As we welcome the new year, in which nothing bad has happened because it isn’t here yet, comes the disturbing news that Florida is about to pass New York as the third largest state. The Sun-Sentinel reported just today that Florida’s estimated population of 19,552,860 people is just 98,267 people behind New York. But these numbers do not count three babies born on smugglers’ boats enroute from Haiti last night.
It is disturbing is that most reports make it sound as if this population growth is good news. But it is not good news for the Everglades, the general water supply, air pollution, traffic, etc. Making things worse is the fact that recent studies show that rising ocean levels are reducing the amount of land available for these new people. Within a few years the Florida Keys will be a memory, and smugglers will have to go as far as Port Salerno to find dry land.
Of course, there will be islands here and there in Broward County, in places such as Pine Island Ridge (which has prepared itself by choosing the right name) and the coastal ridge that bounces up and down the Gold Coast. People lucky enough to inhabit that ridge are already cornering the market on sea planes.
All is not lost for 2014, however. Balancing this dire report comes the welcome news that serious efforts are being made to control the population, at least enough that we won’t be threatening Texas for No. 2 for a few more years. Two wise legislators have proposed that Florida’s speed limit be raised to 75 miles per hour. This means that people who now drive 85 miles an hour on I-95 will feel free to gun it up to 95 or 100. It also means we will have a lot more accidents, causing maddening traffic jams on our roads. This is good because such congestion breeds road rage, and people will shoot each other at a higher rate. The death rate from accidents will be enhanced by the shootings.
We think legislators would be wise to consider other methods of creating chaos on the roads. Do away with red lights, which would end the fury over red light cameras. Also eliminate stop signs and speed bumps. Throw out these archaic laws against drunk driving, or driving cross-eyed from abuse of banned substances. Make it legal for drivers to shoot people who get in their way. The epidemic of hit and run incidents could be curtailed if people did not think they were going to jail for being whacked, or afraid of being deported.
As we prepare for the challenges and uncertainties of a new year, it is time for thoughtful legislators to forget petty politics, cross party lines and unite for the good of our great country. These ideas for population control may not be the whole answer, but you gotta start someplace.