In Florida, you can sell this for beer! (Credit: ThinkStock)
What do these headlines have in common? They're all recent news happenings out of Florida. But of course.
Indeed, it's hard to think of another destination in the world with such a constant deluge of biazarre news. George Zimmerman taking up boxing? Happened in Florida. A naked man trying to bite someone in the face? Florida. A guy trying to sell a crocodile for beer? You guessed it: Florida.
Let me be clear that I’m not here to bash the Sunshine State. Indeed, it’s wonderful in many ways, including amazing nature and wildlife (flamingoes, yo!).But it’s no secret that the state produces a disproportionate number of head-scratching news stories. The Tampa Bay Times and HuffPost devote entire pages to batshit happenings in the state. And your life isn’t complete until you’ve followed @FloridaMan, a Twitter handle predicated on the premise that one insane dude in Florida is responsible for all the weird-ass insanity that happens there.
That Internet phenom has now helped spurn an entire documentary, appropriately entitled Florida Man, exploring some of the stranger human specimens to grace the state.
All of which begs the question: Why? What is it about this state that breeds mom-and-daughter porn teams and grown women wearing mermaid fins to public pools? Actually, a lot of experts have weighed in on this very issue. Here are a few of the key speculations:
Weather: There’s a body of evidence to suggest that the hot, humid weather found in the state leads to aggression and violence.
Geography: If you're in the southern part of the state, it takes up to 10 hours to get to another part of the U.S. It's hard for people to leave and many don't, which leads to a sort of insular insansity.
Gun culture: Florida has very loose gun laws, including Stand Your Ground, which leads to weird incidents involving people (and even dogs) with guns.
Racist history: Fraught race relations have a long history in Florida, which helps explain some of the more troubling news to come out of the state, like the Trayvon Martin case.
Transparency laws: The state’s laws favor open records and transparency, so—to be fair—it’s simply easier for the media to get their hands on strange stories.
There’s a whole bunch of other explanations too, and of course any state is made up of many complex factors that make it what it is. All we know is . . . we can't wait to see what bonkers headline pops up next.