Florida has earned popularity for being home to a few colorful characters—maximum significantly the “Florida guy.”
However, he isn’t really an unmarried person as an alternative, a trope of all of the Florida guys who’ve made headlines for doing something … uncommon.
And he’s now starring within today’s internet fad: the “Florida guy” challenge, in which you Google “Florida guy” and your birthday to peer what loopy news story from the nation pops up.
From botched robberies to lethal cockroach-consuming contests, it looks as if there’s a wild tale approximately a Florida man for every day of the yr.
But what is it about the Sunshine State that generates so many nutty testimonies?
There are several theories:
Florida’s strong public records laws, which allow reporters without problems to report on wild crime stories. The nation’s huge and sundry demographic, which is conducive to a few abnormal occurrences. The climate, which some say could play a part.
But under all of it, there’s once in a while a deeper detail at play in lots of those “Florida guy” testimonies — one, that’s no laughing depend.
Easy Access to Public Records
Thanks to Florida’s robust public data laws—additionally known as Sunshine Laws—it’s smooth for newshounds to get their hands on police incident reviews and churn out attention-grabbing memories.
“Florida has were given one of the broadest public facts laws within the country,” says Barbara Petersen, president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation.
You can get entry to basic crime facts nearly in real-time, Petersen introduced.
“As quickly as that incident document is filed (by using law enforcement), we will move and make a public record request and get it.”
A Huge, Diverse Population
The wacky headlines also may have to do with a huge, numerous populace interacting under occasionally suffocating humidity.
“People don’t recognize how big Florida is. The quantity of human beings in keeping with rectangular mile is especially compacted,” says Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. “When you placed extra human beings in an area, you’re going to become with greater loopy stuff.”
Florida’s populace stands at greater than 21 million humans. On top of that, the country had greater than 126 million site visitors in 2018. And whilst it’s a huge country, the general public is concentrated along the shoreline or close to the large subject parks, said Florida journalist Craig Pittman, who wrote an ebook on Florida’s quirks.
The Sunny Weather
To top it off, it’s hot and sunny 12 months-spherical, so human beings are continually out and approximately.
“Eventually, they’re going to come to be chasing every different around with machetes and arguing (approximately) whose dog pooped on whose garden,” Pittman said.
The Real Tragedy Behind Many of the Stories
While the net challenge can be amusing, there can be more to the story. “It’s OK to snigger on the humorous stuff that happens here. However, bear in mind the turning aspect, too,” Pittman said. “Not each ‘Florida man’ tale is laugh-out-loud humorous. Some of them have real tragedy behind them.”
When he did the undertaking, Pittman said, all the tales that popped up “had been sad, really.” While not applicable in all instances, mental fitness troubles frequently played a function, Tompkins stated. Mental fitness is a massive issue in Florida, which ranks at the bottom of all states for mental health funding, consistent with the Florida Policy Institute.
“When the paintings of newshounds essentially poke a laugh at crime and activities that no affordable person might be worried in, it’s on us to get beyond the snort and snigger and sneer and study if there’s a bigger problem,” Tompkins stated.
“It might be wrong to assume that Florida has some crazy crime price — our violent crime fee is truly losing,” he stated. “What may be very high, but is the epidemic of intellectual fitness.”