Laying Down the Law Leaves a Lot to the Imagination. (for the People)

By Goode, Stephen | Insight on the News, September 23, 2002 | Go to article overview

Laying Down the Law Leaves a Lot to the Imagination. (for the People)


Goode, Stephen, Insight on the News


The Website dumblaws.com provides a great deal of entertainment while at the same time telling its readers a lot about history. It lists current U.S. laws and those that used to be on the books and which strike the Website's creators as strange and sometimes inexplicable.

The Website also lists dumb laws from foreign countries, a few of which come from England. Some obviously are medieval in origin, while others are from later times, but each has something to say about the English past:

* Sundays, at least in the past, were regarded as special. In the city of York, for example, a law held that it was legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow--except on Sundays. In Hereford, it was illegal on Sunday to shoot a Welshman with a longbow in the Cathedral Close.

* Public nudity continues to be frowned upon in the United Kingdom on most occasions. But a law evidently still on the books in Liverpool makes it illegal for a woman to be topless in public, except when she's a clerk in a tropical-fish store. …

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