Yes, we are still covering the
Orlando Food Not Bombs (OFNB) controversy with dutiful regularity – on July 6, two more people were arrested for sharing food at Lake Eola Park without a permit, blah, blah, blah, you can find the details online (Bloggytown, “Two more arrested at Lake Eola as city preemptively trespasses activists,” July 7) – but what’s waaaay more interesting is that on the same day, we probed the minds of fellow Orlandoans with this tremendously important question: Did you, like, totally flip out when you heard the Casey Anthony verdict?
While most news reporters focused on laying bare the emotions of the average (wo)man on the street upon hearing that Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, we found that there really wasn’t as much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on downtown as the TV news would have led us to believe. Shocking, we know.
“Everybody needs to just let it go, whether she’s guilty or not,” server Cathy Bink said over a valley of empty stools at Mucho Tequila and Tacos. “The prosecution didn’t have enough to nail her on anything, so if it can’t be proven, then it can’t be proven. So leave her alone.” Across the street, fresh-faced young valet attendant Andrew Myers raised a similarly sobering point. “I don’t care, bro,” he said. “I’m sure it happens everyday – we just don’t hear about it.”
Meanwhile, Metro Espresso Pizza Café’sresident good Samaritan, Jason Morrow, was despondent about the mindlessness of the trial. “I think it’s just a soap operathat they want to throw in front of our faces to dilute our anger from what’s really going on,” he said. (Like the arrests of a bunch of activists feeding the homeless, maybe? More on that later.)
Next door at the Alta Moda Salon, Hira Anees, Diana Muñoz and a woman who would only give her first name, Kaylin, said the trial had caused some serious self-examination. “There’s your reactionary brain and your brain which is going to rationalize,” Anees said. “If you’re just going to react, that’s going to be instinctive – ‘Hey, I want her killed!’But where is that really coming from? What’s the information that’s been provided?”
“But I don’t know, having a decomposed body in your trunk, I think they could tie you to a fricking murder,” Muñoz protested.
“Just having a decomposed body in your trunk does not necessarily mean that you put that there, though,” Kaylin reminded her, tongue in cheek. We hope.
After some obligatory O.J. Simpson quipping, we left for the food sharing, and upon arriving at Lake Eola, spoke with homeless man Sean Rogers, who was convinced that Anthony’s parents were complicit in Caylee’s murder. “She was on so many drugs, she couldn’t have done that herself,” Rogers said.
Plainclothes city police officer Rich Ruth, relieved of the responsibility of having to videotape and count the number of individuals being fed by OFNB members, found a minute to meditate on the trial. “The state had their top prosecutors on it – nobody could have done a better job,” Ruth said. “But personally, I think she’s guilty.”
Later, the Weekly found anarchist and longtime OFNB member Ben Markeson standing beside an idling police paddywagon. “I think it shows that José Baez is a better lawyer than a lot of people thought, and I think Casey Anthony should be grateful to him for the rest of her life,” Markeson said. “I don’t give a damn about Casey Anthony, but I feel sad for that little girl,because she never had a chance to live, you know?”
Markeson’s mortal enemy, Mayor Buddy Dyer (or, as Markeson calls him, John Dyer), did not arrive at an opposing conclusion when asked about the Anthony trial. Instead, he safely opted to compliment another powerful public official. “Judge Perry did a really good job in handling the courtroom and the whole spectacle, and came across in a manner that I think reflected well on Orlando,” Dyer said.
Speaking of things that reflect on Orlando, how about those food-sharing arrests?
Other things that don’t reflect
well on anybody: Not reporting your child missing when you can’t seem to find her for more than a month, lying to your mom about your fake nanny, lying to police, giving people the finger and getting caught on tape doing it. That last one is particularly ugly if you’re part of the defense team that helped the woman who was just tried for murder, manslaughter, child abuse and more beat the rap on all but the lying-to-police business.
It’s even uglier when you and your team is caught, say, in a bar across the streetfrom the courthouse, toasting your big win with your colleagues while the media, which you’ve just verbally abused, and mobs of angry villagers demanding Justice for Caylee,are milling about outside.
Cheney Mason,one of Anthony’s attorneys, was whooping it up with José Baez and other Team Anthony legal types at Terrace 390 after the jury declared Casey not guilty of killing her daughter. When he caught sight of an AP reporter snapping photos of their happy hour, Cheney issued the one-finger salute (a similar act landed a Casey groupie, the hapless young Matthew Bartlett, six days in jail when he directed that same gesture toward a prosecutor in the courtroom during the trial).
The images of Mason have since made the rounds, and the defense team is being roundly chastised for being, among other things “insensitive and loutish,” according to The Daily Mail, which also noted that defense lawyer Dorothy Clay Simswas spotted “jigging up and down,performing a victory dancefor her colleagues before turning her phone towards outraged onlookers to film their shocked reactions.” Now that’s class!
Next order of business for Mason: He goes on to represent former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greerwho is accused of embezzling $125,000 in party donations. It’s a tough job representing the dregs of society, but somebody’s got to do it.
Speaking of dregs, Gov. Rick
Scott’s relationship with the mainstream media has always been a fractious one, so we weren’t surprised to find out from the South Florida Sun Sentinel on July 4 that Rick Scott’s website had added a template letter for Scott supporters to bludgeon editorial boards with. “While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick is refreshing because he’s keeping his word,” the letter states. “Some of the special interests are attacking the Governor for making tough decisions, showing leadership and doing what he told us he would do. Rick Scott deserves our unwavering and enthusiastic support.”
But, as the article reports, “at the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel, editorial page editors reported they’ve received none of the template letters but have received letters mocking the template.”Many of these are undoubtedly the fruits of a Mad Libbing contest from the “Pink Slip Rick”campaign, which has generated 1,738 variations on the letter as this issue goes to press. The entries range from the bluntly clever – “While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick is awful because he’s keeping his oath” – to the bizarre – “Some of the participants in the politically correct miss brown sugar pageant are violently forking the Governor for making tough forks, showing fork and timidly forking fork.” It’s also silly: after all, who needs a fork to drink blood?