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Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals

We have too many laws, not enough law enforcement, mind you, but too many laws. Someone has said that the sum total content of today's law books is beyond any man's possible knowledge. It's easier to pass a law than it is to get rid of one. To pass takes a simple majority, however to repeal takes a two-thirds majority. Many times that is hard to come-by. Most law makers don't want to let-go of a law even if it is outdated, or the changes of time and custom have rendered a law non-applicable.

A good example is the law that says a Kentucky governor must swear an oath saying he or she has never fought a duel in the state of Kentucky before they can be legally sworn-in to office.

Back in Texas history, when the town of Clarksville, Red River County, was incorporated in 1837, some of the first laws passed have never been repealed including the following: The rate of taxation shall never exceed the rate of one percent; any person who shall appear in a public place in this city in a mode of dress not belonging to his or her sex, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction fined an amount not exceeding $100. It shall be unlawful for anyone running a bar-room to permit any music of any kind to be made upon an instrument of any kind. It shall be unlawful for music or dancing to be permitted in any house-of-ill-repute. (I guess you could sin one way, but not another.)

Also in the city limits of Clarksville, no automobile shall be permitted to turn a corner greater than 8 miles per hours.

To safeguard the fairer sex, any female who shall be found loitering upon the streets later than 10:00 p.m. without a male escort, shall pay a fine not to exceed $10.

In regard to female loitering, a woman, an Americn tourist, was strolling alone in the streets in a Latin American country after female curfew. She was arrested as a streetwalker, thrown in jail, and fined $500, "which so happened" to be the exact amount she had in her purse in travelers checks.

The woman called the U.S. Embassy. It was the weekend; they were all out to play. Not knowing where to turn, she tried the British Embassy. She found a warm body to speak with. A kind man told her that since she wasn't a British subject he couldn't help her. But, he gave her some good advice: "Why not purchase a streetwalker's license . . . it only costs $2.50?"

She did, and enjoyed the rest of her nocturnal streetwalking. Upon returning home, she framed her prostitute's license and hung it on the wall.

Oh, if you should want to live in a large city and still keep a milk cow, horse, or chickens in your back yard, Houston, Texas is the place to go. There still are no livestock laws there.

Of course there are ways of getting around the law, legally, if you ave money. A well-off woman back in my hometown had a son too young to drive. He was fined several times for driving without a license. When his mother paid the last fine, she asked the judge, "Well, what can he drive legally?" "A tractor," the judge informed her. "Then," she said, "I'll buy him a new tractor."

Minnie Pearl said a man grabbed her and kissed her as she was about to enter the back door of the Grand Ole Opry House. She warned him, "If you do that again I'll call the law." He did . . . and she said, "Law . . . law." ---not very loud.

Kindest regards . . .


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