Apr 18, 2012

I am a southern belle-- born and raised in the South and I think that snow is overrated so I doubt you'll ever be able to convince me to move North. If you're from the South then you know that Floridians don't consider themselves Southern; they like to imagine that they are much more progressive than the other Southern states.

Now while I was in high school and college, I too believed that Florida was the cat's meow. Fun, sun, sandy beaches, clear water and excellent shopping, what in the world could be better?? So Florida was always on my places I could live when I'm gown list and if the word vacation was uttered, I was going to suggest Miami.

But over the years, I have really come to question the sanity of the people running the state. And I know you all think I am talking about a certain governor from a very powerful family who shall remain nameless... but I'm not.... I mean yes, I have some issues with him but a majority of US citizens thought two of his kinfolk were smart enough to run the whole country so I am not going to penalize Florida for keeping the apple close to the tree.

My first inclination that Florida was not all it was cracked up to be came a few years ago when a man asked me for help. Even with a college degree and some work experience, he was having a hard time getting a job and he was unable to rent from any reputable apartment complex. The problem was he had a felony conviction. So I explained to him once you are a convicted felon, your life becomes increasingly more difficult. The only relief you may be able to get is having your record expunged but they don't expunge violent crimes so what were you convicted of? With a straight face, the man says, driving with a suspended license. Now I'm looking around waiting for Ashton Kutcher to run into the office and tell me this is his legal edition of Punk'd. No, I say, what is your felony conviction sir. Again, he says driving with a suspended license.

Now I know some you like to pretend that you are perfect and never made a mistake in your life. But I, for one, have paid a speeding ticket late before and had my driver's license suspended. Now, as soon as I got the letter saying, you've been a bad girl, I went and paid all the fines and cleared it up...BUT technically my license was suspended while I was driving to the courthouse to pay the ticket and then to the DMV to pay the fines and get my license reinstated. SO I was completed floored at the thought that Florida made you a convicted felon for paying a speeding ticket late. Even worse, this guy was in college when it happened and actually had to spend SIX months in jail. Okay seriously, when I was a prosecutor most people who were arrested with drugs (cocaine, heroin, speed, ecstasy) got probation for their first conviction. Probation not jail time but Florida sends a college kid to jail for six months because he paid he paid his speeding tickets late.

Then of course there is the Stand Your Ground law that we all became so familiar with after the death of Trayvon Martin. Legal pundits were truly scratching their head about why a self defense law allowed a man to bring a gun to what he, himself, described as a fist fight while most self defense laws only allow reasonable force to stop the threat.

And then what do you know, in recent developments it seems that Stand Your Ground , the law the Sannford police claimed precluded them from arresting George Zimmerman for shooting an unarmed Trayvon Martin on the sidewalk of the neighborhood they both lived in won't protect you if you have to face off against your abusive husband in your own home. Oh and even if you don't kill him, you will be charged with aggravated assault and child endangerment for firing a shot into the ceiling. Now I can't help but ask, if Marissa Alexander's husband had been wearing a hoodie, would she able to Stand Her Ground then??

Despite the fact that her husband had a history of prior abuse against her and other woman, despite the fact that she had a protective injunction against him, despite the fact that she actually tried to leave the house but couldn't because she didn't have her keys, a Florida judge has refused to allow her to assert the Stand Your Ground law because he says she should have just left the house.

WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN FLORIDA??? Florida may be a nice place to visit but you should be real hesitant about moving there


  1. I am deeply offended by the title of the commentary “Don’t let your babies move to Florida”. As a born and raised Floridian (Miami) who have traveled the United States and Overseas, and have lived in most places South, North, West and East know a little something about a lot of states. One, the laws in all States are similar, Florida may call it one thing and another State something else, but trust me they are the same. Now let’s deal with some of the accusations in the piece. The fact that a young man came into Locks office and stated he was arrested and sentence to jail for 6 months for a suspended license in Florida and now has a felony. My mother always told me that there are three sides to every story, his, hers and then the truth. I am pretty sure there is more to this young man’s story than what was told to Locks. Secondly, the “Stand your Ground Law” which is not only in Florida, but Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, California, Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana and many more states, may not be called “Stand your Ground”, but the laws are similar in nature. Every time this law is brought up in the media or in a blog it always targets Florida, because of the Trayvon Martin’s case, and every time I hear it, I cringe at the amount of people who live in States with the same law, but now somehow Florida is so wrong because the law has reached the media. Further, most people in Florida and other states supports the law, because it took all the power away from the criminal and gave some of it to the average citizens i.e. me. I am a law abiding citizen who carries a conceal weapon legally, to protect myself from the criminals who carry guns illegally, and will take full advantage of me, and say the hell with any law; so as a law abiding citizen I do not want to see the law disappear; what I want to see is, young black men able to walk down the street, with whatever clothes they have on, and not be a target by anyone in any State. Thirdly, I would like to say that living in Florida I have found that you are free to express yourself; have opinions; disagree with others; make suggestions, and you can actually get a job without having to know someone,(unlike the wonderful state of Georgia). I left Georgia two years ago to move back to Florida, so that I could feel free and not like I was in prison all the time; with the Yes Sir; Yes Master; attitude I felt like I had to have in order to get along or move ahead. So when the people from Florida say “We are not like the South”, those are some of the issues we are talking about. In Florida, “Master” is not on our backs and necks strangling our very being. I have 14 nephews and too many nieces to count, all who live in Florida and none have ever been arrested, all have good jobs, educated, free, and are productive citizens, so when Locks states “Don’t let your babies move to Florida”, that is so offensive in so many ways, that I could go on and on for days, but I won’t, and hopefully I have made my point and didn’t offended anyone. So I say; “Do let your babies move to Florida” they will be alright, with the proper guidance and careful instructions; just like in any other State.

  2. I can't really apologize for the title because at this point, I really mean it...I would not move to Florida and I would seriously caution any of my friends who wanted to... As far as the young man with the felony conviction, I'm not just basing it on what he told me. I did help with an expungement. He had no other arrests other than driving with a suspended license. And Florida law mandates up to one year in jail for the infraction. My issue with that is almost every other state in the Country makes driving with a suspended license a misdemeanor... and it is considered an administrative violation so that it will not affect your employment. Now this was a college educated man whose most serious crime in life was driving after he had not paid his speeding tickets but he was practically unemployable. I think that's reprehensible; I'm sorry if you disagree with that.

    I was a prosecutor in both Georgia and Louisiana and yes every state in the union has some kind of self defense law but the other states ESPECIALLY Georgia and Louisiana don't allow you to bring a gun to a fist fight... In fact, I prosecuted people for bringing a knife or a bottle to a fist fight. You're focusing your anger at me for pointing out the flaw BUT you should really be mad at your state legislators. The Stand Your Ground Law in Florida is an anomaly which is why countless legal pundits were weighing in on it.... Everywhere else there is a standard that force you use to defend yourself be reasonable. So if I slap you, you don't get to shoot me and claim self defense... And even though I think the law itself is outrageous... what really chaps my hide is the inconsistency in which it is applied. George Zimmerman acted within the law but Marissa Alexander didn't??? Neither Georgia or Louisiana are perfect, but her self defense claim would be allowed. and like you she had a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon. She also didn't shoot the man who said I'm going to kill you after kicking her butt... She fired a warning shot into the ceiling
    That said, I am happy that you enjoy living in Florida but my opinion has not changed... If ever you decide that the laws are not being applied fairly, call me.. I'll march with you but until then I'll be yes sirring it up in Georgia.

  3. Dear Lovely Locks,
    You hit the nail on the head! I am in total agreement with you! FLORIDA SUCKS BIG TIME! We have lived here since '92.
    My Grandson keeps me here.... if not for him, I would leave and tell the so called Sunshine state to stick it where the sun don't shine!
    Signed Alabama Belle :-)

    PS: No.. for any smart mouths that come along... I am not a criminal, etc... Florida is high priced, snotty people, new laws (everyday) that shouldn't exist in the first place... crappy state.
    My advice? Never ever move here... and if you do live here and nothing is keeping you here, run... run for your life. I am serious.