Commentary

Don't Try This at Home: Shirtless Man Stares Down Hurricane Florence with American Flag in Hand

If there’s any socio-meteorological phenomenon I have a love-hate relationship with, it’s idiots in hurricanes.

People who do stupid things — like go out running in knee-high water and gale-force winds in named storms — trivialize the danger and send a message to other idiots that viral glory awaits if you taunt Death and his concealed-carried scythe. Unlike his cousin in virality, idiots in blizzards, idiots in hurricanes face an even greater risk of injury.

On the other hand, my opinion of the idiot mirrors that of the late Italian author Umberto Eco: “I am fascinated by stupidity because it’s infinite,” he said. “The normal person believes that 2 and 2 make 4 and that’s all. There is no other possibility. The stupid one has infinite numbers at his disposal.”

They also have infinite ways to behave during a hurricane. For instance, most of us in danger would board up our windows, take our important belongings and evacuate.

If the danger was less severe, we might hunker down with water and extra batteries, charge up our mobile devices and power banks and wait things out.

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There are, in other words, a limited set of possibilities. That set of possibilities does not include this:

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Lane Pittman “braved” Hurricane Florence by standing in the middle of the street with an American flag headbanging to a heavy metal soundtrack all while shirtless and shoeless.

In addition to dressing in a manner that would disqualify him from entry at a 7-Eleven, he was also doing this while rain and 85 mph winds assailed him, according to Fox News.

Do you think this was a stupid idea?

So, why was he doing this? “Just being free and American. I don’t let nothing oppress me, especially no dang, freaking hurricane,” Pittman told a Fox Business Network reporter as he fixed a flat tire.

Was his intention to go viral? “I’ve already been viral,” Pittman responded in a line that in no way sounds rehearsed.

And indeed he has — as this video from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 shows.



That video’s been viewed over 27 million times. When Hurricane Irma struck his native Florida, Lane also did roughly the same thing.

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Man. He really likes Slayer.

According to Fox News, Pittman first gained fame in 2015 when Fox News reports “Neptune Beach Police issu(ed) Pittman a citation for breaching the peace when he played a raucous guitar rendition of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ — and a verse of Ted Nugent’s ‘Stranglehold’ — during a July 4 celebration.” Well, at least he listens to more than one band.

So, no, we obviously advise that you don’t follow this idiot’s example. Don’t try this at home, folks. Stick with 2 plus 2 equals 4 and evacuate or stay safely inside if you’re in the path of Hurricane Florence — or any hurricane, for that matter.

However, you can’t help but marvel about the infinite possibilities open to you when you’re dumb enough to stand shirtless in the middle of a street during a hurricane, particularly when said possibilities are caught on camera. He’s just free and being American — and going viral doing it.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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