Ruth: Putin should visit before he nukes Tampa Bay

Published March 5
Updated March 5

Oh dear, this is probably going to only encourage the National Rifle Associationís chief apologist Marion Hammer to browbeat the Florida Legislature into allowing everyone to arm themselves with their own personal cruise missile.

And no, youíre not laughing, are you? This is Florida after all, the Dunceshine State.

It seems we have annoyed Russian President Vladimir Putin. Was it something we said? Or was Vlad annoyed over the long lines at Disney World?

No matter. Just days ago, the Russkie leader gave a testy speech and bragged his nuclear arsenal would be impossible to intercept by the United States. And to prove it, Putin unveiled a video showing nukes being launched from various land, air and sea platforms ó all headed our way, including Florida and creating in all likelihood the mother of all sinkholes.

Of course it had to be Florida. Who would want to obliterate Rhode Island?

In one video sequence, a cornucopia of warheads are depicted raining down on (gulp) Tampa Bay.

What is with our world leaders today, who seem so hell-bent on preening how big their ó ahem ó hands are to prove their machismo by threatening to blow everybody up?

You would have thought after stealing Crimea from Ukraine, murdering or jailing his political opponents and skimming billions of dollars into his own pocket, Putin would have established his dictatorial bona fides. But some people are never satisfied.

We all know Putin delights in propaganda images of him riding bare-chested on a horse, or scuba diving, or throwing flunkies around in his little judo costume. So adorable.

And now he is dropping dark hints he would reduce Tampa Bay to cinders. Thatís one way to reduce congestion on I-275.

In a sort of "Oh yeah? Soís your old lady!" rebuke to demonstrate he is just as courageous as Putin, President Donald Trump declared he would have raced unarmed into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the massacre to confront the assailant. Eye-rolling ensued. Apparently Trumpís bone spurs are healed.

Tampa Bay might have been selected by Putin as a potential target since MacDill Air Force is located here, as well as Central Command headquarters. Or perhaps the Russian leader is a Tampa Bay Bucs fan bent on putting the community out of its misery.

Whatever the cause of Putinís nuke rattling, there may be ways to appease the boorish Russian bear before things get out of hand.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn could invite Vlad for a visit to enjoy the cityís many charms before Putin decides to turn Hyde Park into Chernobyl-on-the-Bay. And who better to serve as the Big Guavaís de facto ambassador to Moscow than former Mayor Dick Greco, who could put the squeeze on Putinís biceps and ask him if he has been working out.

Or Putin could be named grand marshal of the Gasparilla Parade and cruise down Bayshore Boulevard tossing the finest beads Chinese political prisoners can make.

And how can we keep a man down on the Volga after heís seen Ybor City ó at about 2 a.m.?

The Tampa Bay Rays could have Putin throw out the first pitch, especially if they were playing the Cincinnati Reds.

What better opportunity for wannabe Tampa socialite Jill Kelly to regain the spotlight than by including Putin in her annual South Tampa Gasparilla soiree?

Or Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature could show up to demonstrate they are even scarier than Putin.

Isnít it all worth a try in the name of peace?

What a world we live in, with insecure men threatening to destroy each other while we are caught in the cross-hairs of petulance.

Is Putin crazy? Maybe so. Instead of vaporizing Florida, he needs to move here. He would feel right at home.