"Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?"When reading a "News of the Weird" site, it has been noticed that Florida has more than its fair share of weird stories. Some of them even hang one with a "Florida" tag, as seen below.
- Woman in an argument with town council over a goose? Florida.
- Voters pass a law making the wearing of baggy pants a criminal offense that may cost you up to $150 and 60 days in jail? Just as baggy pants were starting to go out of style, one might add, extending the fashion for at least another year? Florida.
- Japanese stripper claims judge (who looks like Bill Cosby) shared business and bank accounts but insists their relationship is "a pure business matter"? Florida.
People who remark about the unusually large quantity of weird news stories coming out of Florida:
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- Most likely being referenced in this Sonic commercial.
- In the Marvel Universe, Florida plays home to the Nexus of All Realities, a multiversal intersection that leads to high weirdness. Which plays on the true source of Florida weirdness. It's a Deep South tourist state that's also popular to retirees and refugees alike, leading to a very diverse mix of culture (Miami-Dade county is often referred to as "Little Cuba.")
- In the Disney Kingdoms book Figment 2, the Academy Scientifica-Lucida relocated to a large plot of land in Florida to avoid any legal trouble with their experiments. At some point in the early 1980s, a large energy-filled geodesic sphere appeared with no explanation on the campus and occasionally wavers in and out of existence. The faculty includes an aged blue fairy man and they've still kept Dreamfinder's Mesmonic Spark Convertor in storage.
- As it turns out in Future Quest, the reason Dr. Quest set up shop in Palm Key was because it was the most regular incursion site for the interdimensional portals.
- In The Walking Dead, Douglas mentions a news story he read before the apocalypse where a man in Florida ate his son's eyeballs out of his head.
- In Tex Willer, at some point Florida had a medieval castle inhabitated by voodoo cultists that followed a white man who believed himself Baron Samedi and had recently escaped from an asylum with his cellmate, who happens to be a Satanist with enormous magic powers, with the cultists, that include a houngan who can actually raise zombies, planning to conquer the whole United States and trying to ally themselves with the Seminoles for it. And it started out because the houngan, his daughter and a friend of their decided to scam the white man (who happene to be wealthy).
- Soul Eater fanfiction Soul Eater: Troubled Souls has a mission. In it, a monstrous runaway train is trying to cause as much destruction as possible as it goes on a joyride down a high-speed rail. It takes a whole lot of effort to bring it down from both the Academy and emergency personnel. Property damage happens, and a couple lives are lost. Guess where it happened? Even better, the resident Little Miss Snarker OC quotes this trope word-for-word.
- The fact that so much weird stuff happens in Florida inspired the Gravity Falls AU Gravity Key, which relocates the Mystery Shack (and the show's action) to the Florida Keys. The Bermuda Triangle is involved, naturally.
Films — Live-Action
- Big Trouble is unsurprisingly this being adapted from a Dave Barry book. It's often discussed by two out of town hitmen who constantly refer to the complete oddness around them and call it as Weirdsville, USA.
- The book's Stealth Sequel Tricky Business is also set in Florida. Like Big Trouble, there is just as much weirdness.
- This trope is possibly the reason why, at the end of the 2002 made-for-TV version of Carrie, the title character heads to Florida to hide out after faking her death. Where else could a teenage girl with Psychic Powers blend into the populace? The setup for the planned TV series to follow (never picked up due to the film's low ratings) was that Carrie would be meeting other people with Psychic Powers, meaning that, at the very least, she's far from the only freak who came to that conclusion.
- Adaptation., A.K.A: Post Modernist Mind Screw: The Movie 2, takes place largely in Florida.
- Ace Ventura features the kidnapping of the Miami Doplhins' live mascot, and star player Dan Marino as part of a convoluted revenge plot by a disgraced former player who hailed from a small town in central Florida, who then escaped from a mental hospital in Tampa, and then became a captain in the Miami police department after assuming the identity of a missing female hiker. The case is solved by an eccentric private investigator who specializes in finding missing pets.
- Carl Hiaasen: Apart from reporting on real Florida, he writes lurid but not really exaggerated fiction about it.
- Dave Barry, the Miami-based humorist. He says he is not making these things up, and has commented that all one really has to do to be funny is live in Florida and write about whatever happened that day. And his Boca Raton-based counterpart, Frank Cerabino, as well as any other local humor columnists in the state.
- Piers Anthony sets his Xanth series in a land that is the exact size and shape of Florida, although it's almost as mountainous as Florida isn't.
- Tim Dorsey has a series about Serge A. Storms, Crazy Awesome and Ax-Crazy criminal/tour guide whose obsessions with Florida history drives a lot of the crazy plots.
- Alex Flinn's novel Cloaked is set in Miami and centers around a high school shoemaker being hired by a princess to search the Florida Keys for her brother, who has been turned into a frog. As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that there's a good number of enchanted people-turned-animals and fairy tale creatures in general in the region. Flinn's other novel, A Kiss in Time, has a modern-day teenage boy bring a fairy-tale princess he finds in Europe to live with him in Miami.
- Blackburn, the setting of Mavericks, is a dark version of this, a Vice City with some very weird supervillains running the place.
- Tangerine plays a lighter version of this trope, combining it with Slobs vs. Snobs. One of the subplots is about how the upper-middle-class families of the Lake Windsor Downs development keep fighting against the natural oddities of their particular corner of Florida, and how Florida fights back: eternal fires, sink holes, lightning strikes, mosquitoes. By the time the deep freeze comes around, they just break out the hot cocoa and fake fire logs in defeat, while the lower-class families of Tangerine are busy trying to save their orchards.
- Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon eventually moves down to Key West, wherein the sudden influx of time travelers, talking dogs, aliens, and general weirdos goes completely unremarked upon.
- Weird U.S is a series of books that detail some of Americas strangest locations, stories, urban legends, etc. Unsurprisingly they have an entire book, Weird Florida, devoted solely to the sunshine state.
- The Daily Show: A "10 F#@king Years" segment was devoted solely to Florida stories.
"But without tacky shit on your lawn, how does anyone know they're in Florida?"
- An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on the subject was planned before the 2007/2008 WGA strike.
- From Criminal Minds, which sees some of the most bizarre, gruesome, inventive, and just generally screwed-up serial killers not set in a Stephen King novel:
JJ: We got a bad [case].
Morgan: How bad?
- Examples include a hitchhiker who takes his victim's identities and an insane cannibal who feeds his victims to other people in the form of chili.
- Countdown with Keith Olbermann included a regular segment called "Oddball" where Keith talked about the weird stories of the day. Florida was such a regular part of the segment that, at the end of every year when they did a week-long recap of the news of the year, they always did one episode on Oddball, and there was always a part of that episode on Florida.
- On Strangers with Candy, most of Jerri's drug-riddled, highly-sexed Expansion Pack Past seemed to have taken place there.
"Florida. Beautiful weather...harsh penal system."
- Every episode of World's Dumbest... seems to have at least one thing that takes place in Florida.
- Seinfeld portrayed South Florida (home to most of our senior citizens) as being Cloud Cuckoo Land, where the most trivial things affect condo board politics.
- In the season 2 finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, a devastating alien probe attacks Earth. Free to target anywhere on the planet, it of course levels its deadly energy beam directly at... Florida.
- The X-Files:
- The season 2 episode "Humbug" was set in Gibsonton, Florida—a small town seemingly populated entirely by carnies and sideshow performers. This is Truth in Television as Gibsonton is the off-season home for a large number of carnival employees. More appropriate for the trope, the carnies are represented as mostly being the Only Sane Man.
- The episode "Agua Mala" is set in Florida amidst a hurricane and has "Don't all the nuts roll downhill to Florida?" as a Running Gag.
- In season 12 of Degrassi, devout evangelical Christian boorish homophobes Luke and Becky just moved up from Florida. They're widely believed to be a Take That! to the Florida Family Association (see the "Real Life" section).
- Let's not forget that Dexter, the show about the world's most lovable serial killer, takes place in Miami. Not only is it strange that Dexter lives there, but Miami is apparently so full of messed-up people that Dexter usually slices up a character an episode while he is looking for each season's "Big Bad". Also, almost no character is introduced to the show who isn't in some way completely insane.
- Late Night With Seth Meyers has a recurring game segment titled "Fake or Florida" in which three selected audience members had to guess if the headlines Meyers reads to them are fictional or from Florida. Audience members who actually are from Florida are given a handicap to even the playing field.
- While Miami Vice was more straight-up cop drama, some of the more bizarre stories and quirky characters had true-life antecedents that were Ripped from the Headlines.
- Jupiter, Florida is the setting for American Horror Story: Freak Show and with good reason. It has the most outlandish plot twists and characters, and the highest body count of any of the show's seasons to date.
- The Good Place has Jacksonville native Jason Mendoza (AKA Jianyu), who is best described as the Florida Man meme in human form.
- Interestingly, back in the 1840s it was Kentucky, not Florida, which had this reputation, according to Punch.
- The March 2013 issue of Game Informer once had the Game Over segment "RPG or Florida?", in which you are given multiple weird stories and have to guess whether they happened in an RPG or in Florida. Play it here.
- This is a reliable and never-ending stream of material for British News Of The Weird publication, Fortean Times. While the whole of the USA is seen as an extension of Only In Florida, this state does seem to contribute more weirdness than the rest.
- Anchorage, Alaska radio DJs Woody and Wilcox cover this daily in the "It Happened in Florida" segment; three recent news stories are presented, all real. Of the three, two are subversions, sounding like things that happened in Florida, but not actually occurring there. The calling guest who finds the straight example gets some prizes. They are now on 106.5 The End in Charlotte, North Caroline.
- When Adam Carolla was hosting Loveline, they played a game called "Germany or Florida", where listeners would call in with weird news stories and the hosts would have to guess whether it took place in Germany or Florida. Germany's reputation is well-deserved; it's one of the most common locations for such stories on The BBC radio show It's Been A Bad Week.
- NPR show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! has also done "Germany or Florida" segments.
- Former child star and current Seattle DJ Danny Bonaduce has a segment during the news portion of his morning drive program titled "Our 'Things Are Not Right in Florida' Story of the Day."
- The hosts of the Majic Morning Show on WMJI 105.7 (based in Cleveland) often make special mention of Florida stories during their "Knuckleheads in the News" segment.
- The Kevin And Bean Show have a recurring segment called What's Up With Florida, where they cover a block of about five to eight strange tales from the news.
- In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy Vercetti, a mobster from Liberty City, frequently snarks about the weirdness and stupidity around him. At least part of it has to do with him having just been released from prison after fifteen years, though—he's confounded as to how a porno parody of a movie about a killer shark can be popular.
- Kenny of The Walking Dead fame comes from Florida, and invokes this trope after he wonders if Lee, a black man, can pick locks.
Kenny: Jesus, man, I'm from Florida! Crazy shit just comes out of my mouth sometimes!
- Hotline Miami and its sequel take place entirely in Miami, Florida and it shows. A guy in a pig mask shooting people is the least weird thing going on.
- Distorted View, a podcast created to present interesting and disgusting things that happen in the news each day, has a special sound clip that plays whenever a news story occurs in Florida, "our most fucked-up state".
- Fark has, along with such categories as "Interesting", "Cool", "Asinine", "Scary", and "Weird", a category named "Florida".
- Drew Curtis has commented on this in his book. To paraphrase: California news gets no reaction because "Oh, it's just those crazy hippies." No one expects weird news from Florida. After reading all the examples though one has to wonder why. It's a massive tourist state with alligators. Stupid people plus giant reptiles. How bad could it be?
- If more than one category tag can apply to a story set in Florida, the Florida tag automatically wins.
- Chuck Shepherd, writer of the News of the Weird column, simply calls it the "F State".
- The off-topic section of the NeoGAF forums frequently tags weird news stories with a guessing game—does the weird news story happen in Germany, Australia, or Florida?
- "Accidental human deaths in Florida" is a separate category on Wikipedia. It's since been changed to just "Accidental deaths in Florida", and joined by other categories of accidental deaths from the other states.
- Cenk from The Young Turks comments on this often.
- What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, hosted by Nash Bozard of "Radio Dead Air" fame, features stories about the general crazy that is Florida on a Once an Episode basis. One of the early episodes was even made up entirely of Florida stories. The title? "The Wang of America." Part of the WTFIWWY Live drinking game includes taking a shot for Florida, and in the live episodes, Nash or Tara will normally comment "And it's Florida..."
- It's gotten to the point that specific cities and counties are showing up multiple times, especially Melbourne and Brevard County (also one of the most popular locations for episodes of C.O.P.S.).
- Lampshaded this in their article "The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School", where half of the six entries came out of Florida.
"Wait, what the fuck? That's three of our entries that are from Florida. What the hell is going on down there?"
- In "5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust Police", Florida is described as "America's one-stop shop for insanity of all sorts".
- The follow-up, "5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust Police (Part 2)", gives us this gem:
"Once again, let's hear it for Florida, or 'Japan of the United States' (if we're talking about areas that produce bizarre news stories)."
- From "6 Most Embarrassing Emergency Rescue Calls":
"Say you're taking a stroll one day when you come across a group of people gawking at something and taking photos. You look up, and there's a lady in pink just quietly hanging from a large wooden structure, 22 feet in the air. Did we mention you're in Florida? We probably don't need to."
- Lampshaded this in their article "The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School", where half of the six entries came out of Florida.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe it is generally noted (in-universe) that, with the exception of Miami, Florida has the most laid-back, non-seriously-threatening, most-likely-to-step-in-and-save-innocent-bystanders-or-surrender-peacefully-without-throwing-a-punch supervillain population in the world. The primary superhero team in the state is called "Imagination East", and it's sponsored by Walt Disney World. Yes, you read that right. Miami, on the other hand, is home to some of the most viciously violent, bloodthirsty villains on the planet.
- ScrewAttack's sidescroller makes frequent use of this during the Newsdesk (so much so that it's a running gag that Chad will either be ecstatic or upset if there isn't a Florida story) and at least one fan-submitted question said that he was in a dangerous place at the time. And yes, they are always the weirdest...
- The Cox n' Crendor Show, a podcast hosted by Jesse Cox and Wowcrendor has caught on to the phenomenon. The absurdity of some of Florida's news is highlighted especially on the Valentine's Day episode when Jesse finds a quiz asking whether a set of seventeen statements are a RPG plotline or a Florida headline. It's about a 50/50 split. Now in glorious animation.
- The page image originates from the Twitter account Florida Man, which collects odd news articles from the state and bills itself as "real-life stories of the world's worst superhero". Essentially, it acts under the premise that all of the stories are referring to a single individual named "Florida Man", playing on the fact that most news articles tend to begin by citing the location and gender of the subject in question, i.e "Florida man/woman arrested for committing X crime..." Florida Man has migrated to Reddit.
- Spoofed by ClickHole with "Only In Florida...", making bewildered commentary on completely ordinary photos of Florida life.
- There is a Tumblr blog dedicated to archiving the strange daily experiences of Florida natives.
- The forum at snopes.com has a thread in its "Fun House" section entitled "Florida Man: The World's Worst Superhero."
- Philip Defranco, who spent his teenage years in Florida, pokes fun at the state on his show from time to time.
Phil: It's like a douchebag factory, really.
- During an interview Rotten Tomatoes played a game with the cast of The Force Awakens. In it they were told weird and outrageous stories and had to guess if they were from Star Wars or Florida news headlines.
- In the first episode of the relaunched Beavis and Butt-Head, the two are watching the video for MGMT's "Kids" from Oracular Spectacular, in which a toddler walks down a street surrounded by zombies and various Body Horror-esque monsters. Their reaction?
Beavis: Is this Florida?
Butt-Head: Yup. That's Florida. [beat, laugh] Florida sucks.
- The Fairly OddParents!: In "School's Out: The Musical", Timmy wished kids ruled the world. He was elected President of the whole nation except Florida because they're still voting.
- In Metalocalypse, The Governor of Florida gets lynched after decrying Dethklok and Nathan gets voted in as a replacement. Due to his complete lack of even the most basic life knowledge, he makes executions a standard punishment (because it's "Brutal"), introduces a new dollar that's printed in such quantities that it's useless (driving the state into a recession), and, when all else fails, they try to hold a concert because music makes everything better...except that considering who Dethklok is, it winds up summoning a category 6 hurricane that pretty much wipes the state off the map. And despite this, one of the tattered, starving-to-death survivors still says he's the best governor the state's ever had.
- Dumbo begins in Florida. Only in Florida would a flying elephant be born...
- There's a reason why it seems all the crazy tabloid stories come from Florida. That's because American Media, the group that publishes all the tabloids in the U.S. (they own National Enquirer, National Examiner, Sun, Globe and Star), is based in Boca Raton, Florida.
- For that matter, Florida has much more permissive Freedom of Information laws than other states. That means that whenever there's a slow news day, the gap can be filled by submitting FoI requests to the police in order to collect Only in Florida stories.
- In fact, because of Florida's permissive records laws, it's why The Boston Globe managed to uncover the massive Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. The editor in charge of the paper's investigative team had recently transferred from Miami and he noticed in a legal column that the Church's criminal case records were sealed by the court. Because he was used to getting access to court records, he immediately became suspicious, and set the team out to figure out the truth.
- The Miami Herald has a news category called Weird News.
- Fort Lauderdale newspaper the Sun-Sentinel's weird news blog, aptly titled "FloriDUH''. Their former slogan?
"We've all been out in the sun too long."
- Also see the Tampa Bay Times "Bizarre Florida" blog.
- South Florida's NBC 6 (also see below) literally titled their weird Florida news section "Only In Florida".
- ONTD has a meme of Bugs Bunny cutting off Florida from the United States, taken from the animated short Rebel Rabbit.
- See the Twitter accounts Florida Man and Florida Woman for more examples of this trope.
- Yahoo News explains why so much weird news comes from Florida, although The Miami New-Times prefers a more rational explanation. (Simply put, it's just easier to get access to the police reports.)
- The Palm Beach Post put up a photo on their Instagram page of a police officer fending off an alligator with the following caption:
A once in a lifetime picture made by Palm Beach Post photographer Paul J. Milette that makes you think that there is no way this is real. But then again, it is Florida.
Particular Examples of "Weird Florida" stories from Real Life include:
Florida is stranger than fiction
- The former page image comes from the recount of the disputed Florida ballots in the 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The state itself recorded millions of votes, but the final margin of victory was less than 600 votes. This spawned a month-plus fiasco of lawsuits, astroturfing, concession calls that were rescinded, accusations of a rigged election, and a Supreme Court case that said "This situation is so damned weird that this decision shouldn't be used as precedent", which critics cited as being more evidence of election-rigging, believing it showed the SCOTUS majority was simply afraid of a similar situation coming up in which their own favored candidate was on the losing end.
- While all that really occurred, it should be pointed out that ultimately all of it wasn't Florida's fault. Florida election law allows the Florida Supreme Court unlimited authority to solve election challenges (and we mean that literally; the actual law granting such authority contains the phrase "the Supreme Court of Florida shall do that which it deems necessary"). It was outside agencies (like the Bush and Gore election teams, not to mention the United States Supreme Court itself, who had no real jurisdiction to intercede in the first place) who were mucking it up for the rest of us. If everyone had just stood back and let the FSC handle it, everything probably would have worked out fine. Or at least could have.
- The Florida Land Boom during the 1920s is considered one of the major causes of The Great Depression. "Buying real estate in Florida" became shorthand for an obvious scam (a la "buying the Brooklyn Bridge").
- The Florida Family Association (don't let the name fool you, it's one guy) has made a name for itself by stepping in to protest anything even remotely LGBT-friendly.
- A Latvian immigrant moves to America and spends the next 28 years singlehandedly carving and placing huge blocks of coral limestone to work off his emotions from being jilted by his 16-year-old fiancée? Said builder claims magnets cured his tuberculosis and owned a Perpetual Motion Machine that he used to help build his monument? Welcome to the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida.
- If you take Cracked's article about him at face value (which you shouldn't, but still), he got bored of the scenery at one point during construction (when it was already far along, mind you) and somehow either moved or deconstructed and reconstructed the entire thing elsewhere before anyone noticed it was gone.
- SWAT teams ignore duties during drug raid to play Wii Sports bowling? (Hint: not Reno 911!).
- Varmint Swarms.
- Unstoppable Army of Snakes? A threat to all of humanity.
- More seriously, feral Burmese pythons are a pain in the ass for the parks department and animal control. There are about 150,000 of them slithering through the Everglades and elsewhere, eating native wildlife and even people's pets. It's gotten to the point where, in January 2013, they declared open season on pythons with no bag limit—complete with a $1,500 prize for whoever catches the most pythons, and a $1,000 reward for the biggest python. Only in Florida does the government's solution to an ecosystem-threatening invasive species—Good Ol Boys versus giant pythons—sound like something straight out of a Syfy Original Movie.
- Speaking of Syfy Original Movies, there was a story in 2006 that could have been the premise of one. A six foot long alligator fought a thirteen-foot Burmese python. The alligator lost, but the python exploded, possibly after the intervention of a second alligator.
- Now there is also a coyote infestation in Broward County. Prepare for a bloodbath between the species. (All three of them.)
- There are also killer lizards attacking people and eating dogs in the Naples area, the result of people abandoning pet monitor lizards in the wild, much to the detriment of everything else. Monitor lizards don't quite compete with the pythons and the local crocodilians, so each one carves out a different ecological niche, and each one has the potential to hurt people.
- Unstoppable Army of Snakes? A threat to all of humanity.
- The town of Lauderhill, Florida invited James Earl Jones to speak at a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, and sought to give him a plaque to commemorate the occasion. Only for the plaque to come back honoring James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated King. Pics here.
- To be fair, however, the plaque was made by a Texan company despite correct instructions from the town in Florida, so the fault lies with Texas.
- Carl Tanzler, a German doctor, fell for a young tuberculosis patient. After she died, he tried to restore her to life after stealing her from her tomb...and had sexual relations with her corpse. Only in Key West, people.
- Many families on Boca Grande were surprised to find something waiting for them when they went to use their toilets. What did they find? Iguanas. They came up the sewage system.
- On one license plate (not a Vanity License Plate, surprisingly), the picture of an orange in the middle of Florida plates made the combination "A55 RGY" read as "ASS ORGY".
- British street lighting making an appearance in Fort Myers—namely the WRTL Arc, as recently as November 2008, before being removed after a short period of time. Apparently these must have been imported since WRTL don't export to America currently...
- "The Hoodrat Kid" lived in Palm Beach, Florida when he decided to take his grandma's car for a joyride. (The child was 7). It was infamous enough to spawn an episode of The Boondocks parodying it.
- A fire broke out in the kitchen while the house owner was in the bathroom. Instead of running and exiting out the front door, which was nowhere near the fire, what did he do? Make a hole through his bathroom walls to escape.
- A branch of Bank of America trying to foreclose on a mortgage that they did not have? Odd. The homeowners fighting back in court and winning? Impressive. The homeowners showing up with a sheriff and moving truck to foreclose on the bank when they wouldn't pay court-ordered damages? Florida. John Oliver considers this the best news story of all time.
- In 1984, the entire police department of Key West was declared an illegal enterprise under the RICO laws—which are usually used to shut down mobsters. One witness even claimed to deliver bags of coke to City Hall on a regular basis.
- Lawyer challenges his wife to a nude swordfight; when he fails to kill her before she can call 911, he absconds with the sword, still nude. Said lawyer previously worked on a case where his client robbed a credit union and hid the cash inside his prosthetic leg.
- Former attorney and well known anti-video game moral guardian Jack Thompson operated out of Florida, and was officially disbarred from ever practicing law in the state in 2007, when even the Florida Supreme Court had grown tired of his antics (some of his actions were legitimately illegal). He's also officially been declared a vexatious litigant by the State of Florida and may not file anything without prior approval from a member of the Florida Bar.
- On a similar note, behold Andy Martin. While he has also managed to piss off the courts in New York and Connecticut as well, Florida is where the lion's share of his antics have occurred. The fact that he named his campaign committee for his 1986 Florida congressional run the "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America" and violently attacked two cameramen from a West Palm Beach NBC affiliate right before the election is just one of the many, many things on the man's record.
- Shark on the train? Sure, why not. note
- This quote from the article says it all: "I have never seen a shark in the middle of the street in Overtown, but nothing surprises me in Miami."
- One of the riders actually notified Dave Barry himself. He would later recount the story on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and calls it one of his favorite stories ever.
- Two Words: Project Normandy.
- The University of Miami football team used to be listed under The Tyson Zone (when the page still allowed real-life examples), and deservedly so. Much of their colorful history can be seen in this ESPN documentary.
- 1980s: Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew had a rewards program to pay players for touchdowns and other on-field achievements.
- 1987: At a pregame steak dinner for the Fiesta Bowl, Penn State showed up in suits. Miami showed up in full combat fatigues. During the event, Miami defensive tackle Jerome Brown compared the game to Pearl Harbor.
- 1989: Even the team mascot, Sebastian the Ibis, got in on the action when he was infamously tackled and detained by police before a game against rival Florida State when he attempted to extinguish the opposing mascot's flaming spear. The police then released him after realizing the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.
- 1991: The team's taunting in the Cotton Bowl Classic is so flagrant that the NCAA created the "Miami Rule" to punish it.
- 1992: A bench-clearing brawl with San Diego State included Dwayne Johnson (yes, The Rock) chasing the SDS mascot into the stands screaming "I'll kill you!"
- 1995: After a major scandal involving illegal Pell Grants given to players, Sports Illustrated wrote a damning article about the U with the cover stating "Why the University of Miami should drop football". The program would go on to survive.
- 2001: Against Boston College, a Miami defensive lineman recorded an interception, only for his teammate Ed Reed to run up behind him and steal the ball to take it in for the winning touchdown. (2001 Miami is considered by some to be the greatest college football team of all-time.)
- 2002: Najeh Davenport broke into a woman's dorm room and got caught pooping in her laundry basket. This later led to him gaining the nickname "The Dump Truck" while playing in the NFL.
- 2003: Kellen Winslow was confronted by reporters for intentionally injuring an opposing player and has an epic freakout on camera, where he declared "I'm a fucking soldier!"
- 2005: A group of UM students (including several members of the football team, one of whom was future NFL Pro Bowler Greg Olsen) released an extremely misogynistic Glam Rap song titled "The 7th Floor Crew"note .
- 2006: Another bench-clearing brawl, this time against intra-city rival Florida International University, which was made all the worse by one of the game announcers (Miami alum Lamar Thomas) making statements supporting the brawl and wishing that he could join in. Needless to say, he was fired shortly afterwards. An FIU player named A'Mod Ned joined the brawl despite being on crutches at the time, leading to a pretty great photo◊.
- 2011: Convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro was caught for having lavished strippers, prostitutes, alcohol, and money on UM recruits for nearly 10 years. After another lengthy investigation, during which the "death penalty"note was considered, Miami once again was only hit with relatively light sanctions from the NCAA.
- Miami had declared itself ineligible for bowl games in both 2011 and 2012, which probably played a part in the light punishment—as well as the NCAA completely botching the investigationnote .
- 2014: UM might be rubbing off on their opponents. The football team played at Virginia in November 2014, and ending up losing 30–13. Near the end of the game, one Cavalier fan decided to sing "Don't Stop Believing" to a goose, causing the ESPN announcers to corpse.
- May 27, 2012: Man eating another man's face while naked on the road while being shot several times till he finally died? If a Zombie Apocalypse is going to start, might wanna take note that it's gonna come from Florida.
- Around that time and city, a high school prom was held in the same place a porn convention was occurring.
- Also around that time, several Florida schools were evacuated because some students and teachers broke out in mysterious rashes that added to the zombie paranoia.
- The 2012 Miami cannibal attack wouldn't be the last report of zombies in Florida. Four years later, in Tequesta, a nineteen-year-old Florida State University student (a fraternity member, football player, and model collegiate by all accounts) broke into the home of a fiftysomething couple, killed them both, and was eating the man's face when the police arrived and subdued him (it took four officers to pry him away after a stun gun and a K-9 dog had no effect). A neighbor who had tried to stop him earlier was also non-fatally stabbed. An hour prior to the incident, the culprit had stormed out of a nearby restaurant where he was having dinner with his family, complaining about slow service.
- The Cassidy Goodson infanticide case.
- Bags of cocaine falling from the sky? Bonus points here because even the headline says Only in Florida.
- Double bonus points: The bags hit, among other things, a church and a Crime Watch Meeting.
- A similar incident happened when cocaine bags got tossed out the sunroof of a moving car...and landed on the hood of the police cruiser chasing it.
- Aileen Wuornos spent most of her adult life in Florida.
- Due to incompetence by Boards of Elections in various counties, it took three days to officially call Florida for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. It actually didn't change the election—Obama had picked up enough electoral votes without Florida, to the relief of many who remember the 2000 election.
- December 2012: A woman returns home to find that thieves have stolen her driveway made of concrete pavers.
- January 2013: A would-be burglar stripped naked and tried to steal a TV from a house, and when he was cornered by the police, he defecated on the lawn and masturbated. Raw Story has more information on the story.
- The top post in the comments section: "It really wasn't necessary to put 'Florida' in the headline. We knew."
- Related: Florida has more cases of public masturbation than all other 49 states combined.
- A man getting caught with over a thousand child porn images on his computer is sick and sad, but hardly unusual. Him blaming his cat, on the other hand...
- February 2013: A sinkhole swallows a man whole in his own home.
- March 2013: A St. Petersburg woman was shot by her friend's oven while attempting to cook waffles, unaware that he was storing a clip of .45 caliber ammo inside.
- Summer 2013: Researchers warn that floodwaters from tropical storm Debbie may have created a population explosion of Gallinipper Mosquitoes, which are twenty times larger than regular mosquitoes, hunt 24 hours a day, and have a bite that is compared to the feeling of being stabbed.
- Two DJs get indefinitely suspended from work because their April Fools' Day prank about there being dihydrogen monoxide in the drinking water causes wide panic? In Florida of course.
- A small plane crashes in a Publix supermarket right out of nowhere in Deland, Florida, near Stetson University.
- In April 2013, a man taped a .40 caliber cartridge to a BB-gun in order to shoot a squirrel, hurting himself badly when the cartridge instead blew up and sent shrapnel everywhere.
- Why didn't he just use a regular gun? Because he's a convicted felon and wasn't allowed to own one—he only got the cartridge because he'd found it while looking for scrap metal to recycle.
- State government accidentally bans all computers? Florida.context
- September 25, 2013: A man tries to pay his water bill with crack cocaine? Deltona, Florida.
- October 12, 2013: Wildlife trappers remove over twenty thousand bees from a 98-year-old woman's home? Cocoa Beach, Florida.
- The 2014 gubernatorial election. For your consideration, here are the two major party candidates:
- The incumbent was Rick Scott, a Republican who got elected governor despite his past as an insurance executive who scammed Medicare out of billions of dollars. He's also one of the most unpopular governors in the country, with a regular approval rating in the 20s. The only reason he even stood a chance at re-election was because the Democrats found and nominated the only man in the state who could rival Scott in inspiring the hatred of Floridians.
- That challenger was Charlie Crist, the previous governor who got elected as a Republican, resigned from the office to run for US Senate as an Independent (he lost) while endorsing his replacement Scott, then came back and ran against Scott to get his old office back as a Democrat, flip-flopping on just about every position to do so.
- The resulting election was one of the nastiest in the country, with both Scott and Crist spending more time attacking each other than explaining their policies, leading most of Florida to decide that both of them could stuff it. Before one debate, Scott refuses to take the stage for seven minutes because Crist had an electric fan under his podium to keep him cool. One man joked that the election was so noxious that the winner would have to be "carried on a stretcher to the podium to make his inaugural speech". In the end, voters found Scott slightly less repulsive and reelected him, but gave him only 48% of the vote, beating Crist by only 64,145 votes (out of more than 5.6 million cast statewide) — and this in what was otherwise a Republican "wave" year nationally. Nearly five percent of voters went with third-party candidates, most notably a 3.8% showing for the Libertarians.
- January 13, 2014: Retired police officer fatally shooting a man for texting during a movie? You guessed it!
- No points for guessing which state is considered ground zero for sinkholesnote . Most of the state's bedrock is limestone, which slowly dissolves in the presence of water—and on a landmass surrounded by water on three sides and susceptible to hurricanes...
- Not to mention the (geologically) rapid depletion of the underground fresh water means that there are giant gaps in the ground.
- Which state capital is the only one in the country to have to shut down its primary shopping mall so that close to 10,000 bats can be humanely removed from the crawlspace above its ceiling tiles and tons of accumulated guano removed? If you guessed "Tallahassee, Florida", you'd be correct.
- March 29, 2014: A registered sex offender tried to murder a family of 10 by lighting their trailer on fire for the sole reason that the consenting adults were a lesbian couple. Guess what state it happened in.
- April 7, 2014: A woman runs into a McDonald's in St. Petersburg, Florida wearing only a thong, trashing the place and guzzling ice cream straight from the soft-serve machine.
- Not even the Miss Florida pageant (to select a state representative for the Miss America pageant) emerged unscathed: 20-year-old Elizabeth Fetchel was publicly crowned Miss Florida 2014, only for (in shades of the 2000 election) it to turn out one of the judges had changed his vote and wrote his new decision on a line above the ballot.
- June 2, 2014: Brevard County Judge John C. Murphy and Public Defender Andrew Weinstock's talk about how to proceed with the trials leads to the ill-tempered Judge asking him for a fight outside saying "I'll beat your ass." While the footage didn't show how the fight went, we hear banging noises and the Judge shouting "You want to FUCK with me?! DO YA?!" While the public defender quit, the judge is still on the bench but still facing consequences from the incident.
- September 5, 2014: A teenage girl in Port Richey burns down her house, blames Slender Man.
- September 22, 2014: A woman gets a third boob implanted onto her chest in an attempt to make herself less attractive. And then tries to get a show on MTV about how her life's been since then. Subverted when it turned out to be a hoax.
- The first person to be killed for a PlayStation 4 died in...you guessed it. One website even used the news to suggest that the entire state exists atop a Hellmouth, complete with the appropriate picture from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- A man is arrested in St. Petersburg with an insane tattoo showing his dedication to the New England Patriots. As his choice of team suggests, he's not originally from Florida, but as the article (which referred to it as "the most Florida thing you'll see today") puts it, he "was drawn there like a bat-shit moth to a bonkers flame".
- A man in Passage Key was caught by his wife having sex with another man on a boat near a nude beach. He responds by throwing her from a jet ski and leaving her for dead. Four separate times, yet neither one caught on.
- A minor example compared to all of these, but there have been a number of cases involving various TV stations swapping networks:
- The Miami affiliates for Fox, CBS, and NBC swapped affiliations in 1989 as a result of WTVJ-4, the longtime CBS station, being sold to NBC (they wanted a station that wasn't in last place and constantly preempting programs—both of which WSVN-7 was guilty of). The Fox affiliate, WCIX-6, was subsequently was bought by CBS, and WSVN gained Fox, and notably became a station known for running a lot of tabloid-style news.
- In 1995, the aforementioned NBC and CBS stations swapped channel numbers, which occurred as a result of Fox getting the rights to the NFC (see Disaster Dominoes for info on that headache).
- And speaking of sports, when the SportsChannel America networks switched to Fox SportsNet in 1998, SportsChannel Florida didn't switch to that branding until 2000, when Cablevision bought out the shares of the network held by Wayne Huizenga, founder of Blockbuster Video and part-owner of many Floridian sports teams (Cablevision has since sold the station to Fox).
- A man in Port St. Lucie tries to steal a chainsaw from a hardware store...by stuffing it down his pants.
- Governor Rick Scott bans state environmental officials from saying and writing the words climate change.
- The Majesty building, also known as the infamous "I-4 Eyesore". It's a massive glass building in Altamonte Springs that belongs to a Christian church and television station. It's been under construction for the last fifteen years and the owners have called it a "pay-as-you-go" project and has taken to raising funding by selling memorial pavers...and due to lack of storage, have been using the pavers to cover leaks.
- A Melbourne man was arrested after fighting off a taser twice, claiming he was Thornote , and sexually assaulting a tree.
- A man in Tampa claimed that he was the Devil, and that everybody in the world had until July 24, 2015 to bow down to him, or else he would kill them. Don't bother praying to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or the Virgin Mary — he killed them all the past fall.
- May 12, 2015: A Florida man turns himself into the police for murdering his imaginary friend, and is only arrested after threatening the police because they wouldn't give him the death penalty for the crime he supposedly committed. The article acknowledges that since this is Florida, it shouldn't really surprise anyone. (Unfortunately, that story turned out to be a hoax.)
- A popular urban legend claims that the "love bug", a species of marsh fly loathed by drivers across the South for its acidic body chemistry and habit of getting splattered on moving vehicles (leading to paint and radiator corrosion), had its origins in a University of Florida genetics experiment gone horribly wrong. Most versions claim it was made to control mosquito populations, either by breeding with them and producing infertile offspring or by eating their larvae. It's not true, as they're actually an introduced species native to Central America, but that hasn't stopped the story from being spread far and wide (especially at Florida State University).
- Man wants to buy a 12-pack of beer but doesn't have any money? That's normal. Trying to trade a LIVE alligator for a 12-pack of beer? Miami.
- An ethics commissioner complains about the above-mentioned sunshine laws and believes that Apollo would agree with him. The congressman's reply? He's not sure if Apollo is in his district.
- Projections show that if the polar icecaps were to ever completely melt (unlikely) Florida would have the dubious honor of being the only US state to be totally underwater and not just half submerged like the other coastal states.
- In Pembroke Pines, a dead alligator carcass was large enough for several unlucky cyclists to crash into it and be hospitalized.
- A Jacksonville couple was arrested for selling golden ticketsnote to Heaven for $99.99. The man claimed he had gotten the "tickets" from a man he identified as Jesus and later said he met an alien named Stevie that promised to take him to a planet made of crack cocaine if he and his wife got the money together. Unfortunately, it's been debunked by Snopes as a hoax.
- A Daytona Beach, Florida restaurant/gun range was granted a liquor license for the restaurant. And they're not the only such place in the state.
- There is a house in Tarpon Springs where the owner decided to cover the entire exterior and driveway in aluminum foil. Turns out, it's just an art project, but no one understands why but the artist himself.
- A school district settles for $600,000 because the principal hypnotized three students to death? North Port.
- A woman accidentally glues her eyes shut after mistaking glue for eye drops? Lantana.
- The now-infamous "Zola Story", which a stripper is lured to Florida with promises of quick money and is quickly ensnared in a plot involving sex trafficking, kidnapping, and possible murder and suicide attempts. The Washington Post checked up on the story and most of it checks out as true (albeit rather exaggerated), as well as lending evidence to another incident involving two other women and the same trafficker and bringing light to the reality of sex trafficking.
- The story of Augustus Sol Invictus. The Orlando lawyer and 2016 Libertarian Senate candidate might just be the most insane man in American politics. This article in the Washington Post sums it up up best: "If this story didn't tell you the state in which this man was running for Senate, you'd still be able to guess it, right?" Where to begin...
"I do not want you to vote, so much as I want you to wake up. I want you to drop out and tune in. I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery. I want you to listen to trap music and black metal, to learn the law and to break it deliberately, to find your own religion. I want you to learn the use of firearms and subject yourselves to rigorous physical training. I want you to treat your bodies as Holy Temples and to take your girlfriend to a strip club so you can seduce a dancer in the back room. I want you to worship Nature and dance naked in the moonlight 'round the fire, screaming in ecstatic joy. I want you to revolt. Raise Hell. Break your limitations. Renounce your life and go into the Wilderness, that God may speak to you of things to come."
- First off, his real name is unknown, as Augustus declines to reveal it. He renamed himself after a Latin phrase that means "majestic unconquered sun". It's been claimed that his birth name is Austin Gillespie, but he refuses to confirm or deny this.
- In 2013, Augustus walked from central Florida to the Mojave Desert and spent a week fasting and praying. In a pagan ritual to give thanks when he returned home, he killed a goat and drank its blood.
- On his LinkedIn blog, Augustus called for "total insurrection", stating... well, let's hear it in his words.
- Adrian Wyllie, the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, resigned out of protest when Augustus began endorsing eugenics and recruiting neo-Nazis into the party to fight a Second American Civil War, which he claims to have prophesied. Many Florida Libertarians utterly hate his guts, viewing him as having destroyed all the hard-earned credibility that the party won with its 3.8% showing in the 2014 gubernatorial election (see above). He wound up losing the Libertarian Senate primary by 47 points to Paul Stanton, a man who didn't even run a formal campaign.
- Nowadays, Invictus is trying to make a name for himself as an alt-right activist, and was involved in the infamous 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that degenerated into a riot. He wants to run for Senate again in 2018.
- In an effort to bring awareness to homelessness, a man began camping outside of an Orlando Best Buy store for Black Friday deals... 33 days before Black Friday.
- At a DUI law enforcement conference in Fort Lauderdale hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the organization honors Pinellas County police officer Michael Szeliga for making over a hundred DUI arrests. Problem is, he shows up to the conference piss-drunk, slurring his way through his acceptance speech, and he was later found walking around a hotel hallway in his underwear. He also skipped out on a session of DUI training during the conference. Szeliga was suspended for one day, and the MADD award was swiftly revoked.
- One golf course club in an Sarasota County suburb found itself playing house to a colony of alligators, with one in particular so massive they've dubbed it "Goliath". In a rare display of common sense, whenever the alligators appear and waddle across the greens, the golfers wisely stay their distance. Even better, in December of 2015 Goliath was caught on video attacking a smaller alligator in a territorial depute during the middle of a golf game.
- And it's not just Sarasota County as well. In June 2016, a gator probably just as big as Goliath was filmed waddling across a golf course in Manatee County. And just like above, the golfers wisely keep their distance.
- In the Florida Bay, there is a small island known as Dildo Key.
- Jailed woman caught with pills in her genitals, claims she doesn't know how they got there? No prizes for guessing where this happened.
- An elderly woman in Miami goes to bed...and wakes up to find an escaped kinkajou napping on her chest. Especially since the animals are actually illegal to own unless you have a special license.
- January, 2016: In what sounds like the plot of a Carl Hiaasen novel, the police find a dead woman, an incoherent man, a note and two live monkeys in a South Florida motel room.
- An area of Little Havana in Miami can still be legally called Swastika Park.
- Guy decides to toss an alligator into the drive-thru window of a Wendy's restaurant. The reporter even said this is something that really only happens in Florida, especially since the actual incident happened in October 2015, but no arrests were made until February 2016.
- Another Floridian bit his fingertips off to avoid being captured by police. It didn't work but instead of being sent back to Florida to serve his sentence; his sentence will be served in Ohio.
- Florida governor Rick Scott was heckled in a coffee shop, with said heckling going viral on YouTube. While being heckled could happen anywhere, Rick Scott's response could only happen in Florida, which is why it lands here: He released an attack ad against said heckler, who, for the record, was not running for any office, nor (as he claimed in his ad) receiving public assistance, simply because her rant went viral.
- A Largo, Florida man was arrested for vandalizing a home. His explanation: He listened to too much music and did too much masturbation.
- Florida is probably the only state in the country with an entire village dedicated solely to retirees, appropriately named The Villages. In fact, children are expressly banned unless they're just visiting. The village is about an hour north of Orlando and its main form of transportation is the golf cart because a big chunk of the land are golf courses. A more infamous note about The Villages: it's the most well-known area in the country that has an alarmingly increasing rate of STDs and according to residents, a growing black market for Viagra.
- Man cleaning gun shoots himself but fails to realize it until 3 days later? You got it, Florida.
- Alan Grayson, U.S Rep. for Florida's 9th District and running for Senator, gets married to the woman campaigning for his congressional seat.
- Key West resident served a citation for a car tagged as improperly discarded trash. If that wasn't weird enough, the vehicle is a replica of Fred Flintstone's car; complete with being powered by foot.
- Also from Key West; an argument over someone breaking wind led to a fight in a bar.
- In June 2016, the city of Orlando endured what the Daily Telegraph described as the Week From Hell, enduring three tragic incidents in the span of five days that each would've been national news had they happened separately. First, on Friday the 10th, Christina Grimmie, the third-place contestant on season 6 of The Voice, was shot by a Loony Fan during an appearance at The Plaza Live and died in hospital not long after. The big one happened during the early hours of Sunday the 12th, when the gay nightclub Pulse was attacked by a gunman who killed 49 people (not counting himself) and wounded 53 others in the deadliest mass shooting in US history. The city was still grieving when, on Tuesday the 14th, a two-year-old boy at Walt Disney World was snatched and killed by an alligator. Although the Pulse shooting largely overshadowed the other two in the public consciousness, that didn't make them any less tragic.
- And on a lighter note: a man in Clearwater, seeking revenge after his eviction from a trailer park, dumped liquid feces into the park's swimming pool.
- Congressional Representative Corrine Brown has been arrested and indicted on federal fraud charges along with her chief of staff for starting a fake charity with the intent of generating slush-fund money for everything from luxury seats to car repairs. This is the latest controversy for the highly polarizing politician, whose list of prior controversies includes accusations of bribery, forgery, earmarking funds for her lobbyist daughter's clients and accusing the Bush Sr. presidency of being "racist" for their actions in Haiti, which included in her telling the then-Assistant Secretary Of State Roger Noriega that all Hispanics "look alike to me".
- During a tourism promotional event at Tampa International Airport, a flamingo was caught on film dancing in circles to bagpipe music.
- Pokémon Go players get shot at by a homeowner (fortunately, nobody was injured) after being mistaken for criminals? Palm Coast.
- A man in Orlando was arrested for meth possession...only for the crime lab to reveal that the white flakes found in his car were chipped Krispy Kreme glaze, from the doughnut he had been eating.
- During summer 2016, a number of parents of third-graders in seven Florida counties who had opted their children out of statewide testing were told their children would not be allowed to enter fourth grade that August. Some of these children were honor roll students (in other words, well above average). The parents filed suit, noting that several other counties did not interpret the state's testing law to require retention of opted-out students. Bonus points because the reporter flat-out invoked this trope – "In Florida (you knew it was Florida, didn’t you?)..."
- Where does a former teen idol open a hot dog stand in a food court and accidentally summon the police about a shooting when in reality it was a routine fire safety inspection? Orlando. To be fair, the scare is justified in the wake of the above Pulse shooting.
- This report about a man named Vladimir Putin (not to be confused with THE Vladimir Putin) getting arrested outside a Publix supermarket in Florida for trespassing.
- Distracted driver crashes into another car? Hardly unusual. Distracted because she was shaving her nethers? Yeah.
- First it was reticulated pythons, then African giant snails. Now, Florida has an infestation of clowns.
- A man in Stuart who violated his probation uses a wanted poster of himself as his Facebook profile pic. He is promptly arrested.
- After Hurricane Matthew knocked out power for a lot of homes along the east coast, a worried man was unable to reach his grandmother in Palm Coast and due to the power outage, the police and fire department couldn't answer, despite repeated attempts. Papa John's Pizza, on the other hand, could.
- Sinkhole leaking millions of gallons of radioactive water into nearby aquifer? Hint: not Fukushima, Japan.
- Florida man develops hepatitis after binging on energy drinks for three weeks.
- The town of Gibsonton, aka Gibtown, about fifteen minutes south of Tampa, began life as a winter home for people in the carnival and circus industry. Grady "Lobster Boy" Stiles, Al "the Giant" Tomiani, and his wife Jeanie "the Half-Woman", among other "freak show" acts, all called the town home; in effect, it was the Real Life inspiration for American Horror Story: Freak Show, albeit a fair bit more benign. The town had unique zoning laws allowing residents to keep elephants and circus trailers on their front lawns, and at one point, their post office was the only one in the country with a separate counter for little people. Even after the sideshows faded out in The '70s, Gibsonton went on to become the home of the International Independent Showmen's Association, the main organizing body for carnival workers.
- Also in Central Florida, between Orlando and Daytona Beach, is Cassadaga. It began life as a spiritualist camp in the late 19th century, and today, it proclaims itself the "Psychic Capital of the World" and is a major hub for spiritualists and New Agers, with half of its population of roughly one hundred being working mediums. The lone hotel in town is reputed to be haunted, and its upper floors are reserved for psychics to work.
- As mentioned on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office has a regular video feature on their Facebook page where the sheriff spins a wheel with fugitives' photos and they ask the public to provide leads.
- More proof that mere exposure to Florida can cause a reaction: a man from Calgary, after being kicked off his flight home for erratic behavior (including claiming that he was the pilot and demanding to sit in the pilot's chair), stole a luggage tug at Orlando International Airport while not wearing any pants, taking it on a joyride across the runway. His response after being arrested? "Don't do crystal meth."
- February 16, 2017: a man in Ocala is arrested for plotting to bomb ten Target big-box stores up and down the East Coast. What makes it a true Florida story is the fact that it wasn't motivated by ideology (i.e. terrorism) or even a personal grudge; rather, it was a hare-brained scheme to drive down Target's stock price so he could snatch up cheap stock in the company and get rich once it rebounded.
- March 2017: A lawyer defending an arsonist has to flee the courtroom because his pants caught fire.
- April 2017: A Tampa man loses his testicles after the scuba tank he was trying to fill with marijuana smoke fell from his workbench to the floor, exploding and sending shrapnel into his body (and shaved his scrotum off clean). Alcohol was a factor.
- April 18, 2017: An otherwise-normal tennis match at the Sarasota Open gets interrupted by passionately loud sex noises from from across the lake.
- Many cities have gun-buyback programs as a means of getting guns off the streets, allowing people to turn in unwanted guns in exchange for cash or other items (such as free shoes), no questions asked. In 2007, Orlando held such a program... and got a surface-to-air missile launcher. (It didn't have any actual missiles, however.)
- Some folks in Miami throw a weed party to celebrate the passage of Amendment 2 in 2016 legalizing medical marijuana. Apparently, they missed the "medical" part and thought that Florida had fully legalized it. Over fifty pounds of ganja were recovered in the ensuing, fully predictable drug bust.
- A neo-Nazi from Tampa converts to Islam, and eventually kills his roommates for showing disrespect for his beliefs. As if it wasn't complicated enough, a fourth person (also a neo-Nazi) connected to said double-homicide was apparently making explosives in his house.
- A man in Ocala sets up a game feeder and a camera in his backyard, and catches about fifty rhesus macaque monkeys stealing the food. The monkeys are descended from a group of primates who were brought to nearby Silver Springs State Park in the '30s as part of a river boat attraction, and are a known pest in the area due to many of them carrying diseases; just a couple of weeks prior, a family visiting the park was chased by them.
- July 19, 2017: A retiree in Hialeah is angry about a pair of AT&T trucks parked in front of his home. His response is to fetch his gun and shoot out the trucks' tires.
- The entire Terri Schiavo case took place in Florida. For those who don't know, Terri Schiavo was a woman who had a heart attack and slipped into a vegetative state. Her husband wanted to remove her feeding tube after a year, but her parents argued against it. What followed was an absolute disaster of court cases, appeals, activism, an incident where her feeding tube was removed and promptly reinserted days later, and government involvment, which included President George W. Bush. Needless to say, her feeding tube was removed for a good fifteen years after her initial medical crisis. As always, The Other Wiki has more complete coverage here.
- September, 2017. With Hurricane Irma coming in, the logical solution to some Floridians was not "evacuate", but apparently shoot the hurricane. It prompted a warning tweet from a completely different state about how this was a bad idea. While the event started out as a joke, there are, of course, people who are serious about it.
- Another hurricane-related issue came from the small county of Manatee County, when the county's authorities in their infinite wisdom decided that rather than have a qualified American sign language interpreter brought in beforehand when the hurricane was announced, they'd just get the first convenient guy they could find to do it. Said guy was a lifeguard, who only had some firsthand experience with ASL due to having a deaf brother, and had never done any interpreting for anything as serious as a county-wide emergency evacuation order. To the man's credit, this isn't really his fault, because he stated his reservations earlier to the authorities, who said they probably wouldn't need him. It resulted in a national controversy among deaf advocates when the poor guy started giving such helpful evacuation notices as "Pizza what you are. Need be bear monster". Meanwhile, the nation had the exact opposite response to another ASL interpreter during a conference with governor Rick Scott. His wild gesticulation and facial expressions made him a media sensation, up to and including late night talk show appearances.
- A few weeks after Hurricane Irma, a Soviet hydrometerological bouy washed up on a Florida beach. It was likely washed up from Cuba after it sank to the sea floor several decades past, though naturally, there's a bit of a sensation as to if it was actually a Soviet spy device.
- October 2017: AirBnB proprietor gets caught shooting video of rented bedrooms, using a camera disguised as a smoke detector, only to defend it by claiming it was a service he provided for some other clients who regularly hold sex parties there? Florida, of course.
- A politician running for congress claims she was abducted by aliens, who told her that God is a source of renewable energy and that a local tourist attraction is in fact an Ancient Egyptian pyramid. Yup.
- Still Oct 2017: News story of a nine-year-old girl dying of heart failure after a 300+ lb woman sat on her because the girl was being too rowdy? Pensacola, FL.
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