As has been reported, currently, the Sunshine State stands as the most popular relocation destination for residents migrating within the lower 48. Ours is a state where off-kilter behavior hits the news with such regularity that “Florida Man” is not only an instantly recognized cultural item, but anytime I become hit with this label, I cannot defend it nor be offended. It is a reality — one residents here accept with less than a shrug.
On my last appearance on the Redstate VIP Gold Chat, the topic of zombies came up, and Duke asked if residents here were nervous about it. That was when I had to calmly remind the guys it was in my region that the infamous bath salts face-eating incident took place. Like I said — you need to reach a level of acceptance to truly become a resident.
Now, new arrivals might wonder just what it is that elevates things (er, lowers things is probably more accurate) to “Florida Man” levels, and I think I can explain it in two ways; one is the deeply unique aspect of stories — such as the guy having a fast food dispute and tossing an alligator at employees. The other factor that makes Florida news items truly unique is the layers within them. A number of such incidents took place recently to illustrate the character found here in America’s psych ward waiting room.
The first I found while researching others, and involves a car colliding with a home in Lakeland. This itself is not unique, as this is the kind of story that occurs on occasion throughout the country. But in this instance, things get elevated by the car driving through the home.
Down here Florida Man does not just collide with a home – he drives THROUGH the home. https://t.co/gWz5DoK69t pic.twitter.com/KBY3rGeY98
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) September 17, 2023
And then, as if Florida Man has not put his trademark on things enough, at 2:00 am, 22-year-old Jared Seymore fled the scene, managing to perform a hit-and-run — with a house.
When the police caught up to Jared, he confessed he was the cul-de-sac commuter, as if there was a mystery, with a sofa cushion and TV remote lodged in his front grille. See? A layered news event. And this is the calmest one of the lot. For you new arrivals, this next item should acclimate you to the kind of neighbor you may have just moved in next to in your subdivision.
Jesse Charles got it in his head to engage in an activity that is not uncommon with recidivist types – he would steal a vehicle and go on a joyride. But this is Florida, and you need to put your stamp on your activities, so no conventional conveyance would do – the 47-year-old Charles went big. He went to a Husqvarna rental lot and hot-wired an excavator. It may have taken him a bit to get acclimated with the controls, as he trashed a few of the buildings on the property, but soon enough, he got the feel for his new ride and crashed the front gate.
After taking out his share of streetlights and other neighborhood items like fences and mailboxes, he did the next logical thing and paid a visit to the local Wal-Mart. Perhaps inspired by the home renovation in Lakeland, Jesse did not park his earth mover but proceeded to plow into the store with his new ride. But, unlike Seymore, he did not flee the scene; instead, as any normal Floridian has on such ventures, he grabbed his machete and stormed into the store. (See what I mean? Layers!) By the end of it all, Jesse’s tour of the Gainesville area came to a total of $2 million in damages.
Florida man stole excavator, drove it through Walmart, police say https://t.co/pvnOAL81uj
— Josh Mankiewicz (@JoshMankiewicz) September 15, 2023
But to really put you in mind what to expect while in your new home state, let us go to my region of South Florida. In Miami, police arrested a naked woman swimming in Biscayne Bay, but this was far more than a case of lurid public sunbathing. It began with Natalina Marina and her sister strolling the Baywalk area one morning with her sister’s three-year-old, where they were enjoying the placid scenery and engaging in the activity of busting the municipal streetlights in the area. Some people go for their morning run; others proactively fight the CO2 emissions of a city by reducing the lumens consumption in public areas.
After rendering over a dozen floodlights, the police arrived, and Natilina decided to flee – by tossing her nephew in the bay and stripping naked to swim to a nearby island. Again, our special brand of layered mayhem is on display. Marine Patrol eventually caught up and plucked both from the water (the kid was in good condition.) The capper on this already distinctly Florida Woman story should serve as an object lesson to all of you settling in with your new home here in paradise.
While maybe not quite as stirring as a $2 million joyride, to fully grasp the nature of the populace down here, our unique character shines through when you see how the authorities assessed the condition of the latest individual checking in at The Grey Bar Resort. According to the police captain who spoke to the press:
“She was evaluated. And I guess the determination was that she was in a normal state of mind, that she was OK to face charges.”
There you have it. In most areas of this country (world), two women on an early morning vandalizing spree leading to a naked escape plan with a toddler, where one tries evading police by throwing her sopping clothes at the arresting officers, would be cause for alarm. It would be understandable if this would lead to community gatherings where citizens convene to address this sociopathic anomaly they just experienced and take steps to prevent any further incidents of this nature.
In Florida, this is regarded as “a normal state of mind.” The curiosity — from the perspective of this longtime resident — is that the words “normal” and “state” do not often collide within the same sentence in regard to Florida.