It's almost like he did it on purpose. In the same week New Times published the results of a weird-crime-off between Florida and Texas (which Florida won, duh), police arrested Tyree Lincoln Smith. The official charge: murder. The freaky details: Dude allegedly killed a man in Connecticut, then ate his eye and part of his brain.
Most of the country is going to follow this story as if it were an episode of Law & Order: Special Cannibalism Unit. But we hardened Floridians will barely bat an eye. This is the state of mobile meth labs and squatters' villages for pedophiles -- one hungry murderer won't trouble us none.
Undeniably, when it comes to law breaking, Florida is the wackiest of them all. But why? What is it about this state that draws illegal freaks from across the country? The answer: everything.
There's a sucker around damn near every corner in this state, just waiting to be snatched up and made part of some madman's evil scheme. You've got your backwoods rednecks in the north, your barely conscious elderly retirees in the south, and a steady supply of trusting, adorable children coming into Orlando every day. If you're an out-of-state criminal looking for a thrill, crossing the Florida border has gotta make you feel like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. Where to plunder first?
Plenty of Places to Hide the Evidence
Where can't you dump a body in this state? Head out to the Everglades and give the gators a free lunch, or take a boat out to the Gulf Stream and send your victims floating on their way. From the lesser-known and practically abandoned Florida Keys to the Gulf Coast wilderness, freaky cannibals have their choice of unpopulated places to stash their leftovers. If Dexter has taught us anything, it's that in Florida, no matter where you are, there's a secret, hidden corpse within 30 feet of you at all times.
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This one's a no-brainer. If you've just done a very bad thing and are hoping to duck the cops, Florida's your best bet. South Florida police officers are too busy partying with bachelorettes, injuring innocent beachwalkers, and harassing the gays to scout out any actual criminals. Thank heavens they picked up Smith in the Panhandle; if he'd made it to Miami, he'd have never been seen again.
Florida's not a state full of freaky felons. We're a state full of freaks, some of whom happen to be felons. There are some very pleasant folks down here, well-intentioned people who do a lot of good in their lives. But admit it. We're all, well, a little off. And that makes it easy for other weirdos with mischief on their minds to blend in with our general populace.
A Little R&R
Maybe we're overthinking this. Criminals probably come to Florida for the same reason everybody else does. We've got gorgeous beaches with gorgeous weather to match. We've got fun theme parks and exotic wildlife. We've got spas and yoga and killer Latin cuisine. If you were looking for a place to run, knowing it might be the last taste of freedom you'd ever have, wouldn't you come to Florida? At least you'd be surrounded by the beauty of nature (and strippers) before they put you away.