Saturday, July 13, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more letters to the editor regarding the perception that Americans are losing their freedoms, and I have seen the word tyranny used more than once. People who think we are living under tyranny today need to study the laws of yesterday.
I have spent a substantial portion of my 64 years studying American history, mainly the westward migration and frontier towns. When towns like Dodge City, Tombstone and Deadwood were incorporated, some of the first laws put on the books were gun laws. Upon entering town, you had to drop your guns off with the local law enforcement official. The guns were returned when you left. A while back, I saw a man riding a motorcycle wearing a bathing suit and a rifle slung across his shoulder. If he rode his horse into Dodge City wearing that ensemble, he would have been thrown in jail. This behavior would have never been tolerated in the 1800s. Today, my husband could put on a red, white and blue bikini, walk down Las Vegas Boulevard with two pistols strapped to his hips and it would be perfectly legal. Nevada is an open carry state.
Before the 1967 Supreme Court case, “Loving v. Virginia”, people were imprisoned for engaging in miscegenation. Today, consenting adults can marry and have sex with whomever they choose, regardless of skin color.
Gay people have been discriminated against throughout this nation’s history to the point where most had to hide their sexual orientation. They were beaten and in some cases killed. Today they can marry and in many states enjoy domestic partnership rights. They can also serve in the military and not live in fear of being found out.
Today, theft is punished with a slap on the wrist and probation. It wasn’t too long ago you could be hanged for stealing a horse or a cow. Slaves were hanged for leaving their owner’s property.
We enjoy freedoms today that would’ve been unfathomable to prior generations.