Avoid Ft. Myers

School officials in Ft. Myers, Florida, USA, have decided to keep their kids safe by not allowing them to travel to London to participate in the 2007 New Year’s Day Parade.

It seems that the local school officials are a bit worried about Terrorism, not remembering that their own city isn’t that safe.

More: CNN | News-Press | News-Press Editorial

Facts about Ft. Myers from NBC2 News Online:

# Fort Myers’ murder rate is several times higher than that in London
# You are three times as likely to be the victim of rape or violent crime in Fort Myers than in London.
# Fort Myers suffers more than double the crime rate per hundred thousand people than the U.S. national average
# Road deaths are a major problem with 146 last year in Lee County alone.
# The entire area is prone to catastrophic hurricanes and other severe weather

And, as NBC2 points out, “two of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11th hijacking learned to fly in Southwest Florida.”

Personally, I’m with Britain on this one. I am boycotting Ft. Myers, Florida. I will not spend any Dollars, €uros, or Pounds in the city, nor the state any time soon. I would encourage everybody else to join me in not spending money in Ft. Myers or Florida in general.

There are far more interesting places to go and visit in this world: London and Grand Island, Nebraska, both come to mind.

Text of Press Release, via News-Press (PDF)


A Floridian school board is in danger of sparking an international incident by claiming that London is an unsafe city to visit.

The Fort Myers High School Band had accepted a special invitation to perform at the prestigious New Year s Day Parade on January 1st 2007.

But in an extraordinary development the local school board — The Lee County District — has overruled the decision, banning pupils, parents and staff from travelling, because London is an unsafe city.

We don t have trains blowing up in America! said school board official Herb Wiseman.

Wiseman told local papers that the band should travel to events within US borders — where their safety is assured.
In a subsequent article he admits that he made the decision without having any knowledge whatsoever on security arrangements.

He told leading local paper the News Press: We don t know what kind of security measures they have. We are on the look out for terrorists in this country — but we don t know their policies.

Herb Wiseman turned down the offer of a fact-finding trip to London to discuss the issues — claiming he is too busy to make the journey.

Here is an educator that seems to delight in the knowledge that he is ignorant of the facts, said Parade Executive Director Bob Bone.

How can he make a decision banning so many young people embarking on a cultural visit which they will remember for the rest of their lives without first bothering to find out the facts?

One 16-year-old band member, clarinettist Leilandi Martinez is writing to Governor Jeb Bush and Brother President George W to ask them to intervene and rescind the decision.

I feel like I am missing the trip of a lifetime because the school district is so close minded. There are people trying to talk to them but they aren t even willing to give it a second chance. She said.

Yet schools from the district have visited Washington DC and New York City post the 11th September attacks and next week the Fort Myers High Band is set to visit Atlanta, Georgia, scene of the Olympic bomb attack.

Herb Wiseman, High Schools Operations Officer for the school district, was quoted as saying that he was leery of loading 140 students on a plane and sending them to a city that has just had a terrorist attack.

There is absolutely no reason why these pupils and parents should not travel to London. said parade Executive Director Bob Bone. They want to travel — they surely must be allowed to travel.

International air travel is statistically far safer than putting them on a bus and sending them to a minor domestic event, nor is London a city under siege!

In a strongly worded letter, Mr. Bone appealed for Mr.Wiseman to reconsider the decision.

The letter fiercely disputes that London is more dangerous than any other city — and says that the decision is in direct contradiction of US Government policy and advice.

Mr.Bone went on to say that in 21 years the event had never had a security problem and had not been identified by any security organisation as bearing an increased risk.

In the light of the above I am asked that you reconsider your decision. said Mr.Bone.

I have seen a report where it is suggested that other domestic events in the USA might compare with London s New Year s Day event. I fear that is simply not the case.

It is the express wish of the events patrons who represent the governments of both of our two great countries that Fort Myers High School Band performs in London over the 2006/7 New Year period. It is equally the desire of the group members, and their parents that they do so.

Mr. Bone has offered to fly to Florida to discuss the situation with the school board, parents and pupils.

Readers of the New Press — have sent numerous messages to the paper expressing consternation about the decision.

One, from a Briton Brian Horton, that spends six months of the year in Fort Myers reads: “People in London are going to say ’If America isn’t going to support us, why should we support them?’ ”

“We look at the U.S. as our closest friend, and they think we’re a dangerous place. What kind of message does that send to us?” Horton said Europeans continued to visit and offer support to America after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

And despite Florida being battered with hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, they still flocked in droves to the Sunshine State.

Anyone thinking of travelling to Fort Myers, and weighing risk factors with those of London might like to consider the following:

• Fort Myer s murder rate is several times higher than that in London
• You are three times as likely to be the victim of rape or violent crime in Fort Myers than in London.
• Fort Myers suffers more than double the crime rate per hundred thousand people than the US national average
• Road deaths are a major problem with 146 last year in Lee County alone
• The entire area is prone to catastrophic hurricanes and other severe weather


6 comments to Avoid Ft. Myers

  • ChrisC

    Wow, I’ve just scratched Europe off my vacation list for this year and have decided to visit Grand Island, NE instead!

    I can’t wait to see the Sidewalk Art Festival on *May 7, 2005* in beautiful downtown Grand Island on 3rd Street.

    Nothing like the local convention and visitors bureau keeping the webpage up to date.

  • B.

    I used to think Texas topped the list of ass-backward, doofy states… but within the past year I’ve grown to believe Florida’s overtaken them.

    Hmmm… interesting that both states are/were manned by Bush boys.

  • Now now. Let’s not take the ravings of a single lunatic to represent the whole county, region, state or country.

    The man’s a loon. But either side claiming murder, rape, or street crime rates have anything to do with security is just useless pandering to the media.

    Small town folk will always distrust big cities. Conservative terrorist fear mongers will always use their pulpits to scare the folks at home.

    Don’t play their game. They want you to stay away. Florida is a growing state and the growth isn’t only among conservatives. Come party with the Liberals. We need cash if we’re going to turn the red tide.

  • mateo

    I agree with the last commenter entirely. Exactly what I was going to say. No reason to judge a whole state by what one uninformed person is saying. Not that I am all that enamored with Floridato begin with, but I hardly think this lunatic is a reason to stay away. (Though usually it *is* a good idea to stay away from lunatics, no matter how entertaining they might be!)

  • Jeannie Turner

    In case some of you have not heard, the decision has been forced to change by the school board members. Our band children ( My daughter is in this band) will be going to London for the New Years Parade. We (parents of band members) signed a waiver and only 3 parents said no. Since at least 80% said yes then we will get to go but we will have to raise the money ourselves. These kids are so excited and honored to be given this chance to visit London and march in this wonderful parade that the WILL raise enough money to make it happen. Not all Florida residents feel the way that the school board superintendent feels. I feel confident in sending my 16 year old out of this country to London, I would love to be able to go also but not because I do no trust her in London hands,but because I would like to watch the parade. My biggest concern is that the London Crowd will not welcome our children because of the original decision made by their school official. I hope all realize the parents voted had a meeting with the band director ,voting on if we wanted the kids to go and if we could raise enough money and the vote was a definate yes from all that attended. These poor kids were so dissapointed when told later they could not,So please help spread the word that the GREENWAVE MARCHING BAND is happy to say “””LONDON HERE WE COME”” and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INVITE””
    I myself am a Florida Native ,born in Jacksonville in 1959,and hope that people from London will still visit and enjoy our beautiful beaches and friendly natives.