Florida, being a state with basement-level IQs (but no basements), does its fair share to compete in the Darwin Awards. And this week is no different. Allow us to present Exhibit A: the late Charles Cooper, 49, of Volusia County.

Ol’ Coop was out in the woods with some friends, drinking (of course), and thought to himself, Self, I think I should play with a gun right now, that seems like a good activity while I am shit-faced plastered. And so Cooper retrieved a handgun, and, well …

Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that Charles Cooper, 49, and a female friend were on property that Cooper owns in Mims, with plans to fish and barbecue. The couple had been drinking and sometime while they were outdoors Cooper retrieved a handgun, deputies said. A friend told Cooper that he had removed the magazine from the handgun but questioned aloud whether there was still a round in the chamber.

In Florida, as it turns out, there is only one good and proper way to determine if, in fact, there is a bullet in the chamber.

Deputies said Cooper raised the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, discharging a fatal round. He fell to the ground next to the bonfire.

That should be good for at least a Silver Medal, no?

We Can’t Even Do Jails Good

So you know how everyone’s freaking out about those dudes who escaped from a prison in New York? (At least they were until a certain racist shit-for-brains reminded us that South Carolina has basically not progressed all that much since The Lost Cause. Related: According to pencil dick’s maybe-manifesto, it seems he became racially aware after prototypical Florida Man George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. All roads lead to Florida.) Well, Florida has already pissed on that particular fire hydrant, and a good many times at that.

According to a recent study by the Associated Press, there are 63 Florida inmates unaccounted for by the American prison system. That's three times more than the next state to provide data (Alabama) and a proto-Australia-level of convicts just walking around not behind bars.

She Really Wants Out

What if you wanted to leave Florida so bad — understandable — but couldn’t? This is a very distressing thought. And after racking her brain, one Florida Woman came upon an answer, and it goes like this: Threaten to shoot the president (bad!) and the governor (also bad! even if he is an asshole), then get deported. Genius!

Ruba Khandaqji, of Celebration, was indicted Thursday, the Department of Justice said.

Khandaqji, 37, made headlines after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said she called the Osceola County Sheriff's Office in late March and made threatening remarks, saying she wanted to be deported to her native country of Jordan.

"I'm going to hire a hit man and kill whomever I can kill," Khandaqji told the dispatcher. "Why? Because it will deport me to my homeland directly."

That homeland, by the way, is Jordan. But she won’t be getting there soon. Threatening the president lands you some time in the federal pen. But, you know, there’s always escape. In Florida, that seems to be pretty easy, after all.

More Ingenuity!

Let’s say a mean bank has foreclosed your home just because you won’t pay, no fair, and now wants to sell that home on the market. This makes you very angry, because banks are evil. And, being a Florida Man, you need to do something about it:

A man who didn't want a bank to sell his foreclosed home tried to blow it up using a bowling ball as an explosive, deputies said.

Tyler Butler, 21, of Loxahatchee, was arrested Monday on charges of arson and using an explosive device, according to a Palm Beach sheriff's arrest report.

This story, meanwhile, is actually kinda clever:

Walter, Jesse, Saul — the whole Breaking Bad crew made a surprise appearance at a secret drug lab inside a Miami-Dade home.

Not the actual characters, but their stylized artsy images, which were portrayed on paper tabs dipped in LSD.

Investigators say the psychedelic drug — popularized in the Hippie era — was discovered in the Northwest Miami-Dade town home of Raul Puig, 29, who is accused of operating a mad-scientist style lab not unlike the crime drama’s fictional kingpin Walter White.

Mildly amusing: That the Herald felt the need to tell everyone that the hippies loved them some acid.

The Best Justice Money Can Buy

Florida, being Florida, does not always invest in the things it needs. Like, you know, judges. It is much better for all of us that rich dudes get tax cuts from their rich-dude governor, of course. And besides, in Florida, if you are rich enough, you can buy your own judge.


It can take a year or two for people to have a trial in Central Florida, but those who want to skip the line can hire a private judge to handle their case.

"My marketing motto is: 'How would you like your trial tomorrow?'" said Robert Evans, who worked as a judge in Orange County for more than 20 years before leaving public office. Now, he conducts private trials -- for paying customers -- at his Florida Private Trials practice.

These private trials, of course, allow for speedy dispute resolutions and, maybe more important, the privacy of a closed conference room rather than an open courtroom, which comes in handy if, say, you’re a rich fella getting a nasty divorce and don’t want the world to know that you’ve been shagging the pool boy.

And all of this underscores the reality of Florida jurisprudence:

Orange County Chief Judge Fred Lauten said a lack of state funding over the years has slowed down the legal system. Back in 2000, Florida ranked No. 4 in the nation for trial judge funding. Now, Florida ranks No. 24.

"We have not had an increase in judges for about nine or 10 years, and now we're the third most populous state in the United States," Lauten said. "So we've continued to grow as a state, but the number of judges has remained static for about a decade."

Evans watched Florida's population -- and the workload -- increase firsthand during his time on the bench.

"The judges right now are handling 100 percent more cases than they were eight years ago," Evans said.

Jeb!’s Big Moment

Finally, Jeb! Bush announced for president this week — in which the son and brother of former presidents said, without the slightest hint of irony, “We don’t need another president who merely holds the top spot among the pampered elites of Washington” — and then a few days later reminded us that he is not, in fact, the Smart One.

As news of Dylann Roof’s longstanding and deeply rooted racist beliefs began to filter through the media yesterday, many of the Republican candidates for president nevertheless denied that race was the motivating factor. Taking their cues from Fox News, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham speculated that Roof was a “whacked out” opponent of “religious liberty,” just one of many “people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” […]

And yet, despite the abundance of evidence that Roof’s attack was racially motivated, GOP presidential front-runner Jeb Bush told attendees at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington today that he doesn’t “know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes.”

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Of course, Jeb! made sure to remind those folks that he had kept the brain-dead lady alive for a few pointless days against her husband’s wishes, and that he’s all about sticking his nose in your uterus.

Your next president, America.

That’s all for this week, Florida. At least we’re not South Carolina. Around here, you celebrate the small things.


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