It may be sunny, it may be home to the Heat, and the beaches may be beautiful, but Florida is far from perfect.
In fact, it’s a shit show. Between guns, arrests, shootings, sinkholes, and crazy laws, the botched presidential election of 2000 (thanks to Florida) has nothing on the new Florida “fuckery” of 2013.
With all the WTF stories coming out of the state this year, we decided to round up a few to prove our point. And in the end, we’ve concluded — Florida is to us what Meg is to Family Guy.
Harsh? Maybe. But take a look at all that Florida had to offer us this year (fuckery placed in no particular order).
We can’t mention the great state of Florida without mentioning former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Between being acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin in Sanford, being pulled over numerous times post-acquittal for speeding, threatening both his estranged wife and current girlfriend with guns and getting arrested, it’s clear that Zimmerman is the wart on the butt of Florida. I guess it’s a good thing he’s moving out of the state. That should alleviate some of Florida’s woes.
While the rest of us were dealing with traditional natural disasters like hurricanes and snow storms (which by no means are positive), Florida was making everyone’s nightmare of being swallowed whole by the Earth a reality. In February, a sinkhole opened right underneath Jeff Bush’s bedroom. His body was never recovered. And in August, a 60-foot sinkhole opened beneath a Disney Resort (see above). Fortunately, everyone was evacuated in a timely manner. But sadly, these are just two of the cases of Florida’s common sinkhole issue. Makes you think twice about going to the swampy state.
Banning Natural Hair
In November, we learned about a 12-year-old girl facing expulsion for wearing her hair the way it naturally grows out of her head. Which to us was big and beautiful. But to the Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, it was a distraction. Vanessa VanDyke couldn’t understand why the administration at the Florida school singled her out for her mane, but when the internet got wind of what was going on, they fired back. Eventually, the expulsion threats were dropped, but we still have to pause and think of what message we’re sending little black girls when we tell them they can’t wear their natural texture of hair. Especially in the south, given its history.
Ku Klux Klan
There was no shortage of racist stories coming out of Florida this year. But in November, a Ku Klux Klan group from North Carolina traveled to Florida, perhaps to get away with the ridiculous stunt of passing out flyers promoting the hate organization in a predominantly black neighborhood. They later claimed they had no idea the neighborhood was black. But we’re going to go out on a limb and say they knew exactly what they were doing.
Stand Your Ground
Before discussing Florida’s obsession with the flawed “kill at will” law, we have to give it up to the parents of both Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin for fighting to get the law repealed, and the Dream Defenders for camping out in Jacksonville outside of the Governor’s office to get the law reformed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough this year. In the first move to change the legislation since the Dream Defenders took over the state house and demanded the repeal, the Florida House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice voted 12-1 in November to advance a bill that would expand the law by allowing someone to brandish or discharge their weapon “in defense of life, home, & property.” The committee also voted down the Democrat-backed measure to repeal the law entirely 11-2.
Man Runs Over Teen After She Refuses To Sleep With Him
What would the news be without a case of pervasive rape culture and violence against women (can you feel our sarcasm)? In September, Adrian Mendez approached a 14-year-old woman in his SUV and offered her $200 for sex. But when she refused, as she should have, he got mad. Like really mad. He pulled the young girl into the truck, strangled her until she lost consciousness, then threw her out. He then intentionally backed over the girl and sped forward, spinning the vehicle’s tires on the girl’s body. The girl was found on the side of the road and taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. And Mendez was eventually caught and charged with kidnapping and attempted murder.
Herpes Infected Monkeys
Leave it to Florida to be the scene of the real-life 1995 movie Outbreak. In September, authorities confirmed that there were hundreds of herpes-infected monkeys roaming the state. Wildlife officials said that three pairs of Rhesus monkeys were transported to a park near Ocala in the 1930s by tour operator Colonel Tooey, after a “Tarzan” flick sparked a fascination with the creature. State officials have caught more than 700 of the monkeys in the past decade — most of which tested positive for the herpes-B virus. But not to worry…yet. Most are confined to the small island near Silver River, where they were initially marooned. But some of the monkeys have learned to swim and have been spotted as far as Jacksonville.
Florida Officer Celebrates Trayvon Martin’s Death
Like we said…there was no shortage of racist bullshit coming out of Florida this year. But at least in one instance, the person spewing hate got what was coming to him. In August, a Daytona Beach police officer was fired after it was discovered he posted negative comments on his Facebook page regarding Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman’s acquittal. Todd Snipes wrote, “Another thug gone. Pull up your pants and be respectful. Bye bye thug r.i.p.” In turn, the police department wrote him off. And rightfully so.
Walking While Black
It’s legal to shoot an unarmed child in Florida, but if the news was any indication, it is totally not okay to walk the streets while black. Trayvon Martin aside, there were two cases that caught our attention this year. The first occurred in September after Bobby Wingate (pictured above) was reportedly punched in the face, Tasered, and arrested, all for “walking on the wrong side of the road.” Wingate was walking to an appointment along Oliver Street in the neighborhood of Arlington when a Jacksonville Police Officer pulled up and asked him to stop. And in November, we learned of Earl Sampson, a long-time employee at the 207 Quickstop convenience store in Miami, who has been arrested 56 times, stopped by police 258 times, and searched more than 100 times while walking to work. And yes, both of those stories are very true and very Florida.
White Man Shoots Black Man, Says He’s Only A N*gger
There’s subtle racism, and then there was this. In July, Walter Henry Butler was charged for shooting 32-year-old Everett Gant in the head, but once in custody he told cops – as if it would get him off – that he only shot a n*gger.” Gant was confronting Butler about making racist comments to his children in the apartment complex they both lived in. After shooting Gant, Butler proceeded to eat dinner as Gant lay bleeding outside his door. He was charged with attempted murder with a hate crime enhancement.
Brutal Bus Beating
In July, a disturbing video came to light of three 15-year-old boys brutally beating and kicking a 13-year-old on a school bus. The victim suffered two black eyes and a broken arm. The teens involved were charged and eventually sentenced to indefinite probation for their involvement.
Florida Man Shot By Police In Front Yard
In July, Roy Middleton was trying to retrieve a cigarette from his mother’s car in the driveway of his home, when deputies in Florida’s Escambia County shot at him, resulting in non-life threatening wounds that sent Middleton to the hospital. Middleton said he was bent over in the car searching the interior for a loose cigarette when he heard a voice order him to, “Get your hands where I can see them.” He said he initially thought it was a neighbor joking with him, but when he turned his head he saw deputies standing halfway down his driveway. He said he backed out of the vehicle with his hands raised, but when he turned to face the deputies, they immediately opened fire. “It was like a firing squad,” he said. “Bullets were flying everywhere.” The officer was placed on administrative leave and nothing more came of the case.
Florida Cops Choke Teen For “Dehumanizing Stare”
In May, Tremaine McMillian, a 14-year-old in Miami, was roughhousing with another teen in the water when he was approached by Miami-Dade Police officers and ordered to stop fighting. The police realized that no actual fighting was taking place, but officers still asked Tremaine to point out his mother to them. But when the teen tried to walk away, police say they sensed an imminent “threat” from Tremaine’s body language and because of his “dehumanizing stares,” the officers placed the teen in a chokehold. I guess it’s safe to say there was also no shortage of police brutality in Florida this year.
Pimp Forces Teen To Tattoo Name On Her Eyelids
Miami pimp Roman “Suave” Thomas III forced a 13-year-old girl he called “Sparkle” to get his name tattooed on one of her eyelids after she tried to run away from him. The 26-year-old was arrested in March along with 23-year-old Shanteria Sanders. Both allegedly “compelled and coerced” the teen to work for them by providing her with drugs.
Florida Teen Charged With Felony After Science Experiment Failed
And then this happened. Kiera Wilmington, a straight-A student, decided to mix household chemicals in a water bottle at school for her science experiment, causing a small explosion. But her good intentions didn’t get her a good grade. Instead, Florida police officers took her into custody, claiming she possessed a weapon on school grounds. She was charged with a felony, which was later dropped.
Woman Shoots Herself On Way To Gun Range
We know. Florida loves guns. But for a woman who drove to the gun range and ended up shooting herself instead of the target, that obsession may be done. But the irony? A woman was accidentally shot in the jaw while she drove to a gun range to practice. What kind of poetry is this, Florida?!
Woman Carjacked On 1st Date
In April, 21-year-old Nimeha Milien went on a date with 19-year-old Donald McGee, Jr. in Boynton Beach, but the date was less than romantic. After the two walked at the Ocean Inlet Park, McGee pulled out a .380-caliber Kel Tec handgun and demanded she get out of the car. He sped off, but was later apprehended after an eight mile chase.
Miami Cops Taser Teen To Death
In August, Miami police spotted Israel Hernandez Llach spray painting a shut-down McDonald’s. When the 18-year-old artist made a run for it, police used a stun gun to take him down. But they didn’t stop. Striking him in the chest, police stunned Llach until he was unconscious. The teenager died at the scene. The officer responsible for using the Taser was placed on administrative leave.
PHOTO CREDIT: Police Department, Getty, Screengrab