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An Uncommon Cause: The Snails in Miami [A satire]

National Review, February 4, 1972, 100.

We first read of the crisis last Saturday in the San Jose Mercury, America’s greatest newspaper (for the price). The headline read on page twenty, “Monster Snails Rampage Again.” Informed sources tell of an emergency meeting held in the paneled East Room of the White (possibly an unwise location, as the snails feed on the cellulose in wood and the calcium in white paint). An alarmed President called for a national commission to study the problem.

We have on our desk a preliminary report of that imposing commission made up of America’s most renowned natural and social scientists. Professor Hindsight , historian, reports that in 1961 two snails were brought from African via Hawaii against their will by an eight-year-old boy. As snails lack moral restraint, they have since bred asexually and profusely. Sociologist Noble Heartbleed reports they are now living under abysmal conditions in a Miami ghetto.

Some solutions suggested by the unenlightened National Security Center rest on the proposition that not being equal in dignity to man, the sanils ought to be poisoned or bombed. This will be difficult, however, as DDT has been banned. In addition the Russians might retaliate, according to Professor Appeasement, a Brookings Institute political scentist. Ecologists say snails are already an endangered species.

Militant snails have reportedly requested assistance from the UN against U.S. policies of genocide, imperiaqlism, and repression. The American Maritime Commission and the longshoremen have put pressure on a commission member, a Berkeley professor, to recommend sending the snails to Africa as taht is where their cultural and other roots lie. Others are demanding a program of Snail Studies at the nation’s colleges and universities. The presidents of Beerkeley, Harvard, Yale and Princeton report some modified program will be available spring semester.

The Anti-Defamation League reports that the sanils have now lived in America for eight generations and are entitled to the same rights as other Americans under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Professor Dogood, sociologist, points out the present program of public assistance is inadequate for the needs of this oppressed minority. Governor Reagan insists that they work on public projects instead of living off the dole, because only individual initiative can solve their problems. In the meantime, the redneck citizens of Miami have taken the law into their own by rushing out on their lawns to poison or smash the unfortunate creatures. The American Humane Society, the American association of University Professors, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Sierra Club have lodged a protest. The five groups plan a march on Washington when all the schools are open in Early October.

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