Gun violence rages on in US amid pandemic

There’s so much shooting going on in America at the moment that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with who is firing at whom, and why.

Take the hapless mayor of Portland, Oregon, a progressive, mid-size city that has been rocked by riots for more than 50 days.

Ted Wheeler was booed and jeered by rowdy demonstrators as he tried to tell them he was on their side – only to then be tear gassed by the feds sent in by President Donald Trump to protect the city.

Gun crime and murder is up by 50 per cent or more in many of the major US centres. Chicago is a heaving mess.

Police forces are haemorrhaging officers who are quitting amid demands for them to be “defunded”.

Left-wing city mayors are not only refusing offers of federal support from Trump, they’re threatening to sue.

Looking at these scenes from the comfort of Australia, it’s easy to think: “Only in America”.

Well, there was another truly awful story this week that reminded us that Americans have their own saying: “Only in Florida”.

Three best mates, aged in their twenties, headed into the woods in central Florida to go fishing for catfish. A few minutes after they arrived, they were all dead.

The man who’s been arrested for the crime has been described as “pure evil” and “out of control” by local police.

Career criminal Tony “T.J.” Wiggins, who has no fewer than 280 felony charges on his record, “literally massacred” the young victims in the rural city of Frostproof, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Even by the extreme standards we’re getting used to over here, it was a shocking story.

The cold-blooded Wiggins was the “trigger man” who allegedly killed the victims over some kind of truck deal that’s still under investigation.


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His younger brother and a girlfriend were with him as he shot the first two men up to 10 times before turning the gun on the third.

“He’s a thug,” Sheriff Judd said.

“He’s a criminal. He’s pure evil in the flesh. He’s wild and he’s out of control.”

After the killings, the Wiggins brothers and the girlfriend went to a McDonald’s and ordered 10 double cheeseburgers and two McChickens.

No attempt to flee or hide, no effort to try to get away. Straight to Maccas.

Sheriff Judd said the three suspects were found Monday living off-the-grid in a wooded area outside Frostproof.

They were staying in two separate trailers that had some generators but no running water or electricity.

It’s tragic to think that mindless violence like this continues to flourish against the background of 140,000 COVID-19 deaths and ongoing civil unrest.

But hey, as they say, Only in Florida.

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