May 15, 2009
The Unseen American; Doctors to a Revolution; Women's Burden
On patrol in Omaha in 1974, a police officer wanted to apprehend a homeless man but had no basis for the arrest. Consulting the city code, he found an obscure ordinance prohibiting deformed and disabled people from appearing in public. The officer took the man into custody, citing his visible scars. Confused, city prosecutors quickly released the man but were forced to admit that the decades-old law was still active.
Ugly laws, or "unsightly beggar ordinances," first appeared in
The Chronicle Review