From the “No, Really” file …
Earlier this morning, on his nationally syndicated radio show, Mike Gallagher played a sensationally delicious sound bite from March 25th featuring Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson (Cynthia McKinney’s replacement) and Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, speaking about the island of Guam – specifically the topic of sending more troops there.
This was a troublesome proposition for the Georgia Congressman.
That Guam could capsize from the influx of people.
This was the exchange … literally:
JOHNSON: This is a island that, at its widest level is – what – twelve miles from shore to shore, and at its smallest level – or its smallest location – is seven miles between one shore an another. Is that correct?
WILLARD: I don’t have the exact dimensions but, to your point sir, I think Guam is a small island.
JOHNSON: Very small island … and about twenty-four miles, if I recall, long … so about twenty-four miles long, about seven miles wide at the least widest place on the island, and about twelve miles wide on the widest part of the island. And .. I don’t know how many square miles that is. Do you happen to know?
WILLARD: I don’t have that figure with me, sir. I can certainly supply it to you, if you’d like.
JOHNSON: Yeah, my fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.
WILLARD: We don’t anticipate that. The Guam population, I think, currently is about 175,000 and again, with 8,000 Marines and their families, that’s an addition of about 25,000 more into the population.
My editorial staff here at Roman Around – along with a contingency of historians, geologists, stand-up comedians and filling station attendants – have spent the better part of nine minutes scouring news databases and archives looking for any instances of capsizing islands due to overpopulation. Some of the best researchers on my block have taken the time to comb through websites, encyclopedias and limited edition comic books to try and find a single instance where an island literally tipped over due to the abundance of human beings there.
In full candor, we have been unsuccessful to this point, but we may keep trying … maybe.
To begin with … as dim-witted as the assertion of an island capsizing because too many people are threatening its buoyancy sounds, what was more confusing was his fractured attempt (and I use that word with two underlines and a bold italic font) to talk about the island’s dimensions.
What the hell was he talking about?
At its widest point, it is twelve miles long, but the island is actually twenty-four mils long? What?
Watch the people sitting behind Admiral Willard. They’re all reacting as if they’re watching a Saturday Night Live routine but cannot laugh out loud because they don’t want to wake grandma. Even the admiral himself – if you look closely – appears as if he has to contain himself from busting out at Congressman Johnson’s marble-headed, mush-mouthed stupidity.
Second, has Congressman Johnson ever heard of Manhattan?
The total land area of Manhattan Island is 23 square miles.
Twenty-three square miles! (Guam has a land area of 209 total square miles).
Manhattan is only about two miles wide (and still takes an hour to get across). It is the most densely populated county in the United States with a population of 1.6 million people. At any given point during the regular work day, it is estimated that as many as fifteen million human being occupy Manhattan Island’s 23 total square miles. Figure in more cars, trucks, buses and trains than you can shake a knish at – along with a heaviest collection of skyscrapers assembled anywhere – and you’ve got a real scale-tipper.
At least in my lifetime – to the best of my knowledge – I have not known Manhattan to “tip over and capsize” due to the abundance of humans.
But I’ll keep checking.