If you’re planning a trip to the United States, be very careful. You could easily break one of our laws and not know it. We’re not talking about obvious illegal behavior, like punching your taxi driver or throwing a chair through your hotel window. No, there are other, more obscure offenses that could get you in trouble.
According to a law still on the books in Glendale, Arizona, for instance, you can get arrested for driving in reverse!
And be warned: you may not sleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota. Can’t legally set a mousetrap in California without a hunting license, either. Tease a skunk in Minnesota, or gargle in public in New Orleans, Louisiana, and they can haul you off to jail.
If you have business in the western state of Utah, be especially vigilant. In particular, don’t go whale-hunting there. It’s illegal. Doesn’t matter that Utah is 1,500 kilometers from the nearest ocean!
And be aware while you’re in Utah that you cannot legally fish from horseback, refuse to drink milk, detonate a nuclear weapon, or cause a catastrophe. Of course, setting off a nuclear weapon most likely would BE a catastrophe.
These are OLD, OLD laws that probably that had some reason behind them that makes no sense today. But nobody ever bothered to take them off the books.
Why not? Well, suppose you’re on the council in a town that has an ordinance that makes it illegal to blow your nose in public. If you stood up and proclaimed that it’s high time to do away such an arcane law, the voters would toss you out of office for wasting time on frivolous matters.
And since a lot of these old laws have to do with sex, religious beliefs, and cuddly animals, some interest group would probably take offense and make you sorry you opened your mouth. So laws like one in Indiana that makes it illegal for monkeys to smoke stay on the books because people are simply too embarrassed to bring them up.