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


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