The Gangs of Palm Beach County

The sheriff said the county is about to become Miami back in the "Miami Vice" days, what with the Top 6, the MS-13, the San Castle Soldiers, and the other gangs. 101 murders last yr. Gangs responsible for more than half (and maybe 3/4) of all the violent crime. [Palm Beach Post via Miami Herald] And, by the way, 49 murders in Orlando last yr (vs. 30 the yr before) and 64 more in unincorporated Orange County. Four more in Orlando in one day, to kick off the new year. [Miami Herald] Eight in the first 12 days of the year in Jacksonville. [WJXT-TV (Jacksonville)]

And Speaking of Murders
The Florida Times-Union analyzed 364 homicides over 3 yrs, tracking 160 known or suspected murderers, to see what the price of slipshod justice is. Result: Innocent people certainly do get murdered by bad guys who ought to have been in lockup at the time. From the Times-Union: "Some of the killers interviewed . . . say criminals know that getting arrested often means avoiding any significant time behind bars. [One convicted murderer] said many criminals grow accustomed to their cases being quickly dismissed. 'You get fed three times a day. You got a bed. You get to go outside and play basketball. Even catch up with some homeboys that you ain't seen in a long time . . . Then you're back out on the street . . . because they done dropped the charges.'" And this is Duval County, where judges and prosecutors are tougher than in most places. [Florida Times-Union]

Tampa's Ridiculous Extreme Home Makeover
The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition TV show somehow selected a family on fashionable Davis Islands to build a new home for, free, in 7 days (disproving the old iron law that an infinite number of Florida contractors, paid an infinite amount of money, still would never finish a job in 7 days). They were needy and deserving of help, said the producers. Well, their 1,700-sq.ft., $368k house was demolished by an out-of-control airplane trying to land at a nearby airport, and they had no insurance. Still, it's hard to believe that more worthy (and tear-evoking) situations don't exist for the show, even in the Tampa Bay area. Plus, how come they didn't have insurance? So now they have a much more valuable, 3,500-sq.ft. home. Nothing against them, personally; Yr Editor would probably accept a gift like that. It's just the orgasmic squealing by Tampans, including the mayor (who pulled some strings on the building permit and fire and police protection for the shoot), that's galling. One sees more clearly why President Bush never really asked for Americans to sacrifice for the war in Iraq (beyond the 130,000 soldiers and Marines and their families): Americans are just too busy getting all happied up about stuff like this! [Tampa Tribune]

Your Daily Loser
Farrah Faye Huff, 19, wound up in the guest bedroom of the Sabos of Port Richey early Sunday morning. Unfortunately, she was in her pickup truck at the time. Then, trying hard to drive out, she gear-shifted: R, D, R, D, R, D. Nowhere. Robert Sabo begged her to stop, because she was just further obliterating their antique bed. "I'm sorry," said Huff, "but I'm mad at my parents." Looking around, she said, "Joshua can fix this. If you don't call the law, we can get around this." The stats: $65k estimated damage, .163 blood-alcohol reading, 0 sightings of Joshua. [St. Petersburg Times]

More Things To Worry About Today
If you have to specialize in a certain type of theft (as this Fort Lauderdale mother and daughter did), I'm not sure that stealing portable generators from homes would be the area I'd go into [WPLG-TV (Miami)] . . . . . For the first time in 30 yrs, United Van Lines says it moved more people out of Florida last yr than into Florida [WPLG-TV (Miami)] . . . . . All you ideologues who say the gov't could never run health care need to explain why the Veterans Health Administration hospital system is the gold standard [Tampa Tribune].

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