Memphis is dying rapidly, and it never had to happen! Written by Jeff Fioranelli
Local & National News | July 26, 2023
Many have expressed exhaustion at my meme, as I have been posting it at every opportunity. And trust me, it’s several times per day. Dare I admit, I post it ad nauseam.

And here we are with the latest murder of a kind, upstanding citizen, caregiver, and all-around great human being. Here we are with a status quo that is running many of my friends and family out of Memphis at a rapid pace. And when I ask, “When is enough… enough?” Another line is drawn in this cesspool that was once the city I loved. It is ponderous, and enraging that Memphis has come to this. We are in entropy.

We need a sea change in leadership, and quick. We need pragmatic leadership to deal with an emergency. We need to stop funding Liberty Parks, and soccer stadiums, and remodels of the riverfront, and start funding protection of taxpayers and visitors alike. I mean, before BOTH just disappear.

And yes, I am well aware that it’s primarily state and federal funds being provided for these boondoggles. But it doesn’t change what they are and that our tax dollars are being tossed down wells. These projects are lipstick on a pig, funded by you and me, ostensibly against our will.

Here’s the hard truth. MPD just announced that they would stop routine traffic stops. Seriously? Unbelievable. Instead of doing away with zero tolerance policing as the current police chief has chosen? We need to RESUME it. It clearly worked for the mayor and citizens of a broken New York in the nineties. We do not need tolerance. We need ZERO tolerance.

So, to do this we obviously need more, and well-compensated law enforcement. We need law enforcement of high character (knowing so many in my lifetime I can tell you that clearly those involved in the heinous murder of an innocent man were exceptions to the rule).

And we need to let them perform their duties in the professional manner required, as most do now. They need to be uncuffed. They need to be respected, unless or until proof that they don’t.

(There can be little doubt that those who murdered Tyre Nichols were officers who were also gang bangers involved in a personal matter. I fully acknowledge that they were bad hires not worthy of the badge). 

And, again, they need a wage and benefits commensurate with the risk, and dangerof the job. They are vastly under compensated at the current level.

And for chrissakes, no officer should EVER be on patrol without a partner. One could ask Officer Sean Bolton, but then, that is precisely what got him murdered. And that blood is on the hands of Mayor Wharton, the then city council, and the police director at the time. But I digress. 

Next, we address the elephant in the room. THAT is the pervasive culture of evil that continues to plague us when fathers don’t raise their children and gang lords DO. Gangs ARE family to these children committing these heinous crimes. This trend is not reversible unless…

There is no turning this ship unless my next suggestion would come to fruition. But it never will, because it would never get legs in todays climate of apologists leading cities all across the nation. The revolving doors for both youth and adult criminals exists here merely due to a lack of available beds. So…

Memphis needs two new 1000 room “hotels” with bars on the windows, locks on the doors, and fences surrounding. One we need for adults, and the other for juveniles (who should ONLY and ALWAYS be charged as ADULTS, going forward, for acts of violent crime). These juveniles would be housed in the separate, but equal prison to protect them from themselves, and to protect innocent citizens from THEM. We let criminals walk free because we don’t have beds for them? Seriously? THAT, is criminal.

Just the THREAT of constructing a prison for “children” would turn the tide on the behavior of these young criminals. Bring back “Tall Trees” on a far bigger scale and watch how quickly these juveniles will change their paths. It is far easier to do the bidding of one's gang family when taught that good is evil, evil is good, and there are zero consequences for one’s actions. 

Lastly, the city will require pragmatic, results-driven leadership. It will require a complete overhaul of the juvenile INjustice system currently in place, as well. The current laws were just not meant for these times, in Memphis and Shelby County. These “children” are not the ones with which I grew up. 

It will also require funding, regardless of where that comes from. What is more valuable to us? A soccer stadium? Liberty Park? A redone Tom Lee Park? A fifty-million-dollar Beale Street Landing building built for a restaurant space, but without a gas line? 

And don’t even talk about these public-private partnerships. Good grief. I would argue that NONE of these wastes have any shot at unsubsidized success without the city first providing public safety first and foremost.

The ever-declining tax base tells the story. The declining population tells the story. The news tells the story. And as a lifelong Memphian, I know the story all too well. 

I am no longer optimistic about Memphis. As a nearly fifty-five-year-old Memphian and a thirty-year business owner, I have witnessed her rapid, sad, violent decline. As a friend of the Grauer family since childhood, and as an acquaintance of Eliza Fletcher, and knowing so many more I have lost to crime in Memphis? How can I be such? 

One can hope the tumor is benign. One can hope his team wins the game. One can hope his flight is on time. But HOPE in regard to the survival of a city already over a moral cliff is a futile endeavor. Any discussion of the future of Memphis should not include the word.

For this topic? HOPE is a very dangerous drug. Hope stifles action. Hope is highly addictive. Lastly, hope comes at zero cost, except for the possibility of a positive outcome for Memphis. We need pragmatism. We need to make difficult choices…uncomfortable choices. We need realists, not idealists. And we need action… 

… yesterday.


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