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Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Disarmingly Modest Proposal

Hey, kids! Wondering what to do about guns, and the psycho nutbars who kill with them? Ex-diplomat Dan Simpson has the the answer:

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized.

On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."

See? Easy-peasy. I don't know why we didn't think of this earlier.

But Simpson doesn't go nearly far enough. While these specially-trained squads of police (we should name them Simpson Suicide Squads, in his honor) are seizing guns in every warehouse, farmhouse, outhouse, henhouse, doghouse, and cathouse in the country, they should also look around for:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Child porn
  • Stolen goods
  • Bootleg music
  • Pirated software
  • Untaxed cigs and booze
  • Stills
  • Spotted owl carcasses
  • 3.5 gallon toilets
  • Transfats

Doggonit, the list is darned near endless! It would just be more efficient, now that we've gotten rid of that pesky Fourth Amendment (as well as the Second), to clear the country of all contraband, forever. And think of the jobs it would create!

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that the borders aren't exactly hermetically sealed, and it's possible that guns might slip in from Mexico, Canada, or Neptune. Well, Simpson has thought of that, too -- and his evaluation?

That would constitute a problem for American immigration authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard, but not an insurmountable one over time.

Because it's worked so well for drugs!

So who is this Simpson clown? Is he Homer's dumber brother? The article identifies him as a retired diplomat, as well as a member of the editorial boards of the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

NNDB -- a site of unknown credibility -- says that he's a former ambassador to the Central African Republic (from '90 to '92), the Deputy Commandant for International Affairs, US Army War College ('93 to '94), and ambassador to the Congo (then called Zaire, '95 to '98). (There were many google hits for these ambassadorships, so I feel fairly certain of them.) This entry from the 1995 CIA World Factbook (which isn't actually on the CIA's network) says that Simpson was the ambassador to Kenya at the time, and also represented US interests in Somalia (where we didn't have an actual embassy).

This column, in which he praises Jimmy Carter's bright, incisive, mind-bogglingly obvious questions, confirms that he's the same Dan[iel] Simpson.

Aha! Look for "Daniel H. Simpson", and you get this, apparently written no later than August, 1994, which says that Simpson has had posts in other African nations, as well as Bulgaria, Iceland, and Lebanon. This explains what he was doing between his stint as teacher in the Libyan Army Military College and his 1990 appointment as ambassador to the Central African Republic. I had wondered.

It gives me the warm fuzzies to know that the US was represented for decades in benighted African nations by a fellow who apparently regards the Constitution as a regrettable stain on some fine old 18th century paper. I guess I assumed, in my American ignorance and hubris, that he might be teaching the Africans about democracy and the rule of law. While all they time they were teaching him about tyranny and stuff! Ha ha! Joke's on me!

I mean, us.

Despite my title, I don't really think this was an attempt at Swiftian satire. Slublog, commenting on Ace's site, lists some of Simpson's previous columns, which are all of the same political stripe, although not nearly so deranged. I link directly to Slublog's comment (something Ace apparently hasn't figured out how to do) so you can bypass Ace's confused, non-sequitur atheist hate-on.

Iowahawk has more jokes. Contains the special bonus word: BLAMMO!