Childrearing

Seven Reasons Florida Is A Terrifying Place To Raise Kids

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There’s a reason people say things like, “Must be Florida,” when they hear really odd news stories. Crazy stuff happens here all the time.  Not quite sure what the explanation is, I just know that watching the evening news has become akin to watching a live version of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – happening in my own backyard.

I moved here last year. I’ve lived in big cities my whole life, so it’s not like I’m not used to being exposed to odd things, people and experiences. Still – Florida takes the cake. It’s the perfect storm of racism, reptiles and just plain crazy.

 1. Sinkholes

Large Sink Hole Threatens To Swallow House In Southern Florida

As if figuring out when your kid can handle unsupervised play isn’t hard enough. Now you have to worry about him literally being swallowed by the earth under his feet. Sinkholes just happen here. Out of nowhere.

2. Alligators swimming in the streets.

Tom Bolack [Misc.]

What the hell? Have you seen Sharknado? It’s kind of like that, but not really and with alligators. Okay – it’s nothing like that, but alligators potentially wandering around the streets? Horrifying.

3. Giant pythons just showing up places.

Africian Rock Python

Oh, no big. It’s just an 18-foot python. This is the stuff of nightmares.

4. Florida Man

Florida Man

Florida Man

The “Florida Man” Twitter account is kind of entertaining – until you realize it’s filled with real news stories. Then it’s just terrible.

5. Racism

Political Map Of Florida

My husband has been “pulled over” while walking down the street 17 times since we moved here. That is a literal number, not an exaggeration.  I went to the drive-through bank window last week and the black security guard told me someone had called the cops on him the day before. Someone called the cops on a security guard at the bank. Jesus.

6. Stand Your Ground

Vigilantism in FloridaRacist vigilantes invoke this twisted law to kill kids. Some get away with it. Some sort of get away with it. I know people will remind me here that the law wasn’t invoked in trying either of these cases, but the mere existence of it still plays a huge role in the court of public opinion. It’s terrifying that any paranoid person with a gun can possibly get away with murder.

7. Pretty much everyone is armed.

shutterstock_161233040__1394466506_142.196.167.223

gilotyna4/ Shutterstock

I’m terrified of play dates, as I am pretty sure every household in this state has a gun in it. Not convinced that everyone knows how to safely store one.

Alligators, pythons, rampant racism, crazy people, sinkholes and a lot of guns. This was a poor decision on my part.

(photos: Getty Images)

77 Comments

  1. Paul White

    March 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    2,3,6 and 7 are all pluses to me…

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      You can take the principles of 6 and 7, to shoot 2 and 3!

    • Paul White

      March 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      aah man, why the hate for gators?

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I dunno, but they’re a load of croc!”

  2. Alicia Kiner

    March 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    With the combination of the “pulled over” experiences and the “stand your ground” law, I think I’d be afraid to live there too. Add in the very real possibility of alligators, and yeah, no thanks. People in general suck. Combine that with armed racists, and history gives us a pretty good indication of the horrible things that could happen. I’d be pretty freaked too. And I’m probably freaking you out more. Sorry 🙁

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Alicia, if your profile picture is any indication… you have NOTHING to worry about being “pulled over” 😉

    • Alicia Kiner

      March 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Ok, I’m a white girl. My husband, however is Korean, which makes my kids hybrids. So… make of that what you will

    • Bunny Lucia

      March 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Korean in the “I am obviously Korean.” way, or Korean in the “I could possibly be Mexican” way? Because if he’s obviously Asian I don’t think he’d get a lot of flack from the police.

      And that is Sad but True with Bunny Lucia

    • Alicia Kiner

      March 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      In the could possibly be Mexican way funnily enough. I didn’t believe he was Korean until he introduced me to his mom. He had a picture of her in his wallet that I thought was one of those sample pictures. He doesn’t look like Glenn in Walking Dead at all lol. His uncles do though.

  3. Eve Vawter

    March 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    #Mariaisdumb.

    IN BEFORE THE MARIA IS DUMB PERSON

    • CMJ

      March 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Maria “I HATE GUNS” Guido. or #mariaihategunsguido

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      DEMNITOHELL! I step away for 30 mins and yall took all the good jokes!

  4. Kay_Sue

    March 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    My sister is down there visiting for Spring Break (I am so sorry) and saw an alligator just yesterday. No idea where she is, but she was all excited….

    I imagine living with them with them day in and day out would kill the excitement a wee bit.

    • Paul White

      March 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      It’s a lot like living with any other large predator. You adapt and make accomodations. In the north, you don’t put out trash the night before (bears). In the southeast, you don’t let your dog go swimming in ponds.

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Yeah we have the occasional sighting, but it’s not enough for the excitement to die out.

    • Jessie

      March 11, 2014 at 4:02 am

      … I’m afraid to ask, but why don’t you let your dog swim in ponds in the southeast?
      I live on the weast coast of California, we don’t have much a predator issue here unless you travel inland just a bit to the mountains, where we have pumas. The worst we generally fear around here are the Dudebro Jersey Shore Wannabes. Oh, and the almost annual raging wildfire that threatens to consume the state in a blaze of fury.

    • Jessie

      March 11, 2014 at 4:04 am

      *west coast. And I should probably specify that I’m southern Californian, I’m sure northern California has some issues I wouldn’t know about.

    • Paul White

      March 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

      alligators have been known to eat dogs.

      Gators get good sized–10-15′ is normal for an adult.

    • Jessie

      March 12, 2014 at 5:05 am

      Ah, right, gators. I figured it had to be a predator of some sort. Good to know if I ever end up moving into gator territory.

  5. Crusty Socks

    March 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    You forgot to add hurricanes.

    Also, Dexter stopped operating, so you’ll have a higher number of bad killers vs. good killers.

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Please refrain from mentioning Dexter. It’s still a sore subject for me. 🙁 #WhyDexterWritersWhy

    • arrow2010

      March 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      You do realize Dexter is a fictional vigilante?

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      I’m trying to decide what level of sarcasm I should use to respond…

      http://44days.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/spinaltap-11-chicagonow.com_.jpg

    • brebay

      March 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      put that sucker on blast!

    • 1twothree4

      March 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      He is an annoying douchenozzle, isn’t he?

    • 1twothree4

      March 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      arrow2010 is an annoying douchenozzle, isn’t he?

  6. Elizabeth Licata

    March 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Would rather live in Sunnydale.

  7. Bethany Ramos

    March 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Fuck alligators. I really, really, really hate alligators.

    • Crusty Socks

      March 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Beth (I HATE ALLIGATORS) Ramos

    • val97

      March 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Alligators never bothered me as long as they are just lounging in the sun.However: alligators that are moving, swamp rats, palmetto bugs (such a nice name for monstrous cockroaches), snakes that are either poisonous or harmless but the markings are almost identical, and sharks all freaked me out when I lived there.

  8. Lilly

    March 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Florida, making Australia look inhabitable 😉

  9. guest

    March 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Cockroaches, palmetto bugs, big ass spiders…

    • Maria Guido

      March 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      I love that everyone is adding more to my list. hahaha Thanks for reminding me it sucks even more than I think it does.

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      I hate palmetto bugs, but I no longer complain about roaches after spending time in Central America…there was one as big as my foot. It was big enough that, when it crawled into the middle of the room, my roommate and I decided he could have the room….*shudders*

    • Ann

      March 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      The worst palmetto bug is the 3 inch long flying palmetto bug ***GIANT FLYING COCKROACHES*** that’s what nightmares are made of!

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      I had one of those fly across my kitchen once. It was not fun. Not at all.

    • Sri

      March 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Ugh. My husband was napping on the couch one lazy weekend, and he suddenly woke up and kicked his foot as hard as he could. As I started to laugh at him, I felt something walking on me. He had kicked one of those god forsaken things onto my freaking shoulder. When I yelled and knocked it off, it flew back up at my face. *shudder*

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Aggh. *shudders too*

    • Jessie

      March 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

      THIS THREAD IS THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES OH MY GODS.

  10. Maria Guido

    March 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    There are also a bunch of communities where everything looks the same. It’s like Stepford, Florida. Chills me to the bone. Forgot to mention that.

  11. Aimee Ogden

    March 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I did not know there was a Florida Man Twitter account! Now I can get all of my Florida Man needs met in one easy place.

    #5 is heck of depressing. Not that the northern states are a perfect bastion of progress (HA), but I once spent a few days in Louisiana with two other friends, one of whom is also a white woman and the other of whom would most likely be considered a black man by appearance (he’s half black, half Korean). Let’s just say, um, we got some looks that were not exactly kindly … but at least no one pulled us over when he was driving us around or walking around town with us. 🙁

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      I just followed it. I couldn’t help myself…

  12. C.J.

    March 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    My parents spend a month in Florida every year in their motorhome. They went to a park that they have never been to this year that isn’t one of the big tourist parks. Mom called me the other day and said she can’t believe how racist they are. She was shocked that people sit around on vacation and talk about their hatred of black people.

    • Me-Me

      March 12, 2014 at 12:37 am

      So honest question, but why were they surprised? It’s a lot more common I think than people really know. It’s not PC to express that these days, but its heavy out there and getting worse. I happen to not like black people or other races, Hell there’s not many people I DO like. The more shit stories we hear about the violence of blacks, the Mexicans demanding to be let in and protesting OUR immigration policies, the worse its going to get.

    • C.J.

      March 12, 2014 at 12:57 am

      We are Canadian, it is not like that here. At least in the part of Canada that I live in. No one really cares what colour your skin is where I live. We don’t have much violence and when there is violence it isn’t usually black people causing it. I don’t really care what colour someone’s skin is, I care what kind of person they are on the inside.

    • Me-Me

      March 12, 2014 at 1:15 am

      We were discussing the possibility of moving there cuz we hate what this country is turning into. Just what ya’ll want huh? I know my first impression is your race. But if after we talk, I find you are not what I assume you are, cool. My best friend is Mexican but I can say what I want around her and she usually agrees. Anywho, in my case, hating blacks wasn’t just how I was raised, I had experiences growing up that taught me first hand to dislike them, unless they aren’t the normal kind. There is so much violence here, which is why we carry. I would love to live in a place and raise my girl in a non violent society.

    • C.J.

      March 12, 2014 at 1:41 am

      We are so close yet so different sometimes.We still have violence in the big cities but not as much and it isn’t black people causing it. Most people I know don’t own guns unless they hunt. We definitely don’t carry them around. We have different views about a lot of things so we don’t always understand the racism and gun culture that exists in your country. Not that there isn’t racism here at all, it’s just different and mostly the older generation. There has been only 1 murder in the town I live in since we moved here 12 years ago. From what I have been told it is the only murder in decades. The nearest city to me has maybe 1 or 2 murders a year and went over 2 years without any murders a few years ago. It is unfortunate that you had experiences that caused you to distrust people because of skin colour. There are plenty of bad white people too.

    • Me-Me

      March 12, 2014 at 3:19 am

      I envy you that life. Oh I know bad comes in all colors. With Americans seeming to be all about guns, here we are just plain tired of the violence. Tired of criminals hurting innocent people because they can. We are tired of being victims. It is sad that it has come to that. That the only way you can feel somewhat safe is if you are carrying. But it is what it is. I’d rather not be a victim again. We are sick and tired of the violence. The legal carriers don’t usually add to that, we prevent it. In most cases. Not all. Should add that last part.

  13. SA

    March 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    You can add “Love Bugs” and “Noseeums”.

    Aren’t 5,6,& 7 pretty much the same thing. 😉

    I love that “Florida Man” is a thing.

  14. Marc

    March 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    The scariest thing about Florida for me is the 27 electoral college votes.

    • Kay_Sue

      March 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      You owe me a keyboard with that one.

  15. Alex Lee

    March 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    My office manager remembers the religious zealots during her time there.

    Like, having a revival right on the front lawn with flimsy patio furniture and an overtaxed PA system…

    ..and sideburns.

  16. jendra_berri

    March 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Well, I’m now following Florida Man because I can laugh at it. Because I don’t live in Florida.

    • Ann

      March 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I had the same thought, they also have a Florida Woman. Sad part, I live in Florida

  17. ALE515

    March 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Maybe it depends on what part of Florida you live in. Maybe it’s because I live in a gay friendly area, but I haven’t come across racists. And the lady alligator down the street from me found a mate, and I couldn’t be happier for her!

  18. Shelly Lloyd

    March 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    As a 3rd generation Floridian, I’m now wondering if I am no longer welcomed at Mommyish. Seriously we’re not all uneducated, gun-toting, bible thumbing, red-necks.

    • Ann

      March 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      I’ve been in Florida since 1988, I have 3 kids born here. I went to school here, my kids are all in college in Florida. I do not own a gun or a bible for that matter! I am married to a Chinese man, have black friends, one whose child calls me grandma! I look at the news here sometimes and shake my head wondering about this state but since I have not lived anywhere else in many years, I’m sure there are freaks in other places besides here!

    • Maria Guido

      March 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Aww – don’t ever say that. We love you. If I was born and raised here I would probably feel different.

    • val97

      March 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

      My family has lived in Florida so long that we have no idea what our ancestry is, but I still have to laugh at all of the crazy Florida stories.

    • Joye77

      March 12, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Everybody is hating on Florida these days! I agree with you. We aren’t all crazy people looking to shoot unarmed black kids. Trust me!.

  19. Sri

    March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I lived near Tampa for a while, and I was SHOCKED at how terrible the racism was. Our cemetery had a lynching tree in it, and it was known as the lynching tree. People used it as a landmark to give directions. OK, it was a boring town, so maybe that was the best landmark around but there was also a murder committed by the KKK and openly acknowledged by the KKK as their doing… in the 80’s. My husband’s company had 1 Black employee. If he repaired something and it broke a few weeks or months later, the other employees asked him if he “n***er rigged” it. It’s like jerry rigged, but with a racial slur in it. They also referred to his kids as “gator bait” because Florida used to use slave babies to lure alligators out of the water. I expected a few people to be racist, maybe a little bit more than the northern state I grew up in, but it was so far beyond that. It was so casual. It was just… accepted. They weren’t yelling and screaming at the employee, it was almost like they were joking and they honestly didn’t get why he didn’t find it funny.

    Also, you forgot the muck fires. In those perfect little Stepford communities, if the contractors cut corners (which a lot of them did) and didn’t properly remove the plants from the ground before landscaping it for construction, that plant life can compact into a coal-like substance. When lighting hits it (like the midday storms) it can start a fire UNDER THE GODDAMN GROUND.

    As a science teacher, there was also a LOT of pressure not to teach evolution. I guess that isn’t “terrifying” to most people, but the rampant anti-intellectualism was pretty scary as far as I was concerned.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      March 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      I’d be scared to live there just for the basic denial of proven science…
      there is proof of evolution.
      show me some dude in sandals who walked on water.
      then florida, we’ll talk.

  20. Joye77

    March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I am going to be the minority here but I like it in Florida. Maybe as a native I don’t know any better but I don’t mind it so much.
    The weather is beautiful and as a nature lover I have plenty of canals and waterways to go kayaking. Lovely state parks and here in SW FL we have some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country. I live in a retirement area which means plenty of jobs for a healthcare worker like myself. That also means that I live in a very diverse area with large populations of people from other countries which I love. I am within a few hours drive from too many amusement parks to even count and a ton of museums.
    Unfortunately, we have a lot of crazy tea party conservatives that think that Obama is going to turn us into a Muslim country or some nonsense so they go buying all kinds of guns to protect their freedoms or blah blah. They are most usually uneducated rednecks. Yeah, usually it’s the crazy rednecks that do all the stupid crap.

    • Ana

      March 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      I love Florida too, and have many fond memories of it. I only left because there weren’t many job opportunities for me and I wanted fall and winter. I cringe when I see articles like this, because while there is a lot of craziness I feel like it gets blown out of proportion because making fun of Florida is a cool thing to do right now.

    • Joye77

      March 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

      I feel like that too!

    • C.J.

      March 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      We have had about 80 inches of snow so far this winter and it isn’t over. We are supposed to get another 4 or 5 inches tomorrow night in to Wednesday. I think I might just be willing to put up with anything right now to not see any more snow. Well, except a hurricane. I’m good with never seeing one of those!

    • Me-Me

      March 12, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Oof, not sure I want to touch this one. I feel all sorts reading your post. First off, I am a LEGAL gun carrying, in process of law school educated redneck so I resent that. Grabbing guns to protect OUR freedoms? Yours too hunnie, and if you were being attacked, I bet you’d be happy I had a gun to save your life. And its usually crazy rednecks causing shit? Really? Really? Care to say how minority gangs, drugged out crack heads of all races, and other entitled people are trouble causing rednecks? Geez. No matter what you think, this country is on the verge of a dangerous change. I am also ex military. I fought for these freedoms you take for granted. Yes MY freedom and all other people legally allowed to carry guns. When this shit goes down, you will be happy that there were people who fought to keep our constitutionly given rights. Some day one of us crazy, uneducated rednecks might just save your life. Now as for the snow, I’m from Wisconsin and after 63+ inches this year, OVER it!

    • Joye77

      March 12, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Maybe it hard for me to understand why people need so many guns! I guess I live in a very safe area with relatively low crime so I don’t understand why I would need to protect myself. I see news stories weekly about another crazy fool with legal guns shooting up another mall or school.

    • Me-Me

      March 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      One is enough for me. One will do the job. Others could be just for practice and letting off steam. Unfortunately there is way too much violent crime. I’d rather not fall victim and be prey to these people. Oh there are crazy fools everywhere, with or without guns. And I think that even some people can legally carry, shouldn’t. They are considering taking mental health into account when issuing licenses, and I think they should. A deranged person with no criminal record has no business with a gun. I completely believe it should be damn hard to get weapons. Those of us who can, don’t have anything to worry about so it don’t matter to us. But criminals as a rule, don’t follow the law so.. I live in a small town. But shit happens. If I go to Milwaukee, I will be carrying live rounds. Screw that!

    • Bob

      July 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      I cannot believe you’re willing to go kayaking in these disgusting canals. You’re going to catch gangrene and die.

  21. RayneofCastamere

    March 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    This here is why Nash of WTFIWWY continuously curses the existence of Florida.

    Hell, in one episode completely centered around stories from Florida, his only solution was to call Emperor Palpatine and have him use the Death Star to laser beam Florida away from the rest of the country.

  22. Rachel Sea

    March 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    It’s not to late, you still have plenty of time to get your family to sell up and relocate before global warming puts Florida underwater.

  23. EmtheOwlish

    March 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

    We lived in Florida for three years after we moved back to the states from Indonesia (my dad is a mining engineer) and my parents swore that they never were so happy to see a place in their rear view mirror as when we left Florida. As my dad is fond of saying “it wasn’t the heat, it was the stupidity.” I don’t remember much of it, but it was apparently worse than Indonesia. My mom and her family are from South Louisiana and my dad grew up in the air force (he holds a special hatred for Texas) and THEY couldn’t deal with the crazy religious whackos or the racism. Or the angry old people. Or the ENDLESS toll roads. Or the terrible driving. Or the bugs. Or really just any of it except the Keys and Disney World. These are people who were used to using bleach to clean their broccoli in Indonesia because it was full of worms by the time it got to the mine.

    Fun story: We kinda imminent domain-ed a cat when we left because my mom didn’t want to leave him even though he belonged to our neighbor. The neighbor named him Michelob. After the beer. And he was pretty much left outside to fend for himself after he ate their bird, so we just shoved him in a carrier and left. Our (then) new neighbors in Colorado thought we were the drunks because of his name.

    Yet, for some reason, we vacation in Florida regularly to this day. Go figure.

  24. val97

    March 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

    This makes me miss my home state.

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