Category: law

If I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inch…

If I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom

Japanese Suffragette Komako Kimura At A New Yo…

While British and American suffragettes get all the attention, Japan had a contemporary suffragette movement. It began after the Meiji Restoration when major educational and political reforms started educating women but excluding them from participation in the new “democratic” government. By law, they were barred from joining political parties, expressing political views, and attending political meetings. Japanese women, more educated then ever and slowly participating in Japan’s workforce, began fighting for the right to participate in the new civil democracy as well.

Unfortunately, when Western white women began winning the right to vote after World War I, Japanese women’s participation in politics was still fighting for basic rights. In 1921, for instance, a court ruling overturned the law forbidding women from attending political meetings. This led to a flowering of women’s suffrage organizations in the 1920s, in addition to literary circles which began publishing feminist magazines during the interwar period.

Japanese women kept the issue alive, but did not win the right to vote until 1945, when election laws were revised under the American occupation.

In 1944, George Stinney Jr., 14, became the youngest American…

In 1944, George Stinney Jr., 14, became the youngest American executed in the 20th century when he was sent to the electric chair.

The 2nd Most Prolific Serial Killer In History…

Pedro Lopez is a Colombian serial killer. He was sentenced in 1980 in Ecuador for killing 110 girls, but who claims to have raped and killed more than 300 girls across Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and potentially other countries. That would make him the second most prolific known serial killer in history.

He was released in 1994, rearrested an hour later as an illegal immigrant and handed over to Colombian authorities, who charged him with a 20-year-old murder. Lopez was released by Colombia in 1998 on $50 bail and some conditions. He absconded. At present, Lopez is wanted in connection to a 2002 murder, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Scold’s bridle, a metal mask was used to punish mainly women…

Scold’s bridle, a metal mask was used to punish mainly women found gossiping, nagging, brawling with neighbors or lying.

Lady demonstrating how a book could be used to…

Lady demonstrating how a book could be used to conceal a flask during Prohibition. USA, circa 1927

The Curious Case Of The Living Dead Man

In 1887, William Marion was hanged for murdering his friend John Cameron in Nebraska. Here’s what happened: a body identified as John Cameron was found in 1873. Marion was suspected of the murder, because he had been seen traveling with Cameron’s horses earlier that year. Marion was tried, convicted, and eventually hanged in 1887.

But four years later, Cameron reappeared! Turns out he had fled to Mexico, to avoid a paternity claim, and before leaving had sold his horses to Marion. He had not heard about Marion’s arrest and conviction until after Marion had been executed. In March 1987, 100 years after William Jackson Marion’s hanging, Nebraska Governor Robert Kerry pardoned him.

The stories of five of the world’s most infamous criminals and…

The stories of five of the world’s most infamous criminals and their cars.

Ancient Politicians Had To Respond To Public D…

In 29 CE, the worst sports disaster in the history of the world took place. In Fidenae, a town 8 miles north of Rome, a cheap, wooden gladiator amphitheater collapsed killing about 20,000 people.

In response the Roman Senate banished the builder of the stadium, and passed building regulations for arenas to prevent future disasters, requiring that new stadiums had to be inspected and certified by the state as safe.

Just to make really sure no one would be building cheap, collapsible stadiums, they also banned anyone with a fortune of less than 400,000 sesterces from building amphitheaters. That translates to between 630,000 and 2,400,000 USD today. Yes, it is a really wide margin, I know. Converting ancient commodity currency to modern fiat currency is hard, guys.

The Shogun Who Loved Dogs

Tsunayoshi Tokugawa was shogun of Japan from 1680 to 1709. For a long time, he had a bad reputation, historically. The samurai class disliked him because Tsunayoshi had a fondness for boys of any class – and the samurai did not like that Tsunayoshi did not discriminate his lovers by class. He was also a pretty strict ruler, confiscating many properties, cracking down on prostitution, and banning too-fancy fabrics. None of which likely endeared Tsunayoshi to the literate class, either. But this is not a post about his administrative style. This is a post about dogs.

Often fondly referred to as Oinusama (the dog shogun), Tsunayoshi really did have a soft spot for canines. He was born during the Year of the Dog, and was told that he had been a dog in a previous life. Tsunayoshi also issued a number of edicts, known as Edicts on Compassion for Living Things, that were released daily to the public. Most of them involved the protection of dogs — in fact, it was a capital crime to harm one. A massive kennel, said to have held more than 50,000 dogs, had to be set up outside the capital city of Edo to house the surfeit of dogs that resulted. Paid for by the happy citizens of Edo, of course.

Tsunayoshi was not just about the dogs, though that is what he remains known for. He became immersed in Neo-Confucianism and studied it profusely. Through this influence, Tsunayoshi enacted many protections for living beings — not just dogs — during his rule. In fact, he also insisted abandoned children and sick travelers should be taken care of and not be left to die, as was often the practice.