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calendar   Saturday - October 01, 2005

Scaring The Tourists In Florida

Two things to note here: (1) this piece comes from a French news source (Agence France Presse) and (2) the French are warning tourists coming to Florida to mind their manners and don’t rile the natives. That speaks volumes about the French who are obnoxious as hell to tourists in their country. Maybe the Frogs need to let us carry when we visit them. Who knows, it just might improve Franco-American relations.

Personally, I think this ad by the Brady Campaign really sucks badly but it may have one unintended purpose: the tourists will act reasonably, have a good time and most importantly, won’t offend anyone while they’re in the Sunshine State. And no one will get shot fer crying out loud. Like in the Old West, just knowing everyone had guns made folks act real friendly and polite. Something we could use more of nowadays (especially from our Frog friends) ....

imageimageAttention: Testy Visitors Risk Being Shot in Florida
MIAMI (AFP)

Welcome to Florida, but avoid arguments or thanks to a new law you run the risk of getting shot, according to an ad campaign launched by a gun-control group. The campaign coincides with a state law that enters into effect authorizing gun owners to shoot anyone in a public area who they believe threaten their safety.

The law, supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA), was approved by the state legislature in April. Governor Jeb Bush described it as a “good, common sense, anti-crime issue” when he signed it into law. His is a brother of US President George W. Bush.

Supporters call it the “Stand Your Ground” law, while opponents call it the “Shoot First” law. Under the previous law gun owners had first to attempt to withdraw and avoid a confrontation, and were authorized to shoot the threatening individual inside their home or property. Critics say the current law allows gun owners to shoot if they engage in a simple argument. Supporters say that criminals will think twice when they try to attack someone in public.

Before the law was “on the side of the criminal,” said Marion Hammer, head of Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former NRA president. “The new law is on the side of the law-abiding victim,” Hammer said. Enter the Washington DC-based Brady Campaign to Control Gun Violence. The group will run ads in US and British newspapers warning tourists planning to visit Florida that a “nervous and frightened” Florida resident could shoot to kill. “Warning: Florida residents can use deadly force,” the ad states.

“If you are involved in a traffic accident or near-miss, remain in your car and keep your hands in plain sight. If someone appears to be angry with you, maintain to the best of your ability a positive attitude, and do not shout or make threatening gestures,” the ad reads. The Brady Campaign promises to also run ads in French, German and Japanese newspapers if they can stretch their budget. They also plan to hand out fliers and post signs on the Florida highways with the warnings.

“It is reasonable to make people know that while they’re visiting Florida they should take the right precautions to avoid potentially being victims of violence,” Brady Campaign spokesman Peter Hamm told AFP. The group is named after Jim Brady, spokesman for president Ronald Reagan. Brady received a gunshot that paralyzed him when a mentally disturbed man shot Reagan in 1981.

Florida tourist authorities are hardly amused by the campaign. “The Brady Campaign is one group’s political agenda and not a safety and education issue,” fumed Bud Nocera, executive director of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism office, who described it as a “scare tactic” campaign. “It is sad that such an organization would hold the 900,000 men and women who work in the Florida tourism industry, and whose lives depend on it, hostage, to their political agenda,” he added.

Nocera said the campaign would have no impact on the millions of tourists that visit Florida, numbering 80 million in 2004. “I can’t understand why anybody would be opposed to telling visitors what the law is,” said Hamm. “No state in America has ever passed a law like this one.” The Brady Campaign is “not telling anybody that they shouldn’t visit Florida. My family and I vacation in Florida every Easter and were intending to do so. But I’m going to make sure that none of the people in my family get into a loud argument while we are there,” he said.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 10/01/2005 at 01:55 PM   
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