Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case – Bare Platypus Shares Personal Insight

Since late February news media have dispatched story upon story and commentary upon commentary about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin following an altercation between the 17 year old black youth and an armed neighborhood watch citizen named George Zimmerman.  The case has sparked discussions about race, justice, various interpretations of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, self-defense, the actions of police personnel, investigation procedures, and what happened that night.
 
Bare Platypus has NOTHING to say to those issues, either way, because… you know what?  We weren’t there. 

But Bare Platypus HAS been to Sanford, Florida in Seminole County. Home to the neighborhood so thoroughly “watched” by Mr. Zimmerman where the incident took place.  Our experience shows that Seminole County residents have a history of sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong…with predictable results.

Over ten years ago the Platypus team drove to Sanford on a rainy night for a hearing about an anti-nudity proposal.  The county commission’s meeting chambers were filled with residents prodding the commission to put the measure on the ballot for referendum in the next election.  That didn’t bother your Platypus team at the time because we were simply looking to have some wording revisions made to the proposal.

What had started as a measure to deal with gaudy strip clubs of the flashing neon-sign variety, had morphed into one of the most all-encompassing exercises of prying into persons’ private lives that we had ever seen---or have seen since.  As written, Seminole County’s proposal prohibited nudity:

  • Whether it could be seen by the public or not seen by the pulic;
  • Whether on public or private property;
  • Whether among members of a for-profit or not-for-profit venture;
  • Whether on grounds open to the public at large, or in a private club where entry was strictly limited to a membership requirement; and
  • Applied regardless of the size of any group of naked persons.

In other words, the County proposal not only banned the existence of private nudist clubs behind a thoroughly-built fence, but also prohibited any social group (no matter how small) from being naked too.  Have the softball team over to celebrate your game win in the amateur league?  Better not skinny dip!  Find a secluded swimming hole? Better not skinny dip either – or face fines big enough to curb big-league adult entertainment over a single incident.

When we politely explained these scenarios, do you know what the residents in Seminole County / Sanford took the podium to say?  We want to be able to know what is going on in someone else’s back yard behind their fence... and put a stop to it if it’s something we don’t think is proper.  Even if that’s just some skinny-dipping.”

The county anti-nudity measure went on to pass, without any amendment, by an overwhelming margin.

Call us sore losers. But Bare Platypus could have predicted you would have trouble from a neighborhood watch association formed from the ranks of people who think that it’s their business when somebody else skinny-dips in the privacy of their own back yard.