5 Horrifying Things That Should Have Been Illegal Way Sooner

Whatever happened to the good old days, when men were men and nobody needed warning labels to tell them not to drink their shampoo? You know, before everybody got so sensitive and lawsuit-happy?

Well, we're reasonably sure that what happened is that people realized the good old days were fucking horrible. Just look at how long it took the government to come around on some truly awful shit that should have been stopped decades earlier ...

#5. It Was Legal For Men To Rape Their Wives In Some States Until 1993

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

This hopefully goes without saying, but rape is a felony, and like with any other felony, being married to the victim doesn't excuse you from jail. At least, that's what you and any other reasonable human being would assume. But the idea that sexually assaulting your spouse should be considered a crime is only a few decades old in America, because our 20th-century legal system was still struggling with the concept that human beings aren't property (this has admittedly been difficult for the United States to grasp).

A. J. Russell
Let's not forget the Civil War fought over who owns Spider-Man.

And we're not talking about an ugly technicality buried in the bylaws of, say, Mississippi -- as recently as 1983, it was still legal for a man to rape his wife in 33 of the 50 states. And this persisted until 1993, when North Carolina became the last state to get rid of laws which explicitly stated that rape wasn't rape as long as you were married to the victim.

Even now, the old laws still haven't been completely purged. In Ohio, as well as some other states, marital rape still isn't considered rape unless there's violence involved. So you can totally knock your wife out with a roofie; just not a baseball bat. And feel free to pile on all the emotional abuse and pressure you need to bully her into having sex with you, because that's all part of a healthy, legally sanctioned marriage, according to the state of Ohio.

Wiki Commons
Congratulations, Browns! You're officially not the shittiest thing about your state.

And before foreigners get too smug, the UK was only two years ahead of the US, criminalizing rape within marriage in 1991. You may recognize that as the year Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey came out. So yeah, criminalized marital rape in the United Kingdom is exactly as old as Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

#4. Airport Security Didn't Exist Until The 1970s

Jeff Topping/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Although commercial flight began in 1920, it would be decades before anyone would come up airline security. Before that time, people apparently assumed that crime ceased to exist once you were five miles above the Earth, or that commercial aircraft were under the jurisdiction of Zeus, King of Olympus.

via Wiki Commons
Literally nothing was there to prevent sky murder, sky bestiality, etc.

Finally, after four US flights were hijacked in as many months(!), President John F. Kennedy instituted the air marshal program, which put officers on certain flights and required that all planes begin locking their cockpit doors, because for some reason this wasn't something they already did ("But what if a passenger has a question?"). But this wasn't quite enough -- by 1972, another 72 hijackings had occurred. That is not a misprint. Seventy-two. Air travelers in the early '70s essentially had an almost equal chance of reaching their destination as having their flight featured in a TV movie.

So in 1974, metal detectors were introduced into airports to catch anyone trying to sneak weapons onto a flight, since the honor system clearly wasn't working. Even then, airlines still had a blind spot when it came to staff. In 1987, an ex-employee of US Airways named David Burke managed to board a plane with a gun, even though he'd been fired from the company months earlier, because he still had his company pass and nobody thought it was necessary to check the bags of an airline employee. That plane crashed, and although the investigation was inconclusive, the sound of gunfire on the black box and a suicide note written by Burke on the outside of an air sickness bag led many to believe that he might have had something to do with it.

via Wiki Commons
They did have enough evidence to posthumously charge him
with multiple counts of impersonating Lamont from Sanford And Son.

After that, US Airways instituted a groundbreaking new procedure requiring ex-employees to, you know, surrender their staff IDs after getting fired. Even then, it wasn't until after September 11th, 2001 that flight crews began to be regularly screened before boarding their aircraft. And everyone remembers how borderline fascist airport security has become since then, right? Surely nobody can sneak a pistol or a hand grenade on board a transcontinental flight nowadays.

Yeah, about that. It's been found that airport employees are still not subject to the level of scrutiny demanded of passengers. In fact, only two major airports require staff to go through metal detectors. Look, we're still figuring this whole "airport security" thing out. After all, flying has only been around for maybe a century, and we had to make sure we could turn it into a commercial industry before we figured out how to make it safe and everything.

#3. The Secret Service Didn't Start Guarding The President Until After Three Presidents Were Assassinated

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Over the history of the position, four presidents of the United States have been assassinated. That's fewer than 10 percent, which isn't terrible, but ideally we'd like to keep that number from getting any bigger. Which is why it's so ridiculous that we didn't start giving the president bodyguards until after the third assassination -- that of William McKinley in 1901. Before McKinley's death, most commanders in chief didn't think there were any credible threats to their lives (even though two presidents had already been assassinated before him). Heck, McKinley himself knew someone was planning to kill him over a week before it happened, but he shrugged it off, believing he was too popular for anyone to pull it off.

T. Dart Walker
This was incorrect.

Even then, it still took a while for anyone to figure out exactly how to go about protecting the president. It wasn't until 1913 that the Secret Service were officially given the task. Since then, there's only been one successful assassination, although there have been plenty of attempts, and more than one person has attempted to kill a sitting president by flying a stolen plane into the White House.

The Baltimore Sun
See: Shitty airport security from earlier.

But how about former presidents? There was no official protection for retired ex-presidents until as recently as 1963. Before then, it was simply assumed that people stopped caring about ex-presidents the moment they were out of office. Harry Truman, for instance, lived in a house with little security in place, and it wouldn't be unusual to bump into him on the street as he went to buy a newspaper. In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, it became part of the duties of the Secret Service to guard former presidents as well as the current one. After all, someone might still be lurking out there, harboring a 40-year grudge against Jimmy Carter over Billy Beer.

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