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:
May 31, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight for Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail