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Eff you, Florida

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Gun-toting Real American Hero Florida Man is just minding his own business and patrolling his charming suburban subdivision, packing heat as one does in Florida, when he sees a dangerous teenager, and, by the power vested in him by his volunteer neighborhood watch group, goes after the teenager, and then shoots the teenager in self-defense. And it’s perfectly legal, because Florida. The difference, this time, is that (a) the shooter isn’t George Zimmerman, and (b) the kid isn’t dead:

A teenager is recovering at Orlando Regional Medical Center Wednesday after being shot by a Lake County man who allegedly witnessed him burglarizing a home.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Man was strolling through his neighborhood with Mrs. Florida Man, on the appropriately named Cavalier Court, when he noticed something was amiss! A suspicious youth was suspiciously in his neighborhood, behaving suspiciously, like he was casing the place. And then he spied this suspicious kid in his neighbor’s backyard. So did Florida Man or his wife reach for their cellular telephones and call the police? Heck no, this is Florida, man!

The husband grabbed a gun and moved in for a closer look inside the home in the Grand Island area between Leesburg and Eustis. As he peered through a broken window, the intruder heaved a television through it.

The alleged burglar — later found to be a 16-year-old boy, apparently unarmed — spotted him and bolted, sheriff’s Lt. John Herrell said. The husband ordered the intruder to stop and get on the ground. But the youth, he told police, charged toward him. […]

No criminal charges are expected against the neighbor because of the circumstances, he said.

“When the witness confronted him and the suspect charged, the witness told us he was in fear for his life and acted to defend himself,” Herrell said. “The neighbor was doing what he thought was the right thing.”

Good thing Florida Man only managed to shoot the unarmed 16-year-old in the shoulder. A mere flesh wound, not a fatality. Not that it would matter, because, like the po-po said, Florida Man was simply doing what he thought was right. And in Florida, that’s reason enough to go after suspicious looking kids, guns a-blazin’. And even if he had shot the kid to death, well, isn’t it worth it, to save a stolen TV? Florida Man’s neighbors think so:

“Yeah, that’s awesome,” said resident Charlene Coomer. “I know that he is part of the Neighborhood Watch. We have lived here for three years and we have never had anything like this.”

“He did what he thought was right and I believe it too,” resident Phillip Elliot said. “He was trying to help out his fellow neighbor, that’s what he was doing.”

Awesome! Just being a good neighbor. And that kid probably wouldn’t have gotten shot if he hadn’t charged (allegedly, although the cops seem to think this is a proven fact) at Florida Man. But hey, you make your local neighborhood watchman nervous, that’s what you get.

No word yet on whether Florida Man’s grateful neighbors are planning a parade in honor of their new “hero,” but being Florida, we figure he should at least get some celebratory gunfire, since apparently most of his neighbors are armed too. You know, for the safety of the neighborhood.

[WFTV via Rawstory / Orlando Sentinel]

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  • Tendernob

    Apparently “He charged toward me” is French for “I wanted to kill the kid so I shot him”.

    • AntiDerpomeme

      Meh, the French are a bunch of pacifist pussies, or so I understand from super-funny popular culture references. And of course from Dick Cheney.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        It was more clear in the original German.

  • Steven M. Harries

    If you give tourist $$$ to the South, you’re nuts. Period.

    • Zyxomma

      I last visited Florida in 1989. I liked St. Joe’s Peninsula, where the deadliest thing I encountered was a rattlesnake, which was kind enough to let me know it was near (unlike its pit viper cousin, the cottonmouth, whose only “I’m nearby” warning is the smell of rotten cucumbers). The closest I’ve gotten to the south since is Arizona and D.C.

  • Nounverb911

    Is “dangerous teenager” a new euphemism for “black and or other minority”?

    • marxalot

      “New”?

  • Indiepalin

    He’s coming right at us!

  • Latverian Diplomat

    I’m surprised the gun nuts aren’t howling at that dangerously unqualified gun owner for forgetting to doubletap.

    • vivian

      The gun nuts are alarmed that the child was not also armed. What’s this country coming to when a boy out for a little recreational TV hunting isn’t packing? It’s Communism, that’s what.

      • mardam422

        Kid was obviously an amateur.

    • Thaumaturgist

      FWIW. In Detroit, rule used to be, one or two shots, self-defense; three or four shots, manslaughter; five or six shots, murder two. If you reload, murder one.

      Except, there was this one skinny as a bean-pole guy got in a bar fight with a semi-proboxer. Said each time he shot the boxer, the boxer would look stunned, and then come at him again. that’s how he had the chance to reload in a bar fight with a semi-proboxer. They bought self-defense.

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        My son was telling me about a friend whose drill sergeant told them, “Never shoot a guy with .223 ammo – if he finds out about it, he’s gonna be pissed off.”

  • Msgr_Moment

    Florida Man has his work cut out for him this week.

    • PubOption

      Wiccan – A religion anyone can edit.

      • Thaumaturgist

        Remember the West Memphis Three? You deal with Christian cops in the Deep South you cannot necessarily take accusations of witchcraft seriously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_Three

        As far as the “person of interest” confessing that the whole thing was witchcraft, the reason that people with the most cursory experience with law enforement in the USA don’t think you have to torture terrorists to get them to talk is that when the detectives get them in the back room, they all talk, just like on TV. If you’ve got an aggressive detective, who doesn’t too much care about the actual facts, the detective will supply the defendant with the facts and the “person of interest” will parrot back whatever the detective wants.

        If you want to know how it works in practice in the real USA, read the actual opinion in Miranda v Arizona, starting at the page marked 1614. (Miranda misfired; it still works that way.) http://www.princeton.edu/~ereading/Miranda.pdf

  • Lizzietish81

    Well he was caught red handed and since there is no judicial process in the US AND the penalty for theft is death, the kid got off light.

  • Seaside

    After being shot the teenager ‘feared for his life’ too but that doesn’t count because he was unarmed.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …good thing that kid wasn’t armed with a side walk!

    • Reddishrabbit

      Or Skittles.
      I still have nightmares, being pinned down in a muddy foxhole for hours as the enemy barrage of Skittles roared overhead

      • marxalot

        The screams in the night- “taste the rainbow, motherfuckers!” and the endless pounding of the technicolor hail.

    • TheBidenator

      Is he black? Then of course he was…all male black teenagers are armed with pieces of sidewalk, and all are dumb enough to charge any white man (or in Zimmerman’s case white with a brown wrapper) pointing a gun at them, too. Black kids…it’s a wonder any of you survive into adulthood, am I right?

  • FauxAntocles

    Living in the wild, wild west!

  • Reddishrabbit

    You know the whole, he did what he thought was right, sounds awfully close to relative mortality. And we know only liberatards think like that. Good thing the bible doesn’t talk about Killing, no “thou shalt not kill” or hippie BS.

  • Ryan Denniston

    The kid’s still alive? Buddy, you done fucked up now. You’ll get kicked out of the vigilante justice club for sure. Ugh, what the hell is wrong with these people. A TV in exchange for a life? And it’s a KID.

  • Ryan Denniston

    Hey, so if the kid had a gun, and the kid shot the guy following him, that’d be okay too, right? Let God sort it out and all…

  • James Christopher Owen

    The only thing that will stop a bad teenager without a gun is…uh…how does that go again?

    • Ryan Denniston

      is…uh, the sidewalk.

    • Someguy.com

      AMERICANS WILLING TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!

  • schmannity

    That wasn’t a gunshot, it was a polite society manners lesson.

  • FZsdaughter

    I wonder what Mr Rogers would think of this “neighbourhood”.

  • JMP

    Yeah, someone who commits a mere property crime deserves to get shot over it; why we should have the death penalty for stealing a TV. Fuck these people are sick.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      TV? Hell, if they’re caught shoplifting a bagel, it’s the rack for them!

  • JohnBull

    Why do people always say “we’ve lived here for three years and nothing like this has ever happened?” Did we fucking ask how long you lived here?

  • drbloor

    In civil court news, Mr. Coomer is suing the alleged burglar for not effectively stopping the bullet, which passed through his shoulder and pierced Coomer’s aluminum siding.

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …as someone who once lived in a neighborhood, where my home was burglarized 3 times in a 12 month period. I can understand how the homeowner “may” feel that what occurred was justified. But as a black man who in his teenage years locked himself out of his own house on more than one occasion and was forced to scale a tree to get to a unlocked 2nd floor window; I think the neighbor is a fucking idiot!!! I own a gun(and live in Florida, go figure!) and if I saw someone breaking into my neighbors home, I’m not gonna go down there and confront the guy! What if the kid lived there? Call the fucking cops dumb ass!!!

    • Me not sure

      Now that I know that you live in FL, I understand your anger better. Also too, why you own a gun.

    • neminem

      Ok, but, did you break into your own house and then proceed to lift a tv back out of that window? If so, why?

      • AngryBlakGuy

        …no I didnt. But it would have been VERY EASY for a wanna be cop to come walking by and assume that I was breaking in. Mind you, I can recite multiple stories of times where myself and my younger brother have been stopped and questioned by so called concerned citizens/officers as to why we were in our OWN God damn neighborhood.

        • laineypc

          No snark, that sucks so so much. Goddammit I hate this about America.

      • Redgyal

        You do remember the story about Henry Gates being arrested for something similar, right?

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Call the cops? What are you, some sort of commie?

    • AnOuthouse

      Do you know how long it could take for the cops to arrive? It could be two minutes. Better to unload a few rounds first.

  • Lance Thrustwell

    People are too easily swayed by outcomes. Because the kid wasn’t killed or too seriously maimed, everyone’s like, “this is the way it’s supposed to work.” Idiots will believe the shooter when he says – and I’m sure he does – that he was just trying to wound him, really.

    You know, if people are going to do this neighborhood watch thing and feel like they need to be armed – why not loosen the restrictions on trank dart guns? I’ll bet those are harder to get than regular guns. Just another way America is fucked up about guns.

    • SuspectedDemocrat

      Can those microwave pain beam weapons be mounted on a backpack? Or how about the sonic area denial systems? How awesome it be to fire up one of those babies in a residential neighborhood every time you see a suspicious teenager?

  • BearGHAZI

    Whatever. You break into someone’s home, you risk a flesh wound.

    • JohnBull

      Tis but a stand your ground.

      • Lord-Nash

        I know it’s not *really* funny, but I just got a mental image of the kid writing on the ground saying “I’M INVINCIBLE!”

  • calliecallie

    I am just grateful this kid is still alive.

  • neminem

    I have to say, that’s pretty tame compared to some other things we’ve heard recently. I mean, is it completely uncalled-for amounts of force? Yes, it is. As they say, you shouldn’t aim a gun at someone unless you mean to kill them, and nobody, regardless of their age, deserves to be killed for stealing a tv.

    Still. The kid *was* at least very obviously engaging in majorly criminal activity, and too, when caught, he *did* attempt to fight the dude that caught him. So I have to say it’s not nearly as bad as dudes going around shooting kids for crimes like driving while black, walking down the street while black, selling possibly-bootleg cigarettes while black, etc. I’m not saying he deserved to get shot, I’m just saying, it *does* sound like the guy did have a kinda legitimate reason to think he should defend himself.

    • sosuume

      How ’bout just calling the cops to report a burglary in progress??? That way the kid could at least be killed by a trained professional. Right??

      • Me not sure

        Now I’m really morally conflicted. Amateur pot-shot or professional cop-shot? ARRRGH!

        • neminem

          At least this way there’s a *chance* the guy who unleashed potentially-lethal violence on an unarmed kid *might* get in trouble for it.

          • Me not sure

            What about the word Florida do you not get?

        • sosuume

          Heh. Tough call.

          • Me not sure

            I’ve got it. Take a phone snapshot of the perp and let the police find him at school.

    • r m reddicks

      ” (H)e *did* attempt to fight the dude that caught him.” You know something that wasn’t in the Wonkette post above? Don’t be holding back. Are you the shooter?

    • Lord-Nash

      “when caught, he *did* attempt to fight the dude that caught him”

      I’d strongly argue that this part of the shooter’s story is made up. If you have a gun on someone, chances are they aren’t going to run to you.

  • exinkwretch

    Dirty Harry wannabe fucked up — this is a job for the cops. Kid fucked up — find a safe, legal way to earn some cash. Breaking into houses in Florida is gonna get your dumb ass shot sooner rather than later. Stealing a TV is not an execute on the spot offense, but it’s not acceptable behavior, either.

    • Mormos

      are there execute on the spot offenses?

      • exinkwretch

        Typos in Wonkette comments.

        • Villago Delenda Est

          Especially when you can edit them at any time to fix the typos.

        • toomanyrappers

          wat tylos?

      • Me not sure

        Wearing white after Labor Day?

        • OneDemin EOr

          Or being black on any day.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Wearing a hoodie while blah

      • Antimassacree

        Causing a gapers-block in the southbound lanes by staring at an accident in the northbound lanes? There is no reason our side of the road needs to be stopped!

      • BearGHAZI

        not picking up after your dog

      • neminem

        Child molestation and talking at the theater?

      • TheBidenator

        being blah in a rich white neighborhood even if you live there (or your father does).

      • OrdinaryJoe

        Getting in the 12 item express checkout line when you have 13 items.

        • Lord-Nash

          OT, but I love this sign even if it is fake.

  • OneYieldRegular

    “we figure he should at least get some celebratory gunfire”

    Don’t forget, neighbors – shoot straight up.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    Eh, if the kid was charging at me, (and yes, I realize this is a very big if – I mean, who runs toward a guy poiting a gun?) I probably would have winged him, too. Extremely hypothetical in my case, since I’m not the kind of guy to pick up a gun to go vigilante in my neighbor’s backyard.

    At any rate, I’m glad Mr. Florida Man has a lousy aim. Was the TV injured at all? That’s whate he was protecting, the TV, right?

    • Anarchy Pony

      Pretty sure the primary objective was to find an excuse to shoot someone.

  • TheBidenator

    These Stand Your Ground BS defenses always reminds me of that episode of South Park where Ned and Jimbo go hunting with heavy weaponry and every animal no matter how small is “coming right for us!”

    • clubseal

      I hate these “castle” and “stand your ground” laws, as they have been abused time and again to turn otherwise non-fatal confrontations into deadly ones.

      We already had laws on the books that dealt with these kinds of situations, i.e., self defense.

      • Lord-Nash

        If only our civilization had organizations of people who were trained to deal with criminals. You know what would be awesome? If they were available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help keep order in society. Maybe they could even be available through a very short telephone number, no more than say three digits?

        Nah, it’ll never work.

        • Clifford Spencer

          when seconds count, the police are minutes away. there aren’t enough police to protect us all. the police aren’t there to prevent crime but to clean up the mess afterwards and try to figure out what happened. none of you would be so flippant and judgmental if you’ve been in the same situation. when someone chooses to break the law then they suffer the consequences. eos.

          • Lord-Nash

            Yes..precious seconds counted here to prevent this guys TV from being stolen…totally worth the possibility of killing someone.

            Police ARE there to prevent crime Cliff. Why else do you think they’re so thorough in murdering blah people that are in no way threatening the officers?

    • Spotts1701

      Yeah – had a case here, guy got off for killing someone who was squatting in a house he owned (but wasn’t living in). He claimed the guy reached for a weapon (actually a flashlight) and so that’s why he shot him. And kept shooting him. Even though the DA brought a ton of witnesses who said the defendant had said he was going to “take care of” the squatters because the police wouldn’t.
      But the guy’s old, a retired teacher, and white. And the victim was a drug addict. So the gun nuts not only adore him, they demand that the DA who brought the case be fired, disbarred and possibly put in the stocks to be the target of vegetables.

  • The Other Tim

    “Awesome! Just being a good neighbor. And that kid probably wouldn’t have gotten shot if he hadn’t charged”

    And the douche wouldn’t have felt in fear for his life if he had just called the police.

    • laineypc

      Life is short. Shoot whenever the opportunity might be created to do so. You might never get another chance!

  • Villago Delenda Est

    OK, let’s review this.

    Guy sees some kid hauling a TV out of a house. So he shoots at him, hits the kid, kid drops the TV, TV breaks, and the homeowner (or his insurance company) is out the cost of a new TV.

    Now alternate scenario: confront the kid while brandishing firearm, kid drops the TV and attempts to flee, homeowner’s TV is broken.

    Another alternate scenario: call the cops, wait for them to show up, kid runs off with the TV, neighborhood watch follows the kid, TV is recovered, no cost to homeowner.

    • exinkwretch

      Geez, what a wet blanket! I suppose you expect the cops not to shoot the kid, too? (Barely possible, and only if the kid is white.)

    • aureolaborealis

      Where in your “alternate” scenarios do you simultaneously get to fulfill your gun porn and race war fantasies?

      FAIL, hippy!

    • OrdinaryJoe

      Jeezzuuzz wanted that delinquent kid shot to teach him a lesson and that’s why Gun Guy was there.

  • SuspectedDemocrat

    I’ve lived in my neighborhood longer than 3 years and we haven’t had a single shooting. What am I doing wrong?

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Move your entire neighborhood to Florida to correct this obvious flaw.

    • aureolaborealis

      Get thee to a gunnery.

  • TheBidenator

    I like how the scenario is laid out: first the kid runs away once he sees the guy, then he stops and charges the gun thus making it “Stand Yer Ground”….FFS, people actually believe this is how this shit went down?

    • aureolaborealis

      Yeah. I’m seriously praying to its Noodleness, the FSM for security cam footage.
      I guess a medical report stating the trajectory of the bullet might clarify things slightly, too. But is a non-NRA representative qualified to speak about gunshot wounds?

      • HogeyeGrex

        He was charging me so I shot him in the back.

    • Thaumaturgist

      Sometimes you don’t even need a lawyer to come up with a viable defense. Like to know how hard the cops leaned on the shooter.

    • Grokenstein

      But he was stealin’ a teevee! By huckin’ it through a winder!
      That makes perfect sense!!

  • AnOuthouse

    Hey its Florida Man, with a gun. A trip to the ER can’t be far behind.

  • The Other Tim

    I hope this guys is shunned by his neighbors for failing to kill the 16 year old. What kind of Floridian doesn’t kill his target?

  • MrBlobfish

    This is why Florida Teen will grow up to be Florida Man. This, and bath salts.

  • laineypc

    I just have to tell my little story about my friends’ husband who likes his guns. A lot. He is a super nice guy, good dad with a good tech job. He is not some RWNJ. A little anxious about the coming financial collapse is all. He goes with his gun friends to do fun gun things out in the country somewhere and shows us pictures of him with his super sniper scope, lying on the ground firing at stuff.

    Recently a little neighborhood dog was killed by some wild animals, and dude was all “Oh I will go get those wild animals with my gun and I will be a hero”. Every time some problem comes up, he has a gun solution. I never know if he is kidding but I do know he is thinking a lot about using his guns. It scares me because now there are people saying we need a neighborhood watch because people get stuff stolen out of their unlocked cars that they leave their laptops and purses in…. this guy will probably be like, oh yes, I will be the neighborhood watch captain….

    • Anarchy Pony

      When all you have is an assault rifle every problem looks like an enemy combatant attempting to engage with lethal intention.

      • zerosumgame0005

        see: cops

  • Logic of Color

    In some countries they’ll chop off your hand if you’re caught stealing. Pussies.

  • clubseal

    I know that I would charge at someone pointing a gun at me. It’s only logical.
    Also, too, maybe we should start pricing out televisions by how injured you should be for stealing one.
    “Ooh, that new 80-inch high-def tv is worth two bullets to the head!”

  • aureolaborealis

    I wonder if our hero, Gun Man™, was actually blocking the kid’s path. Thus running away = “He’s coming straight for us!”™ Which was then immediately followed by a gun boner of diamond-cutting Rockwell hardness.

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    Does it violate the rules for Commenting Radicals to say that I hope that they all fire their guns straight up into the air during this celebration, and then stand there? I’m willing to throw in the votes, if necessary.

    • Anarchy Pony

      The wind will probably catch the bullets and they’ll fall on some kids in a park nearby. WHO DESERVED IT!

  • Paperless Tiger

    As he peered through a broken window, the intruder heaved a television through it.

    What? Why would he heave a TV through a window. That would break it, so it would be useless. There’s something (everything) fishy about this story.

    • Doug Langley

      And the TV would hit the guy right in the face.

    • Boy you’ll never be a good journalist with skepticism like that. :-)

  • m3bosha

    Yes, I always run towards the guy with the gun, even though I was previously running away from the guy with a gun. Ain’t no logic like Florida logic.

    • SK

      GUY PEARCE MEMENTO LIBELZ!

  • toomanyrappers

    No training? No problem. Stand right out in the wide open, tell that bad guy to do what you say, and then fire the gun in his general direction.

    That’s how a Republican handles things.

  • dshwa

    Legalized vigilante-ism. What could go wrong?

  • DahBoner

    They’ve updated that 90’s bumpersticker…

    KILL YOUR TELEVISION THIEF

    http://img09.deviantart.net/e758/i/2010/068/c/c/kill_your_television_by_morningmorning.jpg

  • Tansy Geek

    Have the trolls come out to blame the victim yet?

    • Spotts1701

      *points downthread* Thataway, bub.

  • YayConspiracy

    Dear Gunhumper Magazine,

    I never thought this would happen to me. I am a Florida Man and went to a restaurant where I needed to go to the restrooms. But, oh dear, stall occupied! I peer under the door and see shoes pointing towards me. Clearly the occupier is lurching towards me! I pull out my shiny Glock .45 and shoot right through the door…

    Florida Man

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    I hear George Zimmerman hasn’t been shot at in a couple of weeks. Maybe we should introduce them.

  • Querolous
  • myexisinthetrunk

    …and if the kid was shot in the back, it was because he was loping backwards to attack Gumhumper with his ass. or something something ….

    • ahughes798

      No, it’s because all young black males have “ShouldergunTM” installed automatically at age 15. It’s a gun that’s mounted on their shoulders, pointing backwards. So yes, it’s okay to shoot fleeing black youth.

  • Celtic_Gnome

    I’ve never understood why people with guns are so afraid of people without guns.

    • Ricky Gay

      usually after the fact…

  • Lord-Nash

    Just had to have a similar conversation with RWNJ about a very similar thing on MyFace. People in the neighboring town are being threatened with 500 dollar a day fines for signs that say “Drug dealers we will call the police on you” yadda yadda. The fine is because the township has a sign ordinance these signs violate. The outrage is palpable. Of course the first solution is “I’ll just get out my high powered rifle and shoot the darkie!” or something like that don’t quote me.

    Why, why WHY does the first fucking thing we have to do now is take out a goddamn gun FUCKING WHY!?!?!?!!?!1

    Edit: Oh, and as soon as I point out the obvious danger in firing a high powered rifle in a residential neighborhood, I’m greeted with “Oh look at that crazy reaction. I was just kidding herp a derp”. Yeah, right you were kidding you fucking twat. Sorry guys but this shit makes me so pissed I can’t see straight.

  • LewisLovesLiberals

    That 2.00 dollar bullet just saved us taxpayers thousands from having to feed an house this young criminal in the making. Yayyy!

    • Sterculius

      Could have been spent on a condom and then you wouldn’t be here embarrassing yourself.

      • LewisLovesLiberals

        Embarrassing myself? No… Sparing myself the knowledge that society actually contains people with the mindset that I see in these articles and comments? yes. The fallacy you people want to believe is that cute little innocent 16 year old boys aren’t capable of beating the shit out of an elderly man. Google “16 year old boy charged in beating” and enlighten yourselves.

        • Sterculius

          The article was about Asshole Teabagger with Gun Shoots Unarmed Boy … read it again.

        • Joel R

          Yes a 16 year old can beat up an elderly man and a elderly man can shot and kill a 16 year old . Whats worse.

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