It's The Law

     I just saw recently in The New York Times that in England it's illegal to wear a suit of armour in Parliament. The article doesn't say what the penalty is but I'd assume that in ancient England it could be pretty draconian. The article pertained to a movement now going on over there to sort out some of the obsolete laws that have accumulated over the many years of England's history. There are 44,000 of them that those charged with the duty must study and try to decide which to eliminate. A major problem is that they could still be used if someone should violate one of them. England is a very old country so I can see how daunting a job this can be.

     But it reminded me of some American laws I've learned of over the years that still exist. It seems laws once enacted anywhere are unlikely to be repealed. Prohibition, of course, didn't have a very long run but it took an amendment to the Constitution to get rid of it.

     In the early 1950s I was in the Air Force. One of the bases I was stationed on was Fort Carson in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was the cavalry base from which General Custer rode out to engage in the infamous Battle Of Little Big Horn. There were base regulations there against shooting buffalo from barracks windows. Another stipulated that all hostile Indians should be shot on sight. 

     Later I learned of a law I found amusing but which probably shows the mindset of the Pilgrim settlers, the Puritans, I guess. In Massachusetts it was still mandatory that any man over the age of eighteen who was unmarried could be made to leave his town. I guess a lot of men, if the law were still enforced, could be kept on the run forever if disinclined to marry or found unacceptable by discriminating women. The law was still active and could, at least theoretically, be pulled out in a case of serious halitosis. I wonder how many 30-year-olds could pass themselves off as 17.

     One British law that proved to be apocryphal stated that it was illegal for any woman to go topless publicly unless she was working in an exotic fish store.

  

     On the more serious side I just did something I wouldn't have believed I'd ever do. I watched a documentary of a criminal case in Wisconsin that ran, at the time I switched away from it, at least 10 hours. It was about a man who was convicted, it definitely seemed, unjustly of the murder of a woman in 1985. He served 18 years and was exonerated. The evidence convinced me, and I'm not easily convinced, that the man was innocent of the charges. Two years after being set free he was charged with a rape and murder of which he seemed to be clearly guilty. But the fascinating thing about the film was the amount of detail the people making the doc were able to get.

     I had plans to start on another project today but I looked into this because of a notice I got early this morning from Netflix. The case, especially when it went into the second trial, was so bizarre I couldn't turn away from it. I'm surprised I'd never heard of it until now but it was probably the strangest court case I've ever seen. In the second trial he was again found guilty but this time most of the evidence indicated he was. But, if it was the way it was shown, in the course of the second crime he involved a nephew, one who appeared to be seriously mentally challenged, in the act and he still had to go on trial. This is where I threw in the towel. It could be another 10 hours.

     After I get some work done, a major writing project I decided to start, I'll look into it again.

     I did take another look at the doc and the nephew had been sentenced to what would be 41 years in prison.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

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