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Friday, May 15, 2009

Mississippi Decoded

About once a week, I end up leafing through the trusty Mississippi Code to find the answer to reference request. Did you know that it's a set of thirty-one books? That's not including the indices, court rules, legal forms, etc..., etc... What a set to lug around, right?! If you ever want to have a glance without shelling out for the whole set, your local public library more than likely has it. You can also contact us!

Today as I flipped to the end of Title 97 (Title 97 gets a whole book to itself!), the word dueling caught my eye. That's right, folks. There is a whole chapter in Mississippi law devoted to the subject of dueling! (I must interject that said chapter is only three pages long.) Of course, the good stuff is all wrapped up in an incoherent slew of legalese. Let me demonstrate:

§ 97-39-5. Leaving the state for purposes of duel.

If any person shall send, deliver, or cause to be sent or delivered, any challenge, written or verbal, in this state, to any person to fight a duel out of this state, or shall leave this state to fight a duel out of the same, or shall accept such challenge out of this state, and shall leave this state for the purpose of fighting a duel; or if any person shall leave this state for the purpose of sending, accepting, or bearing a challenge, or the acceptance thereof, to fight a duel or shall knowingly bear any challenge, or be concerned as second, aid, or surgeon, of either party, without this state, the person so offending shall be subject to the like punishment as is provided in Sections 97-39-1 and 97-39-3.
Isn't that a beautiful thing? I have deciphered this as meaning, "You can't go duel out of state, so don't even try it." I've been wondering if, say, Alabama was having a problem with prospective duelers sneaking over the state line to duke it out in the moonlight.
The rest of the chapter delves into an excruciatingly detailed account of how one cannot duel, watch a duel, help a dueler, get mad at someone who won't duel, and so on. For your further edification, the punishment mentioned above is a $300-$1,000 fine and/or at least 6 months in the county clinky.
We promise to be more faithful about delivering these fascinating nuggets to our admiring public in the future. We hate that you've been having to go without! Goodness, we wouldn't want anyone to challenge us to BB guns at sunup in Tennessee. (How about loaded Oreos?)

Mississippi Code 1972, annotated. LexisNexis, 2008.

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