FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Only in the Sunshine State

by LAURA FINLEY

Last time I wrote about things that trouble me in my current home state of Florida, I received some pretty nasty responses. One person emailed that my criticism of some of the laws in the state was an affront to those who have served the U.S in foreign wars (I still don’t see how, but never mind) and strongly suggested that I move to Russia or Saudi Arabia. But, eight years after my arrival, I am still here, and at the risk of receiving even more hateful responses, I am again compelled to offer a criticism of some of Florida’s latest dandies.

First, there is the state judiciary’s ridiculous conversation about whether to allow a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for medical purposes on the state’s November ballot. Although the proposed legislation names only nine diseases for which doctors could prescribe pot, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston, writing for the minority in the court’s 4-3 decision, expressed the absurdity that, because a section of the proposal offers immunity for prescribing doctors,  “a physician, in his misguided ‘professional opinion,’ could believe that the benefits of marijuana for a teething toddler would likely outweigh the risks, and, therefore, recommend that the toddler use marijuana three times a day for six months until the teething subsided.” Indeed. Maybe we’ll see pot poultice prescribed for diaper rash as well.

Next we have Florida’s latest case of vigilantism, where the movie-theater texting of a man to his young daughter so outraged a 71-year-old former cop that he left the theater, retrieved his gun, and shot and killed the 43-year old and wounded his wife.  Although some have responded to the assailant with condemnation, others in the state that the NRA built have offered their support. Because why should we act with restraint when encountered with a minor annoyance? Better to go all in, regardless of the consequences. Why wait until Florida makes texting in a theater a capital offense? Summary execution works for the NRA.

Although Florida is not the only state to allow guns on campuses, colleges and universities responded swiftly to a state court decision that overturned a University of North Florida ban on weapons in cars. Within days, Broward College announced it will now allow people to pack heat in their vehicles, and Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College, and Florida International University officials say they are planning to do so as well. In true Florida fashion, it doesn’t look like it will stop here, as legislation has already been filed by Florida Carry, a gun-rights group, to allow students to keep guns in their dorms. Students and faculty: Start wearing your Kevlar to class.

I know I am not the only person troubled by the notion that people will have easier access to weapons on campus.  Studies have generally found that a number of initiatives can make a campus safer, but arming its populace is typically not among them.

In another example of why Florida is called the Gunshine State, the Miami Herald reported just days ago that a snowbirder living in Big Pine Key has installed a gun range in the back of his home. It seems that state law allows him to do so, as the Republican-led, NRA-loving Florida Legislature in 2011 forbade cities from enforcing their own gun regulations or adding new gun-related legislation. Guess I’ll wear that Kevlar at home as well, in case my neighbors want to begin target shooting too.

Not two months ago, Florida also had this winner:  A man actually tried to trade a live four-foot alligator for a 12-pack of beer. I kid you not. But he did keep the gator in good shape, officials report, so there’s that.

In breaking news, the state is seeing its second Zombie attack, as it is being reported as I write that a naked man died late on Tuesday February 4 after he assaulted a retired police officer, bit another man on the face, and was shot by Palm Beach county deputies.  Only in Florida.

At least Justin Bieber has not been arrested in the state in the last week.  We have to take our wins where we can get them.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology. Her column is syndicated by Peace Voice.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail