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Citizens Could Face Fine For Cursing

May 2, 2012 by  

Citizens Could Face Fine For Cursing
The people of Middleborough, Mass., could face a fine for swearing in public.

The police chief in Middleborough, Mass., is proposing a $20 fine for every curse word that comes out of a citizen’s mouth when in public.

“We have a lot more important things to do, but these are things that are quality of life issues, community policing issues that a lot of people don’t want to see downtown,” said Police Chief Bruce Gates.

Some of the people in Middleborough are tired of the downtown streets being polluted by potty mouths.

“It’s intimidating to my customers, to the people who are out here downtown, and I think it’s a good thing that they’re doing something to try to curb it,” said business owner Paulette Lilla.

Gates will argue his case before a town meeting in June.

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • Vicki

    To see how funny and annoying such a law could be watch the movie “Demolition Man”.

    • Karolyn

      Sly Stallone! Great movie! A future time when there is no crime – “murder, death, kill.” :-) Every time somebody curses they get a card from a machine with demerits.

  • JimH

    The community “cuss jar”.
    Who gets the efin money?

    • eddie47d

      Good one Jim. Let’s try to be as civil as possible and hopefully good behavior will trickle down to the knuckleheads who abuse the languages.

  • Vigilant

    Unless the Constitution of the state of MA prohibits agridgement of freedom of speech, there’s not much anyone could do to legally challenge it.

    • vicki

      14 Amendment. Congress shall make no law now extended to States shall make no law….

  • angelwannabe

    What a bunch of effin crap!…Sorry I couldn’t resist! :)

    Freespeech Folks, the Constitution doesn’t state with or without potty mouth!

    • ToeTagTunny

      Fact of the matter is, it’s the shop owners and the citizens who wants this bill to pass, therefore.. It hasn’t got a chance.

  • Rocky Night

    Freedom slowly dies. One f**king law at a time.
    40,000 laws were created last year. Not one of those laws “give” you more freedom.

  • kategray

    And what is the point? Is it to get more dollars and fill someones coffers. WHERE IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH whether you like it or not.

    • CJ

      Interesting how many people don’t understand that ‘Freedom of Speech” does NOT give you a right to say whatever, when ever. It is NOT absolute. It ONLY means the government can not write laws to prevent you from speaking out against IT. It has been, inappropriately, extended to imply you can say anything you want. Unfortunately, it has been thrown about to the point that we must allow users of ‘gutter talk’ to make NO point because people choose not to maintain a higher level of education so they can express a VALID point eloquently. Our rights come with limitations AND responsibilities. Again, the Constitution does NOT prevent an individual from taking action, only the government from making a law against it.

      • Libertytrain

        CJ – people do tend to forget that freedom of speach or freedom in general comes with a responsbility – I remember when they actually taught in school and the way they explained it most simply is your freedom ends where mine begins. Or mine begins where yours ends. I think people forget these days of lack of control over oneself, that cursing in public can be extremely offensive to folks – I have a potty mouth, I use it at home….and keep it under wraps in public domains where I don’t have the right to abuse others with my mouth.

      • Corsica

        Absolutely correct. Freedom of speech meant only that unreasonable or cruel policies of a government could be criticized without a person being arbitrarily arrested. But stupid people take it literally. It doesn’t give you the freedom to insult, degrade, belittle and attack an individual with obscenities or use obscenities in public speech. There should be a sentence or two added to the amendment to reflect that.

      • vicki

        Libertytrain says:
        I think people forget these days of lack of control over oneself, that cursing in public can be extremely offensive to folks

        This is the (il)logic of Pollitical Correctness. Are you sure you want to go there?

      • Libertytrain

        Vicki – I don’t agree with what I said being politically correct. I think of it more as just common manners – manners does not equate to being politically correct – in my book.

      • 2¢ worth…

        Blame the friggin’ media for that.. They can write whatever they choose while protecting their deep throat.. Dip wads grabbed on to that and morphed it into what people believe it means today.. Conversation is just words.. Dumbing down those words into expletives is an education deficiency..

      • Libertytrain

        2 cents – well said.

  • dan

    a curse upon these empty cod-pieces ….bane of articulate locutionaries everywhere.

  • michaeljbeglinjr

    The article should have been titled “Police Chief of Middleborough, MA Shows Contempt for Constitution, 1St Amendment”.

    If that is the police chief’s main priority, it sounds as if he has a crime-free city on his hands. How much do you want to bet that the $20.00 fine money would end up in the police department’s budget? Any takers? This chief should be tried for contempt of the Constitution.

    • Vigilant

      Read your Constitution please.

      The First Amendment does NOT prevent states from abidging free speech. It prevents CONGRESS from passing laws to that effect.

      • CJ

        Absolutely!! Therefore, one could personally stop the offensive language, but don’t ask for a law to do it.

      • Vigilant

        The bylaw is already on the books. The decision is whether or not to enforce it.

      • TML

        Vigilant says, “The First Amendment does NOT prevent states from abidging free speech. It prevents CONGRESS from passing laws to that effect.”

        True, but being that the Bill of Rights is to protect the individual rights of citizens, States altered their own constitutions to conform to these. Such as;

        Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
        Article XVI. The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth. The right of free speech shall not be abridged.

      • Vigilant

        Good catch, TML. Looks like the City Council has a bylaw on the books that’s unconstitutional under Mass. law. If it’s ever adjudicated, the city may end up having egg on its face.

    • http://Google Gary Gerke

      AMEN RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      These local gestapo facists and would be dictators think they can over ride the constitutional laws of the nation because they believe themselves to above the laws of the land.
      If you go to court and ask the judge…can I get a fair trial in the court room, the judge will respond….yes!. Again ask the question…if there is a conflict of interest in this court can I get a fair trial…the judge will answer no you can’t. Then ask the final question…your honer who signs your checks!

      The judge will not answer because he works for the state who brought the charge against you. You will be out of order and told to sit down and shut up!!!!!!!!

  • Sirian

    Wonder if the Police Chief has scoured through the old “Blue Laws” of Mass.? More than likely a law such as this is still in existence. There’s always plenty of old “Blue Laws” that today are funny but even so, their still enforceable. I really wouldn’t count on this making it through the town meeting. The needs of a few outweigh the needs of the many? Really?? Sound familiar?

    • Vigilant


      “MIDDLEBORO, Mass. (WGGB) – It’s a problem that has become more pervasive in cities and towns across America: cursing. Now, one Massachusetts town wants to start levying a fine in an effort to cut down on the practice.

      “In the eastern Massachusetts town of Middleboro, there is a bylaw currently on the books, but rarely enforced.”

      Sirian, you were right!

  • Flashy

    F*** ‘em.

    A tale from the past. Seems someone at one time was being written a traffic citatin. And the local enforement offical writing the ticket was called a motherf’er. And wrote the citation with many many more infractions..including oones about the referenced opinion.

    At court, the policeman was called to the stand and the opening uestions concerned the stated opinion. Was he married/ yes. Did he have children? yes. Then is the learned policeman, under oath, stating he didn’t have sex with his wife?

    At that point, the judge halted questioning and dismissed the entire case.

    That is the problem with the Chief’s position. At what point does opinion override his concern for etiquette ?

    If the City Council buys off on his request, they’re going to be wasting taxpayer monies losing this one in court. my humble opinion of course ….

    • Vigilant

      “That is the problem with the Chief’s position. At what point does opinion override his concern for etiquette ?”

      Opinion has nothing to do with it. The law on the books is technically enforceable unless and until removed by the Council. The Council needs to decide whether they allow the chief to enforce it, or to get it annulled.

      • Flashy

        Vig..i agree..”technically enforceable”. Until removed by the Council or tossed by a Court.

  • Steve E

    I would love the get the opportunity to cuss that nanny state police chief out.

    • 2¢ worth…

      You would be talking out of the other side of your mouth if you lived in a neighborhood who does this type of (constitutional) tripe every evening from 4:00pm to midnight. Though the cop is wrong in his judgement of a curse word, he’s right on when it come to uncontrolled carrying on and cursing and the citizens can’t protest (in my neighborhood) for fear their house would suddenly burst up in flames.. With THEM inside!!

      • 2¢ worth…

        Oh! And don’t tell me I have a right to move.. Hell, I can barely afford the place I’m living in now.. And those damn Repubs want to eliminate medicare and Social Security?.. Guess that’s one way I can move.. TO THE GRAVEYARD!!

    • Steve E

      I got no problem against anyone who is against cursing. They need to confront that person cussing themselves and tell them how they feel. The offended one has constitutional rights also and can express that. But not in the forum of a court.

  • Jaesun

    Mr police chief just gives another example of a control freak trying to force his opinion on citizens at the point of a gun. That’s an excellent reason to withdraw support for police and any body politic that would consider limiting freedom of speech, regardless how offensive that speech is. Abuse of power is much uglier that foul language.

  • Brad

    Flashy – Every once in awhile you suprise me with something that makes 100% sense.

    • Flashy

      Brad….that scares the bejeesus outta me….

    • Karolyn

      That is so cool! Isn’t it nice when we agree on something? (And we do more often than you might think.)

  • lady kroft

    With the run of braindead legislators we currently have, if they banned cursing, how long do you think it would take for them to start banning speech in other forms? Right now this present day people have been arrested for mentioning the name Jesus; arrested for speaking out against muslims; arrested for speaking out against sharia; and now cursing. Right now they’re only being fined; arrest is next if it persists.What will be next? You can only speak when spoken to????
    Human nature does not realize what harm they do when they demand specialties for themselves what it will balloon into on down the road.
    What right does any one person have to take away the right of an other in limiting their speech? If you’re offended by cussing, close your ears, or move. If you tough it out you’ll learn that you don’t even hear it after a while. Geeez…complain about how our president is a marxist alien bent on destroying us, for God’s sake, instead of because of a few errant words. COMPLAIN ABOUT SOMETHING WORTHWHILE!


    IMO The sooner you get religion out of politics and the Laws of the land the better.

    • vicki

      You mean like the religious prohabition against murder? How far did you want to go?

    • http://naver samurai

      Just how do you expect us to get Christianity out of our government, when that is what we were founded on? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • Franklyn Molina

    Hey, citizens of Middleborough, I’ve got news for you: YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE OFFENDED IN AMERICA!

  • Frank G

    I am 73 and I have never in my life used a curse word. I think of people who use bad language is only because they just don’t know any better and the words that they should be using they replace with the bad words, really I think it is a matter of knowledge. If you don’t know the language, you just insert the word you think would fit nicely in there even if it does not mean anything..
    If boild down to ignorance.

    • Franklyn Molina

      And back in your day, people didn’t swear, but they still used racial slurs like N—–, Sp–, W—— and others. Stop trying to rewrite history you communist scumbag.

    • amaninusa

      yes frank, respect for others is not what it use to be. in fact it’s always ben a law public swearing , spiting on public side walks ,ect. but thats when we had respect for one another. did you notice how most on this blog could not respond with out the word

  • Andrew C

    I say they go for it, this country needs to get cleaned-up.

    • Franklyn Molina

      This country doesn’t need a clean up, they need a clean up from idiots like you, who continue to contribute to the [offensive word removed] of America.

  • Porchdog

    While I don`t like to hear excessive cussing, it is not hard to see where our freedoms are going, it seems that everyone has pet peeves that they want the govt to get involved in, if we keep this up there will be blood in the streets as freedom loving Americans try to reclaim the constitution and a free America. We forge our own chains, G-d save us.

  • s c

    When you have to think about the dregs of society [self-appointed enforcers of Nazi pc], think George Carlin. He knew what was what. If he was alive today, he’d be on our side, fighting Amerika’s Nazi bastards who can’t find enough ways to kontrol Amerikans.
    To Amerika’s Nazis [brain police, schtupping stormtroopers, scum, vermin, wannabe politicians, et al], ____ off, you subhuman SLIME!

  • Karolyn

    There’s a town in NJ near where I used to live that has a similar law. Actually, when lowlifes get pissed, they curse no matter who’s around. It can be very annoying and worse. Why should a little old lady who never said a dirty word in her life have to listen to such garbage? Personally, I used to live with someone whose every other word was the f word. I got so used to it it doesn’t bother me; and depending on the company I’m in, I will use profanity; but people need to learn how to use certain words at the appropriate time and place.

    • 45caliber


      Apparently you never saw that little old lady mad! Trust me, they know the words … and know how to use them.

  • TML

    I think the law should be struck down simply because it would be essentially un-enforceable. Unless someone is yelling sh*t, p*ss, f*ck, c*nt, c*cks*cker, motherf*cker, t*ts – which becomes more of a disturbing the peace charge – then who will issue the $20 citation? Can someone just point the finger and call an officer and bam, you get a ticket? I can see that being abused like crazy just by pissing someone off. How do you prove the person was cursing? Walk around with a tape recorder and voice analyzer for a $20 ticket? If you are offended by a private conversation which you over-hear in public, does it give you the right to call the cops on them and charge them $20, reasonably? What full scope of words or dialog could be considered a violation of such law? Could they get a ticket for walking down the street discussing sex or a women’s menstruation?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in situations walking with my kids through the store or something and some hooligans cursing like sailors, and I have simply made myself known and made them look like fools as I remind them that children are present and to watch their mouth. But calling the cops and/or issuing a citation for it is ridiculous, unless, as I said, it becomes an issue of disturbing the peace.

    The police chief should be laughed off the podium at the town meeting.

  • 45caliber

    As if the police don’t have enough to do…

    Hasn’t the SCOTUS already ruled on the legality of this?

  • Dens

    The Police Chief is right. Cursing and using foul language when others can obviously hear you not only shows a lack of intelligence but shows a total lack of respect for your fellow citizens. You are in effect dissing everyone who can hear you. You really should be shut up…permanently.

    • Franklyn Molina

      The only one who needs to be shut up, is you, for being a whining and complaining jackass. If you don’t like how people are using their language, why don’t you move to Russia, or China, or North Korea. When they use bad language over there, you’re either sent to a prison camp, or killed on the spot for indecency. Stop encourating the [offensive word removed] of America you Communist piece of sh–!

      • Opal the Gem

        Your right to use foul language stops at my ears for i do not wish to hear you curse and talk like a two bit hooker.

      • Libertytrain

        Frank demonstrates an ill-educated; ill-mannered personality

    • JoMama

      Permanently?? For what??? Saying what’s on my mind & dropping a few f-bombs, c-bombs, s-bombs, a-bombs, t-bombs, a-bombs & p-bombs?? With all due respect, Mr. or Ms. Dens – this is a free country & I will drop those bombs where I see fit. Whenever I feel like it. Wherever I am. Whoever I’m with. I would say one of those bombs right now – but you would NEVER get the message because there is no foul language allowed here. But – you get my point, right??

      • Opal the Gem

        Yep, we get your point JoMama. That being you are an uneducated boob that cannot carry on a conversation without cursing. As I said above your right to use foul language stops at my ears for I have no wish to hear your uneducated drivel.

  • JoMama

    I live in Massachusetts & this is the first I’ve heard of this anti-swearing/cussing law being forced upon us. Thank goodness I’m no where near Middleborough. I like to drop a few f-bombs every now & again. I see nothing wrong with saying what’s on your mind – even if it includes a few f-bombs, c-bombs, s-bombs, a-bombs, t-bombs & p-bombs. I really love all those words & I do know better – I just will not conform – that’s all. Sorry.

  • Jurgy

    your definition of a curse word may not be my definition of a curse – to write such a law requires that each and every possible iteration of a curse word be explicitly defined, so there will be a list of all the nasty words one could imagine – problem is, it will be an ever amended law as new curse words come into vogue and today’s curse words become accepted as normal every day non-offensive language

    • Libertytrain

      As I mentioned as far as I go, I’m a potty mouth, but I believe I have enough dignity and self-control to contain my language in public. And at least to me, don’t know about Massachusetts, there’s only a half dozen or so words that I would not use at a public place or church. I believe that it’s respecting that others may not wish to hear those half dozen words – perhaps in a bar ok – just don’t want to hear it in a family restaurant with my grandkids or other folks kids. I see it a little like having manners.

  • Franklyn Molina

    Ok, I can understand about good manners and respecting other people, but this is going WAY too damn far. Especially since a small handful of those talking about the afformentioned seem to be nothing but either self important parents, or “thinking of the children.” This is for you idiots.

    You DON’T have the Right to be Offended in America

    STOP! You are about to read one of the most well thought out, intelligent things you have ever seen. Make sure you’re ready for it.

    This column starts out like a bad joke; It’s the product of a conversation between a former US Sailor (me), a certified Sociologist (a friend who observes and documents society and its’ history), and a Philosopher (another friend, smarter than all of us combined). The three of us recently debated and discussed whether or not people in America have the right to be offended.

    We’ve been talking a lot lately about rights and privileges. Most people are too stupid to know the difference, and if that’s you, than just stop reading now and go smoke a bowl. This article is for those of you who want to challenge your long held ignorant beliefs and learn something.

    Let’s first define what a right is. A right is something that, according to Webster’s dictionary, is due to a person by law. In America, that means that you are owed a public school education, the ability to pursue your dreams (with no guarantees of success), independence with no ties to another human being, the opportunity to speak your mind (with no guarantee of anyone listening), and a variety of other things including the ability to own a gun.

    Your rights in America end when you misuse them to the point of infringing upon someone else’s rights. In other words, once you commit a felony (thus infringing on someone’s right to pursue life, liberty and happiness by say, raping them) you forfeit your right to own a gun legally. You also forfeit your right to independence by serving jail time, etc.

    So, given that premise, do you have the right to be offended? Well, by the letter of the law I guess you could say the answer is yes. I mean, after all no one but you can control your emotions. Technically, you have the right to feel however and whatever you want. However, you don’t always have the right to act upon your feelings. For example, if a grown man feel attraction to a 7-year-old girl, there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Technically, he has that right. If he acts upon that right though, he will be infringing upon her rights and that’s not ok.

    So, do you have the right to be offended? Based on the Bill of rights and the Constitution of America, no you don’t. For a variety of reasons.

    No where in our history has the protection from offensive behavior, writings or material been guaranteed to you. However, our laws and history very clearly guarantee other people the right to say, scribe and do offensive things (we call it the first amendment).

    When someone reacts to something they find offensive, that person is not, in fact, exercising their first amendment rights, they are in truth trying to suppress the other person’s right to free speech.

    If a Christian stands on the corner preaching the word of Jesus and an offended Atheist walks by and calls the man a liar, it is only the Christian who is within his actual rights. The Atheist is hiding behind the first amendment to somehow proclaim that he has the right to react to his childish feelings of being offended. The fact of the matter is, the only right he has is the one to ignore the Christian and go along his way. It’s the right to freedom, liberty and personal choice.

    The first amendment does not guarantee anyone the right to be heard. You can say whatever you want, but no one has to listen. If I walk through the mall and am handed an offensive PETA pamphlet, I have the free will choice to simply throw it away…ignore it. However, if I choose to become offended by the pamphlet, I have just validated PETA’s freedom of speech by allowing them to be heard. I have made the CHOICE to listen; therefore I do not have the right to be offended.

    Speaking your mind in America is a right. The opportunity to be offended by what is said is a privilege, one that is not granted to people in North Korea, Iran and dozens of other places in the World. If we allow citizens of America to mis-use their privilege to be offended in ways that stop others from speaking, we will add another block of destruction into our decaying social scrap heap.

    Liberalism truly is indeed, a mental disorder.

    • Libertytrain

      I’m apparently one of the idiots you refer to, and I’m not offended, and I do not agree with your total interpretations either. Civility is dead — Manners are no longer accepted behavior – human kindness is out the door; history and respect are no longer taught in schools, kids can curse at their parents, teachers, adults, you can tell me where to go and how to do it in the foulest language you can come up with. The U.S., has changed and it’s not for the better. Now why not tell your grandma to ef off since that’s your right according to you.. ‘ You ain’t got no class……’ And I choose not to find any usefulness in your comments.

      • Chris Coolidge

        You can’t legislate good manners. People have the right to be idiots. Good points were made above about the unenforcability of a law against bad words. George Carlin got in enough trouble for us with his Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television. When will we learn?

      • Libertytrain

        Lest I’ve confused anyone, I don’t see a reason for the government to arrest people for swearing, cursing etc in public. I don’t see the government belonging there. My issue is with those that think that somehow it is their governmental right/their Constitutional right to swear and curse in public etc. With that I take issue and disagree. Common sense should not be that difficult to understand – when it matters and when it doesn’t.

      • Libertytrain

        Re: George Carlin And actually, I was there in Milwaukee at Summerfest 1972 – the early years — and had no problem laughing hysterically with and at George Carlin – it was an adult venue, late in the eve. Parent’s should have kept their kids at home if any were there and frankly, I remember the evening very well, who wouldn’t? I don’t recall any kids that night.

  • cawmun cents

    _______ those _______ing ______holes.Who the ______do they think they are?
    They can______my______,and______my______.
    I’m sick and______ing tired of these________’s _______!
    ______ing ________.Cant they just ______ing _______ off,and keep their ________ing noses out of other people’s ________ing businesss?
    I could _______ing go on all day about these_______ing losers,but my ________ed up
    ________head boss will get_______ing_______ed off at me.
    -_ _.

    • amaninusa

      I’m going to have to give you two tickets

      • cawmun cents

        Can I get food stamps instead?-CC.

  • amaninusa

    oh no , your an occupier on top a filthy mouth, do kiss your mom with that mouth and do you ask your father for money?

    • cawmun cents

      An occupier?
      I dont know where you get your information,but you might want to check your sources.
      You see I have continuously and consistently called them a parade of fools.
      But let’s just say for a moment that what you say is true.
      That would mean that I like you am paid for by Soros funds,correct?
      That would mean that the words that you imagined that I wrote….in the blanks provided…..
      were words that you thought were filthy in your own mind,correct?
      But the truth is,you imaginged those words,I left them blank.There were no filthy words in my post,you used your mind to think of what they might be.
      So where does that leave you?
      Am I the source of the filthy words that you imagined,or is it that you cant bear to think of yourself as having those words in you?
      You decide.
      But let me tell you that no filthyness is implied unless you take it personally,and attach meaning to what has none.
      But then again,folks who will constantly talk of their rights,when they see others rights as suspect,are the ones who usually lobby to take those rights away in the face of their moral; superiority.
      “They can close my ears and blind my eyes,”I posted with blanks in there to make someone think there is bad words.Looks like somebody took the bait?

      • amaninusa

        i stand corrected

  • Mary Ann Ludwig

    I don’t believe that there is anything in the free speech protection that refers to “unless someone is offended”. You can say whatever you want. We have a right to be offended, but not a right to shut you up through idiotic laws. By your speech are you known. How you use language reveals much about you. Using profanity may be offensive and demonstrate your lack of vocabulary and coarsness, but it is your right to do so.


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