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Ludicrous Laws
by Jack Wellman
2007-12-26 09:58:58
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I have heard of some strange laws and how many are still on the books or in effect. These various laws reflect a mental philosophy about the cultures and times in which they lived. These are the very reasons they were enacted. Some are obviously outdated, but others have a real purpose that continues to this day, antiquated as they may seem.

Some of these that I know of seem highly irrelevant today, like “you can’t shoot an Indian while riding in a wagon in Dallas (Texas)”. No doubt, at one time this happened. Now there are too many Cowboys (as in Dallas‘). Take about old fashioned modesty: “It is illegal to hold hands in public without children present or before age thirty”. This law was common in the deep southern U. S. States.

In my own state of Kansas: “Rabbits may not be shot from motorboats. Pedestrians crossing the highways at night must wear tail lights. No one may catch fish with his bare hands. The state game rule prohibits the use of mules to hunt ducks. If two trains meet on the same track, neither shall proceed until the other has passed.

In New York the law still reads “Idiots may not vote”. In Texas, "It is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing. It is illegal for one to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. It is illegal to milk another person's cow. A recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed. The entire Encyclopaedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home".

In Wyoming, Using a firearm to fish is strictly forbidden. Any person who fails to close a fence is subject to a fine of up to seven hundred and fifty dollars. It is illegal for women to stand within five feet of a bar while drinking. You may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without an official permit. In Arkansas: “Alligators may not be kept in bathtubs“, and “Public school teachers who bob their hair, will not get a raise“.

Please understand that some of the old laws in the books are still relevant, like spitting on the sidewalk or on someone (since Tuberculoses, etc., can be spread this way). This health law and others, enacted by many nations and states several years ago, has reduced the spread of disease. Quarantines are another old law that had a beneficial effect, like on Typhoid Fever and several others.

These laws reflect a culture from another time and era. These laws speak of what they considered critically important at that time. When societies enact laws, their utility for that society is their focus. Generally, they have strengthened societies. Where there is no law, there is only lawlessness. And this serves only the interests of the few and powerful.

But some laws I would not worry about, like in Alabama, I have no problem following the still in effect law of having “No bear wrestling matches, not driving barefoot, not playing dominoes on Sunday, and not having an ice cream cone in my back pocket at any time (it only took one guy to ruin it for the rest of us, huh?!)“. Oh yes, “It is illegal for a driver to drive with a blindfold on”. So be careful out there…ignorance might be bliss, but an officer once told me, “it was no excuse”.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-26 10:36:25
Ilarious! Maybe the Stoics had a valid point: only natural law is wholly objective fair and unbiased. Be that as it may, I am still ruminating on that New York law: “Idiots may not vote.” Could that be the reason why less than 50% of the US electorate bothers to vote nowadays? On the other hand, when one thinks of the choices made by those who voted last time around, one begins to have doubts: could it be the other way around: that the 50% who stayed home are the intelligent ones? But wait a minute, how intelligent is it to have one's life controlled by those who bother to vote? It gets pretty confusing. Maybe the Stoics and the Epicureans were right...

Jack2007-12-26 18:10:29
You make an excellent point Emanuel. Are we idiots for voting or for not voting? The choices with which we are left to vote do nothing to solidify our intelligence as we have only the "idiotic" from which to choose.

True also that only the natural law is wholly objective and certain universals stand the test of time.

Another case in point, too many laws make it almost impossible to keep all laws since we may violate one unaware...i.e. I know of several teachers who have the entire set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and they now have the dangerous capacity to make their own beer while living in Texas! What is the world coming too?! A bunch of beer making deserpados with teaching degrees who now may take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing.

Point being, laws made are snapshots of the time and culture and quickly become antiquated and even ridiculous over time.

My first cousin was trying to (illegally in Kansas) catch carp by hand (called noodeling)inside mud tunnels in the river's channel side. This must be illegal for fear of getting "carp-tunnel syndrome".

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