Florida Man Breaks INTO Jail; Gets Tasered & Body-Slammed
It’s not hard to find humor in a headline like “Florida Man Breaks INTO Jail.” It’s not even half hard. What is difficult however, is finding something more to the story. Not more laughs, mind you. But more humanity.
Let’s first get the punchline out of the way.
Last week 41-year-old Michael Ray Few attempted to break into the Lake County Detention Center by crawling through its x-ray security machine. The attempt, which also included a lot of running around and ducking behind columns, was all captured by the jail’s security cameras. So was Few’s subsequent tasering and bodyslamming.
We got the goods from Zachary Rogers at The Messenger, who, in turn got it from Dani Medina at Orlando’s FOX 35 (WOFL). Both sources cited the Lake County Sheriff’s Office characterization of a “bizarre and unusual scene.”
Both sources also shared footage from the Lake County Jail’s CCTV network, as well as Mr. Few’s tear-streaked mugshot.
It was that mugshot which first gave us pause. See, once we learned Mr. Few was homeless and in possession of a meth pipe, we went into Full Stop.
If we had our moral compass in hand, we would have paused to a stop before even proceeding past the headline.
After all, breaking into jail is a sure sign that something’s amiss.
Nothing Funny About Mental Illness, Homelessness or Addiction
In Few’s case, something was seriously amiss. To begin with, he was high on meth. No, we don’t know how much meth, let alone how long he’d been smoking it. Then again, we really don’t need to know. The intensely suspicious manner in which he ducks around the jailhouse lobby reeks of paranoia, which is perhaps methamphetamine’s most telltale sign.
That wasn’t the only evident sign, of course. Few being shirtless and roaming the streets in the wee hours of the morning was also a sure sign. As was trying to use the facility’s x-ray machine as some kind of portal. Where Mr. Few was looking to go is anybody’s guess, but he sure as hell wanted to be somewhere other than where he was.
And that might be the crux of the entire episode. On that night, at that time, Mr. Few simply wanted to be somewhere else.
Haven’t you ever felt that way?
Of course you have. We all have. Many of us have used drugs to try to get there too. And yes, sadly, a lot of us ended up homeless as a result.
On the street and on drugs can lead to unhinged in the blink of an eye. (Or a hit from a pipe.) Especially if one’s suffering from some pre-existing mental condition. And when unhinged does arrive, nobody really knows just what they will do.
Maybe Lake County Jail was the last place Mr. Few got the proverbial “three hots and a cot.” Or perhaps it was the last place where he’d even been addressed with even a modicum of respect. After all, it’s unlikely anyone but county officials and LEOs called him “Mr. Few.”
Lake County Jail could also have been the last place where Mr. Few received his needed medication(s).
No, it’s not hard to find humor in a Florida Man breaks into jail story. But once you put a name and a face to that tale, it’s not hard to find some humanity in it either.
Heck, it’s not even half hard.
Florida Man Gets Help
FOX 35’s report says “Michael Ray Few was arrested and charged with burglarizing an occupied structure, felony criminal mischief, battery on a law enforcement officer and introduction of contraband into a secured facility.”
It also says Mr. Few was subsequently transported to AdventHealth Waterman to be evaluated “due to his paranoia and altered mental state.”
“At the time of this writing,” the report continues, “Few remains in the hospital.”
We can only hope he’s receiving enough help to keep him from having to attempt another jail break-in.
Florida Man became a meme on May 26, 2012 after Rudy Eugene tried to eat the face off Ronald Poppo at the foot of Miami Beach’s MacArthur Causeway. Eugene, who was shot dead by police when he wouldn’t stop attacking Poppo, had apparently been high on bath salts. That high became the basis for a bona fide sensation.
Nine months later, a GQ journo named Freddie Campion birthed the @_FloridaMan Twitter account. Its tagline: “Real-life stories of the world’s worst superhero.” And while Campion built the account into an internet blockbuster (and anonymously at that), he eventually found that making massively-trafficked fun of people on the worst day of their lives wasn’t all it may have been cracked up to be. And in 2019, the Florida Man account did what all Floridians do, it RETIRED.
Florida Man “is a man of a thousand tattooed faces, a slapstick outlaw, an Internet-traffic gold mine, a cruel punchline, a beloved prankster, a human tragedy and, like some other love-hate American mascots, the subject of burgeoning controversy,” wrote Hill.
Yet “Florida Man [also] profits by punching down at the homeless, drug-addicted or mentally ill.”
Oh, Florida Man himself doesn’t profit; his packagers and purveyors do though. Often quite handsomely.
Or they used to profit anyway. Hill’s feature hit in 2019, after Campion retired the Florida Man meme and all kinds of people started second-guessing its humor, as well as its civility.
In fact, Hill’s feature itself was an exploration into Florida Man’s worthiness, comic and otherwise. And while Hill began his exploration via the tale of a Florida Man who’d lost his Crocs in a crocodile enclosure while getting one of his feat nearly eaten off, the citing wasn’t at all gratuitous.
Besides, how can you resist a story that begins with “I remember half of what happened … and half of what didn’t”?
But it’s what croc-case handling Judge Howard Maltz told Hill which pretty much ended the argument altogether.
“We laugh at these stupid things,” said Judge Maltz. “But there are tragedies behind many of them.”
In this particular Florida Man’s case, the tragedy included a long history of substance abuse, as well as losing three relatives to drugs over the previous year alone.
Doctors were able to save the foot.
We Are All Florida Man
Healing Properties believes we are all Florida Man. Any one of us, at any moment, is liable to do something meme-able. That’s not to say we’ll attempt to break into jail or chew off somebody’s face or wrestle crocs in our Crocs. It doesn’t have to. Because all it takes is the littlest something, punned just right, to put you on blast. And if that something doesn’t wreck your life, the subsequent social media notoriety probably will.
Think about it.
Better still, think about the story behind the Florida Man story. Is the person homeless, addicted and/or suffering from mental illness? Then maybe they should get a pass.
No, we don’t mean forgive five star felonies. We mean, when someone does something that hurts themselves more than anyone else, we may want to give ‘em a break.
Last week, we wrote about Miami-Dade County’s Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery, which is designed to address the mental health of those in the criminal justice system.
One can only wonder what such a facility could do for a Florida Man like Mr. Few.