Rant and Rave

Prisoners, Frozen Tundra, and The Looming Threat To The North

A Guest Rant by Brian Higgins

I doubt that even you fully realize the brilliance of your idea to reinstitute the policy of exiling felons, Dr. Thomas L. "Clack, or is it Click?" Magliozzi, for (1) NPR or not, you're still a wrenchmonkey, (B) I mean, no offense or anything, but until you make it to C-SPAN, you only deserve limited respect, even from yourself, and (III) you could not have known that this is an idea that *I* have espoused for nearly twenty years, the surest indication of its brilliance.

My exposition of the idea, of course, is both better thought-out and more encompassing than yours, and I have no doubt that you will benefit by my providing it.

Thus, humbly submitted:

For U.S. taxpayers to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year per prisoner to jam the already-uncivilized into the least civil of circumstances, into hard, cold, cruel blocks perfect for picking up tips on committing better crime, getting into better shape with all those weights and all that time, maybe getting raped, and, above all, getting angrier... then to release these reinvigorated, remotivated criminals onto our streets, suffer the consequences, and pay the damages, is, as you have pointed out, perhaps less than pragmatic.

It is indeed time to reconsider exile, but it is also time to consider precisely the character this exile should take. First, let us first be sure of our objectives: They are, and must be, I believe, (A) Recivilization... or, more likely, civilization of the criminal, as this has likely never taken place to begin with; (II) cost savings; and (3) I can't think of another.

Now, let us ask ourselves some simple questions: (I) Does more crime happen in crowded places like cities, or in sparsely-populated areas like the country?, (2) does more crime happen in hot weather, or in cold weather?, and (C) I thought of another this time, a good one: What form of isolation costs least?

In view of these questions, I believe, Dr. Clack, your proposal of a jungle island surrounded by battleships is... well, it's just stupid. I'm sorry to have to use language like that, but let's face it. A jungle island surrounded by battleships would be hot, crowded, and expensive; it would represent (1) no improvement in rehabilitation; (B) little or no cost savings; and (III) OK, this is kind of a summary, not really (III), but: No discernible advantage over we've got now, other than being further away. Or is that "farther"?

I submit, Professor, that the fact is that our late nemesis, the Soviets, have already shown us the answer. It is, or was, the best, and probably the only, thing they had going for them, and you do mention it, and for that I give you credit, good Doctor:


Sending our malcontents up to a cabin in near-Kelvin temperatures, two miles from the next exiled criminal and two hundred miles of abject tundra from the nearest civilization, as we non-criminals know it, clearly meets all our objectives: (A) It imparts newfound respect for human companionship and cooperation; (II) it costs very little --the vast frozen wasteland does the guarding, and even if one or two do somehow make it back, they've probably learned their lesson, and (3) damn, that's right, I didn't have a third objective.

Now, since we are all agreed on our objectives and plan, let us turn our attention to implementing it: We have, oddly enough, three options: (I) Siberia itself. The Russians need all the cash they can get, and we can probably buy them off for half a grand per prisoner per year as rent, saving $49,500, according to your figures; (2) Antarctica. Who owns Antarctica, anyway? We probably wouldn't have to pay any rent at all; and (C) this is the big one, where I solve many problems in one fell swoop: CANADA!

The northern nether reaches of Canada, or as I prefer to call it, The Looming Threat To The North, are the perfect place to send our criminals, for approximately three reasons: (1) Have you ever really looked at a map of Canada? They not only have vast frozen wasteland, they have really big chunks of tundra surrounded by really big lake-like things that look like they're fed by the sea, so they probably don't freeze, so they're probably like really big moats -- we should look into that; (B) the godless Canadians are poised to swarm down across our border and take over all our warms places at any moment, and deep down, haven't we always known that? And isn't it time we showed them who's boss first, before it's too late? And (III) the recent uppitiness in Quebec demonstrates that, even in the unlikely event the Canuck invasion fails to materialize, we nonetheless face the danger of ending up with a Bosnia right on our northern border... And this reminds us, by association, that French-speakers, including those found in Quebec, have a surfeit of vowels that they NEVER EVEN USE!

Think of it, one out of three vowels in every '..oui..' and two out of three in every '..ieu..' are simply wasted! That's 66.7 percent waste! And there are many more examples.

Is the light beginning to dawn?

That's right, we can (A) solve our penal problems (amen), (II) neutralize The Looming Threat To The North, once and for all, and (3) redirect vowels that would otherwise simply be wasted -- not just by the French, but by French wannabees, for God's sake -- to those who need them most: In Bosnia, and maybe even throughout Eastern Europe...

....simply by invading Canada.

I will not say more now, but I invite you to think about this.

Yours sincerely,
Brian "Irfo" Higgins

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