Welcome to Florida: population of easily the strangest people on Earth. Don’t believe it? All you have to do is type in a search for “Why is Florida…” and Google fills it in for you – “so stupid”,”so hot”, “so weird”, “so crazy” – to name just a few. Newspapers even have an online tab for the crazy occurences that go on in this state, such as The Miami NewTimes, “WTF Florida,” and The Sun Sentinels, “Strange News” section. If you turn on any local news channel you’ll find behavior ranging from the hilariously stupid to the downright despicable.
For instance, in Boca Raton, Alberto Felipe bit a chunk out of his neighbor’s ear because he wouldn’t give him a cigarette (Janurary 2014). In Volusia County, Justin Hill was arrested for allegedly making meth in the bathroom of a local park (December 2014). In Monroe County, a Florida Keys man was nearly stabbed in his sleep and had his nipple bitten by his girlfriend after she got mad at an ill-timed blonde joke (July 2011).
The list of hilariously crazy behavior goes on for about 20+ Google pages. So what is it exactly that makes Florida one of the strangest, weirdest and craziest states in the country? Surely, it’s not because the state elected a governor well-known for committing Medicaid fraud felonies. It can’t possibly have anything to do with the inadequacy of the Florida school system nor can we blame that corrupt and ratchet thing we call the”legal justice” system.
If I sound super sarcastic it’s because I’m allowed to be. I’m originally from Orlando and I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, but I’m definitely no Florid-idiot. I’ve traveled all around the United States and even spent the past summer studying abroad in Europe. However, I’ve lived and visited just about every damn city in this state. I’ve spent summers working in Destin by the Florida Panhandle, played softball tournaments in Gainesville, attended school in Jacksonville and now, I live in Miami.
In 2007, the Florida Department of State reported that it had received and processed 5,504 new laws that year. In brief, there are three different levels of a law. At the local level, a law applies only to a certain county or district within a state. At the State level, a law applies only to those living in that state and the third level is at the federal level, which applies to everyone living in the United States. Add to that the laws, ordinances and rules passed by 67 Florida counties, and thousands of Florida towns and villages and you have an unfathomable number of laws to abide by.
In October 2008, Walsh Ian Nichols, 21, was arrested in Tampa for violating a state law that forbids wearing a mask on a public right of way, a statute written in the 1950s apparently aimed at the hooded Ku Klux Klan. In November 2008, a 13-year-old boy was arrested at Spectrum Junior-Senior High School in Stuart, after passing gas and turning off his classmate’s computers. According to the report, the boy “continually disrupted his classroom environment” by purposely breaking wind and was charged with disruption of school function after he confessed about his behavior. More recently and closer to home, two Pastors and a 90-year-old man were arrested and fined in Ft. Lauderdale for giving food to homeless people in a public park (Yes, you heard that correctly, it’s now illegal to feed the homeless in Ft. Lauderdale).
In April 2013, 16-year-old and straight-A student Kiera Wilmot was arrested after mixing common household chemicals together in a small water bottle for a science experiment on the school grounds of Bartow High School. The chemicals reacted, making a small explosion, and afterwards Wilmot was charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. She was immediately expelled from school, forced to complete here diploma through an expulsion program and tried as an adult.
For other stories related to ‘Murica, read Distraction’s latest issue, the “‘Murica” issue, on newsstands now.