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The small absurdities of the police state - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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The small absurdities of the police state [Nov. 9th, 2003|05:41 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |cynicalcynical]

In Ohio, you are forbidden to walk on the lefthand side of the sidewalk, if at all avoidable.

Now, everyone has seen those amusing lists of antiquated laws that still linger on the books of states. Illegal to hold your wife's hand on Sunday, illegal to ride a moose through town, illegal to remove bandages in public. One more anachronism in a long list.

Except, in the omnibus criminal law statute update passed last year, the Ohio legislature (slogan: "It is so our business"), updated the sidewalk law to give it more teeth. Now, rather than merely proscribed, it is a fourth degree misdemeanor subject to penalty. What's more, it can rise to the level of a second degree misdemeanor for the repeat offender.

So you just better watch it if you are in incorrigible...left-hand...of the sidewalk...walker.

What kind of anal-retentive mind comes up with this? If you get caught twice walking on the left, you can be subject to up to 90 days of jail time. "I'm in for walking on the left - don't mess with me!"

Yeah, I know that enforcement is almost nil, that it's there to give the police a reason to mess with people they regard as disruptive, etc. But can I help it that walking on the left will give me a secret thrill from now on? Could being a scoflaw be made any easier?

And how are we supposed to take these clowns seriously when they're passing crap like that?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: darthfox
2003-11-09 03:07 pm (UTC)
for real?

how do they determine where the right ends and the left begins? (i'm sure there's a joke about partisan politics in there somewhere, but i'm too tired to try to find it right now.) and ... like ... what if i'm so zealous about walking on the right side of the sidewalk that i'm walking in the street instead? or something.

more to the point, is this one of those things that people from out of state can get nailed for without even being aware the law exists, like the time i got a parking ticket in providence, rhode island (even though i parked on a block free of "no parking" signage) because i wasn't aware of a city ordinance prohibiting cars to be parked on city streets overnight (i.e. between 2 and 6 a.m., i think) unless their plates were registered beforehand with the police?

le sigh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-09 03:18 pm (UTC)
I got a ticket for parking overnight in front of my own house. It is illegal to part on the street from 2-6am in Rocky River, though not in Lakewood, the next town over. And it is posted, on small signs here and there.

Frustrating, and not obvious. But it only took once....
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[User Picture]From: crwilley
2003-11-09 03:10 pm (UTC)
Ick. If they need the law to snag disruptive people, pass laws targeting specific disruptive behaviors. "Disturbing the peace" is a handy one. This strikes me as something that has a high potential to turn into "Walking while black".

Meanwhile...there's an old, very true, saw about how one law that goes unenforced weakens the whole body of law. If you can get away with walking on the left side of the sidewalk, what else can you do?

And I wonder if it's a workable defense that the left and right sides of the sidewalk aren't clearly delineated...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-09 06:24 pm (UTC)
It would probably only result in them painting ugly yellow stripes on all the sidewalks.

In Ohio, I fear that breaking the law is almost a daily occurence for the unwary.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2003-11-10 11:37 am (UTC)
You pretty much nailed the reasons that silly outdated laws that are still technically on the books really disturb me.
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[User Picture]From: scouseboy
2003-11-09 03:11 pm (UTC)
When I stood for election in my college, I posted a list of comedy laws I promised to pass if I was voted in. They included "it is illegal to be Chuck Norris."

I think we should petition to get this on Ohio's legistlature.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-09 06:21 pm (UTC)
Don't give them any ideas....
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-09 06:21 pm (UTC)
At least stealing a toilet is something that should trigger in your mind as not exactly kosher.

Walking on the left???
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[User Picture]From: shermel
2003-11-09 03:56 pm (UTC)
But why?

Why is it illegal to walk on the left? And doesn't the left depend on which way you're faced anyway?

I don't get it.

My brain hurts.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-09 06:22 pm (UTC)
You would always walk on your own right. Like driving.

Because headon collisions between pedestrians are so frequently fatal....
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[User Picture]From: exor674
2003-11-09 06:27 pm (UTC)
When they make one-way sidewalks, I say move out.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-10 03:43 am (UTC)
Hee!
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[User Picture]From: shermel
2003-11-10 03:47 pm (UTC)
I think I was confused because we drive on the left here. Hard to get your head round it.

I think.

Yeah, that's my excuse.

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[User Picture]From: brujah
2003-11-09 11:32 pm (UTC)
One of my town's antiquated laws is still enforced. While I am not sure of the precise wording, in essence it states that a woman may not walk the town square in shorts or trousers. Public indecency, or some other such rot.

O_O

Also, your vehicle must be tethered if parked near the "square." As far as I know this one hasn't been enforced.

I always wanted tie my car to a cinderblock to see if it elicited any response from the one "beat cop" we have.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-10 03:46 am (UTC)
Still enforced? Women can't wear pants in the public square?

And I thought Ohio was bad...
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[User Picture]From: queenjade
2003-11-10 08:24 am (UTC)
"I always wanted tie my car to a cinderblock to see if it elicited any response from the one "beat cop" we have."

That's hysterical! Haw!
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-11-10 10:30 am (UTC)
It's pretty annoying when people are walking on the wrong side and it's crowded. They should institute it for theaters and other public assembly places.

And they should definitely outlaw standing and chatting in the aisle so people can't leave. They should not, however, outlaw stepping over the aisle to get around the idiots standing there chatting.
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[User Picture]From: rakafkaven
2003-11-10 10:36 am (UTC)
Legislating common sense or courtesy increases the occurence of neither.
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-11-10 01:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but why not add to the insanity?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2003-11-10 06:35 pm (UTC)
Call me a minimalist, but I'm not that keen on legislating such things. [g]
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[User Picture]From: zigurat
2003-11-12 06:21 am (UTC)
Me either. But, you know, since they're going over the top, at least they should make it so that when you're stuck in an aisle, you can whip out your copy of the code and smack someone with it. Which should also be expressly allowed. [g]
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