generation ago, and we lament the loss of that seeming safety and security. It shouldn’t be this way.
This story isn’t about politics or party – it’s about wanting to protect the people we love. But it does connect back to the values we champion and the causes we passionately pursue.
Conservatives are often mocked and maligned for moralizing and advocating for unrealistic and even puritanical ideals. But what we’re really fighting and advocating for is a country where a woman (or a man) can run alone fear free at any hour of any day – anywhere.
America has become a more violent and dangerous place for many reasons – but especially because more homes and families are more broken than they’ve ever been. Let’s face the facts. Most murderers and rapists don’t come from happy families. Studies show rapists often feel worthless, suffer from low self-esteem, are loners (both physically and mentally) and were sexually abused when they were young.
Social conservatives are also lampooned for warning against the dangers of pornography. Is it because we want to control, censor and limit free speech? No. It’s because pornography literally destroys the mind (and heart) and puts wicked and evil ideas inside the minds of (mostly) men.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson, who served on the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the 1980’s, used to say that if you went into the home of any serial killer and rapist, you’re going to find pornography. It has a warping effect.
“A single exposure to [pornography] by some thirteen to fifteen-year-olds is all that is required to create an addiction that will hold them in bondage for a lifetime,” Dr. Dobson noted. “It is more addictive than cocaine or heroin.”
Conservatives are criticized for opposing the legalization of drugs, especially recreational marijuana, which is a gateway drug to other deadly substances like fentanyl. But drug addictions lead to instability, violence and desperation. Why would anyone want to foist that upon society?
Many on the Left think those on the Right are hungry for power for power’s sake. In fact, most simply want to enact policies that will lead to happier homes – which in turn lead to safer neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods where people like Eliza Fletcher can safely run whenever they want.
“She truly walked and modeled the Christian life and trusted in her unwavering faith,” Fletcher’s family wrote this week. “Liza was a light to all who knew her. Her contagious smile and laughter could brighten any room. Liza was pure of heart and innocent in ways that made her see the very best in everyone she met. To know her was to love her and to be loved by her.”
Eliza has found her rest with the Lord, but as believers, we cannot and must not grow weary while advocating for policies that will strengthen families and produce healthy children and adults destined to help and not harm. In the meantime, our hearts break for this family and we call on Him to bring comfort where there is sorrow and grief.