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Outrunning the Satirists


Friends, earlier this year I wrote an introduction to a book, How to Survive Federal Prison Camp. I have no personal experience (yet) in prison; I was hired for my passion -- and my sarcasm.

I admitted as I wrote that my single brush with the law had been a speeding ticket on the freeway. Then I joked, "Hmmm, I wonder why Congress hasn't thought of making speeding on the Interstate a federal felony -- yet?"

Now: Flash forward to today, October 24, 1997. I'm working on a book about the new and coming national ID systems. To that end, I've downloaded U.S. House Conference Committee Report 104-863.

This "report" is the thing that turned HR 3610 from an ordinary Defense Appropriations bill into a treacherous mass of land-mine legislation now known euphemistically as public law 104-208.

It's a 4.2 megabyte text file, if you can believe such a monster exists. Tossed into my word processor, it registered a full 1,948 pages.(Actually, we could govern several whole countries for 150 years on half that much legislation. But be that as it may...)

Searching this thing was like swabbing up 4.2 million gallons of drunken vomit with my bare hands, or crawling over 1,948 rotting corpses. The hundreds of pages of "immigration reform" (for which, read "citizen-cattle tracking") are the worst. And though I was already expecting very bad news, my mood got darker and more hopeless.

I desperately needed a laugh. And then, right there in Division C, Title I, Section 108, I found one.

Specifically, this one (strange punctuation and all):

"Whoever flees or evades a checkpoint operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or any other Federal law enforcement agency, in a motor vehicle and flees Federal, State, or local law enforcement agents in excess of the legal speed limit shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

Yes, you read it right. It's not the act of evading a roadblock that's being made illegal, here. (Presumably there are already 13,149.36 other laws covering that.)

It's the act of speeding while evading the roadblock.

Yep, five years in the federal pen for something that might otherwise get you a $250 slap or, if you're really dastardly, a weekend in jail. A federal crime for outrunning Good Ole' Deppity Barney on County Road EZ, Left Elbow Callus, New Mexico.

At the very time I was kidding about federal speeding crimes, those laugh-a-minute Republicans and their cute little buddy Billy Jeff had already given us exactly that!

Well, friends, I hope this will be a lesson to you. Next time you run a roadblock, be sure to do so within the strict, legal speed limit.

Of course, what with all the various combined fines and prison sentences for doing this evading thing, the more rash of you (or the more mathematically adept), might soon start adding up which will get you into bigger trouble -- blowing away the fascists conducting the roadblocks or speeding while you flee them.

And next time you wonder why the traffic occasionally gets a little slow on the SacredBull political satire list, I hope you'll understand. It's not that we're assiduously avoiding exceeding the limits of cyber humor. It's that it's getting harder and harder to top the jokes being written in Washington, DC.



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