» I lived in Florida for nearly a year. It was the first place that the Navy sent me .. after prying me away from mom's apron strings in Connecticut. I was 18 (close to Trayvon's age) and Florida is where the military sent me for bootcamp (.. via Amtrak, 1-way, 2-day trip).
Six months later I RETURNED to Florida to attend the Navy's [ Holy plutonium, Batman! ] Nuclear Power school (.. in Orlando).
After I got out of the Navy some 6 years later [at EAOS], I again returned to Florida .. to visit an ex-shipmate who I'd previously lived with on the North Shore of Oahu (.. in a shack on the beach in Waialua).
"Come on down," he roared. "You'll LOVE it here!" (He was a Brooklyn boy who could talk anybody into anything.)
Seeing it was the dead of winter, and the rest of the country was freezing their babushkas off, I hopped on a plane and headed south, spening another month or two down there.
I did however, love it down there in Florida, and was shown a great time.
So Florida is where I went to re-orientate myself back into the civilian world .. with a small part of the world's best ex-military support group (.. who had already experienced the transition and understood its psycho-dynamics) .. to try and screw my head on straight .. and grow my hair long again.
So I like Florida. The good-sized waves at Daytona Beach, the cool-sounding name of Cocoa Beach, the Disney World buzz of Orlando, the "on vacation" attitude of Ft. Lauderdale ..
.. especially the tropical feel in Tampa & St. Petersburg, and the bathtub-warm murky waters of the entire Gulf coast (.. before the spill, anyway).There was no part I did not enjoy. Even Ocala horse country.
Tho I never made it down to the Keys, I believe I could someday retire there.
It's definitely the FLATTEST state I've ever lived in. Great state if you like to bike .. cuz there's not a hill to be found anywhere.
Takes a little getting used to the humidity. Sitting at sea-level means that much of the the state is a swamp (.. called the Everglades).
It's a state where .. in the span of 20 minutes you can go from beautiful blue skies to a torrential downpour and back to sunny skies again .. with the wet pavement STEAMING in the hot sun before it's dry again. Can you say sauna?
[ You learn to wait, and not make a mad dash for it, where the faster you run, the wetter you get. Because, by the time you get there, the rain has stopped. ]
And then there's the BUGS. Florida has more bugs than any other state I've been to. Cockroaches thrive there. The mosquitoes have been known to carry off cattle. Alligators think nothing of taking a dip in your swimming pool.
The Feel You Get Living in Florida
Now every state has its own distinct 'feel' .. its own unique flavor, its own particular characteristics .. which you might not be able to appreciate until you've LIVED there a while. (At least, that's how it was for me.)
And I could certainly wax verbose here and talk at great length on the subject .. and maybe things have since changed .. but suffice to say that the #1 'feeling' I got from Florida .. while living there ..
.. was that THIS was a place where they » LET YOU DO YOUR OWN THING .. which is one of the reasons why I liked Florida, and one of the reasons why my buddy decided to settle there .. after globe-trotting for 6 years with the Navy. (In other words, they stay out of your business.)
[ By contrast, California (like the Feds) tries to get involved in every little aspect of your life. I have LIVED, btw, in ~ a dozen different states, and visited many more, which gives me a variety of points of reference from which to compare & contrast. ]
So while I *am* surprised about the Trayvon Martin shooting by George Zimmerman (4-weeks ago today), and by the SPECIFICS of the case, I'm not surprised that it happened in Florida.
I mean, the Stand-Your-Ground law, which the authorities cite as justification for the shooting, sounds a whole lot like » "You folks go ahead and take care of whatever business you need to take care of .. and call us only if you really need us." Does it not?
Now, many people have already commented on this tragedy at length, so I wasnt sure that I was going to comment myself .. which is why I waited a month. (No sense in duplicating what others have already said.) So I'll get right to the point.