Rep. Hank Johnson said he feared the stationing 8,000 Marines top top Guam would cause the island come "become therefore overly inhabited that that will tip over and capsize."

Published3 April 2010

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During a home committee meeting, Rep. Hank Johnson claimed he feared that stationing 8,000 Marines ~ above Guam would reason the island come "become for this reason overly populated that the will tip over and capsize."

The first day the April, frequently known together April Fool’s Day, is an chance for much pranking in the real and online worlds, and amongst the common japes that take place in the latter realm are news sites’ presenting their readers through absurd and ridiculous stories available as straightforward reporting. That device occasionally works in reverse, however: in part years, news story that sound far-fetched yet are actually true rest on April 1, leading plenty of readers come dismiss them together mere April Fool’s humor. That was the instance in 2010, as soon as a video clip of an odd exchange which had actually taken place throughout a residence committee conference a week previously was circulated commonly on April 1:

During a House armed Services Committee meeting held on 25 march 2010, Representative Hank Johnson, a Democrat indigenous Lithonia, Georgia, wondered about Admiral Robert Willard, command of the U.S. Pacific Command, about a proposal to move 8,000 Marines from the Japanese island that Okinawa come the U.S. Pacific island region of Guam. In the food of the questioning, Rep. Johnson expressed problem that adding thousands the Marines and their households to Guam might cause that small island come “tip over and capsize”:

Johnson: This is a island the at the widest level is what … twelve miles from shore to shore? and at its smallest level … uh, smallest location … it’s seven miles in between one shore and also the other? Is that correct?

Willard: i don’t have the precise dimensions, yet to her point, sir, i think Guam is a tiny island.

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Johnson: Very little island, about twenty-four miles, if i recall, long, twenty-four miles long, around seven miles broad at the the very least widest location on the island and about twelve miles vast on the widest component of the island, and also I don’t know how plenty of square miles that is. Perform you take place to know?

Willard: i don’t have that figure with me, sir, ns can absolutely supply it to you if friend like.

Johnson: Yeah, my fear is the the totality island will end up being so overly occupied that that will pointer over and capsize.

Willard: us don’t anticipate the … the Guam population I think currently about 175,000 and also again through 8,000 Marines and also their families it’s an enhancement of around 25,000 much more into the population.

Johnson: And additionally things prefer the environment, the sensitive areas of the environment, coral reefs and those kinds of things, and I know that lots of civilization don’t choose to think around that but … girlfriend know, we don’t think about an international warming either, and also now we do have to think around it, and so I’m concerned from an environmental standpoint even if it is or no Guam is the finest place to execute this relocation. But it’s in reality the only place, is that correct?

Willard: This is the ideal place, this is the the furthest west U.S. Territory that us own and also this is component of our nation, and also in readdressing the forward presence and also posture importance to Pacific Command, Guam is an essential to this decision.

This exchange was the subject of much ridicule and also speculation: to be Rep. Johnson really expressing issue that the enhancement of 8,000 Marines and also their families to Guam would certainly literally cause the island to end up being “so overly lived in that it will reminder over and capsize,” or to be he engaging in a metaphor about pertains to over the level that environmental deterioration that might an outcome from a suddenly 14% increase in Guam’s population?

The last viewpoint is bolstered by the truth that instantly after his “tip over and capsize” statement, Johnson did clearly say he was concerned around “the sensitive areas of the environment, coral reefs and also those kinds of things.” on the other hand, Johnson’s prefacing the statement with the native “And also things favor the setting …” (and his curious continuous on Guam’s exact dimensions) could be bring away to median that his formerly expressed fear “that the entirety island will come to be so overly inhabited that the will pointer over and capsize” to be a different subject and also was as such not a an allegory for environmental issues.

Or possibly Johnson to be clumsily trying come express the id that adding another 25,000 world to Guam would create an unsustainably large population (and for this reason the island would reach that is “tipping point”).

Only Johnson to know for certain what he was reasoning as he wondered about Admiral Willard, and he later asserted he to be “speaking metaphorically” and “kidding” (although critics noted no map of feeling was obvious in his words, tone, or body language, no one did he react or sell correction as soon as Admiral Willard addressed his concerns around the island’s “tipping over” together if castle were intended literally):

4th ar Congressman Hank Johnson is now backing far from an outlandish tip he made come a United claims Navy admiral the the Pacific island that Guam can “tip over and also capsize” if too many U.S. Marines are stationed there.

Johnson said “my are afraid is that the totality island will come to be so overly populated that that will pointer over and capsize.”

In one interview, the Decatur Democrat claimed he to be kidding and simply speak metaphorically to do a point during the committee hearing.

Johnson said, “I deserve to say points that are quite humorous and not smile about it and it leads people to think around what i said.”

“Often, i have been known to use humor as I supply a message. That’s simply one the the gifts that ns think that i have,” Johnson deadpanned.

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“I’ve been around long sufficient in this ar for voters to know that if Hank claimed Guam is in risk of capsizing, they would certainly know exactly that I have a feeling of humor.”

As of this writing, Hank Johnson Jr. Is quiet the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s fourth congressional district.