Swear in public? Pay $20 fine

Duncan thinks public swearing is a problem and proposes borrowing a solution from a community in Massachusetts.

I'm an older sort, but not a stick in the mud; so it's not easy for me to suggest something that restricts others' actions/speech.

However, nearly every time I'm out shopping or just tootling around Smyrna, I'm subjected to someone's loud foul mouth, usually at very high decibels and it ruins what is otherwise a fine day. The cursing is often just part of 'casual' conversation and not even a result of anger...

This morning I came across an interesting article from Business Week concerning Middleborough, Massachusett's attempt to solve their own problem along these lines:

"Residents in Middleborough have voted to make the foul-mouthed among them pay fines for swearing in public.

At a town meeting Monday night, residents voted 183-50 to approve a proposal from the police chief to impose a $20 fine on public profanity.

Officials insist the proposal was not intended to censor casual or private conversations, but instead to crack down on loud, profanity-laden language used by teens and other young people in the downtown area and public parks."

Do you think public swearing is a problem in Smyrna-Vinings that should be fined? Sound off in the comments.

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Jason June 15, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I'm no tea-party member, but the notion of our govt monitoring my speech for bad words is ludicrous!
Observer June 15, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Hah! You would only need to station a single officer at CMS during recess and the city could generate enough revenue to eliminate the city property tax.
Brian June 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Such fines are a freedom of speech violation. They wouldn't hold up in court. Plenty examples exist - including preventing grade school children from wearing clothing. Usually when they pick a lawyer's child, they find themselves on the losing end of a civil case.
Duncan June 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I have absolutely no idea how the concept of "preventing grade school children from wearing clothing" fits into this conversation but on to other more salient matters; to those who think of this as a freedom of speech issue, please go back and read the entire article at its source in Massachusetts....., there's a link in the story. If I go into someone's church on a Sunday morning and start cursing a blue streak...., what will happen? You and I both know what will happen; I don't understand why there's an expected difference between maintaining the "the good peace and civility" of a church environment and being able to expect the same in the general culture.
Keith Cordell August 08, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Is this the 60's? These are words, the way people express themselves and no individual or government can censor those, unless they are incitement to violence or treason. The very idea is ridiculous and vulgar.


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