We are really letting our standards down here in Florida.
Case in point. We had a drive-by shooting in South Florida earlier this month that featured a gunman on a bicycle.
I know that gasoline prices are high but this is ridiculous. Standards, people. We must have standards.
It's reasonable to assume that an essential element to a drive-by shooting is some sort of motorized form of transportation. A guy pedaling a bike with a gun is, well … er, um … just a guy pedaling a bike with a gun. You don't drive a bicycle.
Authorities released a photo of the unknown Broward County gunman, who allegedly fired at a fire-rescue truck in Lauderhill as he pedaled by. He held onto the handlebars with his left hand, holding the gun in his right.
Even more alarming, he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Drive-by shooting in Florida redefined?
Traditional drive-by shootings that involve motorized vehicles have insurance implications. A seminal case decided in 1994 by the New Jersey Supreme Court found that people injured in drive-by shootings are covered by their own auto insurance policies.
“In our view, the automobile did more than provide a setting or an enhanced opportunity for the assault,” the court’s decision read. “In addition to allowing the assailant to be at a place of attack, it furnished the assailant with what he must have assumed would be both anonymity and a means of escape.
“The assailant would not likely have committed such an act of apparently random violence without a car.”
Pedal-by shootings provide neither anonymity (especially without a helmet), nor a reliable means of escape (especially if the getaway route is uphill.)
Or to put it another way, it’s hard to commit random acts of violence on a Huffy.
And as long as we’re addressing the unusual phenomenon of drive-by shootings on bicycles, can we talk another very-Florida unusual phenomenon?
Sobriety checkpoint in Walmart, Aisle 5
I’m talking about drunk-driving arrests inside Walmarts. Yes, that’s a thing, too.
In July, a 39-year-old man was charged with DUI inside a Melbourne Walmart. He was booked for operating a motorized scooter inside the store while being inebriated.
The man, identified as Aaron Gregory, was running into shelves of merchandise in a motorized cart and scaring other customers. He was driving the scooter with an open bottle of Smirnoff vodka in his cart, according to the arrest report.
If he had opted for another brand, it would have allowed headline writers to say that he led police on a “Grey Goose chase” throughout the store.
You’ll not be shocked to learn that Gregory is not the first Florida man to be cited for drunken driving inside a Walmart.
Florida statutes define a “vehicle” as “every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.”
And so police departments, concluding that it would be possible, at least theoretically, to drive a Walmart motorized shopping cart on I-95, have charged in-store scooter drivers with DUIs.
That’s a stretch. The top speed of a motorized shopping cart is about 10 miles per hour. Even the Century Village drivers are going to beep at you if you drive that slow on the highway.
The point is, it doesn’t take being in a car or truck to get a DUI. Some guy in Ohio probably has the record for the most unusual DUI vehicle. He took to the road on a bar stool mounted on top of a lawnmower, after drinking 15 beers, according to his drunken-driving citation.
Say neigh to drunk driving on a horse
And in 2017, a Florida woman in Polk County was arrested for DUI on a horse.
The 53-year-old woman was riding the horse on the side of a road in a manner that caused other drivers to call police. In a roadside stop, officers asked the woman to dismount, and then gave her a roadside sobriety test and breath test that she failed. She was charged and her horse was impounded.
“We’re going to arrest you for DUI if you’re weaving on your horse,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at the time.
So, to recap: You can do a drive-by shooting on a bicycle, and you can get a drunenk-driving arrest inside a Walmart or on a horse.
Oh, and being that this is hurricane season, I would be remiss if I didn’t amplify some of the previous warnings issued by Florida sheriffs at this time of year.
If a hurricane approaches, don’t use your weapons to shoot at the sky. This is also a Florida thing.
Shooting at hurricanes will not change their paths. But the falling bullets may get misidentified as evidence of a drive-by shooting.
And that’s just going to create some faulty suspicion against some unfortunate bicycle riders.
Frank Cerabino is a columnist at the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Florida crime: DUI in Walmart, Bicycle drive-by shooting