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COLUMN

Happytown

“We’ve really tried to build a whole opinion here that, hey, these people are terrorizing Americans, they’re terrifying Central Floridians,” she adds. “We’re not going to stand for that.”

Something else that nobody seems to want to stand for anymore is the quiet denial of what exactly is going on here. It’s not news that these quasi-religious hate groups get away with their invective by wrapping their guns in bibles: What is news is that some religious leaders are finally willing to call them on it. Rev. Bryan Fulwider of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park, a man who is the chair of the local interfaith council and openly pro-gay and pro-choice, wants his religion back.

“A man who’s been convicted of stalking doctors, whose group has been involved in those who take shots at doctors, that goes beyond anything Christian,” he says. “That’s a purely terroristic policy by people who probably have mental issues … Nobody wants to go on the record saying it, but I consider these people terrorists who are Christians. I think these are Christian terrorists and therefore not Christian.”

Amen.

Speaking of terrifying, we made our way up to the 18th-floor offices of NeJame Law in the Plaza building downtown on July 14 for an orchestrated press event meant to unveil a new Post-Casey bit of legislation intended to quiet the TMZ impulses of jurors with entrepreneurial eyeballs. By now you’ve surely heard of the legislative gravy train feeding lawmakers and those who love them with ideas to make laws happen in the wake of a media circus; you’ve probably also heard of the millions of dollars being thrown at the unfortunate Anthony jury and their Big Decision to let the tattooed tot mom go. The Thursday afternoon event was a joint press conference featuring State Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, and miniature legal firebrand Mark NeJame and his collection of statues.

Randolph is planning to introduce a bill next year forbidding jurors from selling their stories – not telling, just selling – for, wait for it, the nine months following the verdict. Nine months! It’s Babymania! Also, Randolph expects a juror protection bill to follow, just NOT YET. After an unfortunate crumbling of media microphones from all your usual suspects (plus national outlets HLN and In Session), the pair got into the details: Basically, this isn’t a free-speech issue but a justice one; it’s already happened in California after the O.J. Simpson explosion; the Son of Samcase has some twisted True Crime precedence. Whatevs. In between our own efforts to get a question in edgewise about whether this will even matter next year – it will, apparently – WFTV Channel 9’s own pearl necklace of judicial/parental concern, Kathi Belich, turned around, looked us in the eyes, and said the following: “Sometimes I hate the living.” We will never be the same.

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