Washing kids’ mouths out with soap used to be the standard
punishment for swearing. Now, the citizens of Middleborough, Mass., have
decided to up the ante and make people pay a fine for cursing in public. These
new measures aren’t supposed to affect private convos, but just turn down the
volume on the bad language.
Middleborough has had some problems with teens hanging out
in the town center and swearing so much that customers were being scared away
from the shops, The Guardian reports.
The city already had a bylaw that defined cursing in public as a crime, but the
police never enforced it. Officials are
hoping that by imposing a fine instead of a long, drawn-out trial, police will
be more likely to stop the cursing.
The tricky part about these new fines is that the Supreme
Court decided years ago that the government had no Constitutional right to
restrict free speech based on swearing. But on the other hand, Massachusetts
has its own law allowing policemen to arrest people who curse at others in
public. So for right now, it’s up to each law enforcer in Middleborough to
decide how far he or she is going to carry this new ordinance.
What do you think,
babes? Is this town destroying free speech, or just keeping its streets squeaky
BY CARRIE RUPPERT ON 6/12/2012 2:44:00 PM
POSTED IN In the News