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Mass. Town Could Start Issuing Tickets for Cursing

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.

According to WBZ-TV, Middleboro police chief Bruce Gates is proposing a system that would have officers issue $20 tickets to profanity-laced perpetrators.

“We have a lot more important things to do,” Gates told the station, adding that “…these are things that are quality of life issues, community policing issues that a lot of people don’t want to see downtown.”

The Brockton Enterprise reports that the bylaw, which dates back 1968, currently makes the offense a criminal matter and consumes “hours of officers’ time.” Now, Gates wants to make it a non-criminal offense and simply issue the ticket.

One former selectwoman says that the move is a step in the right direction. “I don’t think it will solve the problem but it will make them understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not,” Mimi Duphily told WBZ-TV.

Residents will vote on the proposal at Town Meeting in June.

So what do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea? Do you think it’s a waste of time and effort? Sound off on our Facebook page and your comment may appear on ABC40 News.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • bob

    We have this document in the US called the constitution, Someone should inform these hicks about it.

  • Susanne

    Ummm yeah, What happened to that thing called FREE SPEECH!!!! I can see this getting challenged in court. I do realize Mass is the biggest NANNY state, but this is too much.

  • matt dillon

    This is completely unconstitutional. It is a complete violation of free speech and wholely unecessary. If they actually start enforcing this and anyone fights it, it will immediately be changed. these people are insane to think otherwise.

  • Ktb

    What fuck is this bull shit!!!

    • Swearwods


  • That Pesky Constitution

    Clearly Middleboro and their cops didn’t get the memo that there’s this thing called the Constitution that protects your right to swear in this town

    • Steve C

      People! You have the Constitutional argument wrong! Read the dadgum thing hahahha it says what? Congress shall not…. Translation? “Congress” aka Your Federal gov’t!!! Not your state or city or whatever. THis is well in the power of the state or a city to do! The US Federal Constitution has NO, ZERO, NADA, power for a city hahaha. Come on people learn the dadgum thing & think instead of using incorporation doctrine (dumb) for blanket rulings. Notice every state HAS a state constitution. The Bill of Rights are things the FEDERAL gov’t cannot do to a state.

      • Cas

        While you are right that the Constitution is Federal, you are incorrect that the State can supercede the rights given to all in the US. They are basic human rights. The individual state can chose to give it’s people more rights but they cannot, in fact, take any rights given by the federal government, away.

      • Mick

        Wrong you are, or the Feds wouldn’t be able to go bust up dispensaries in cities and provinces where it has been voted to legalize. Better get a little more educated, or you’ll keep getting inter-owned.

      • http://www.calladus.com Calladus

        Well congratulations on reading the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. Now read the 14th Amendment, which applies the Bill of Rights to all of the States.

  • http://cocktailputsch.blogspot.com/ Walt G

    Fuck that shit.

  • Bruce H

    Quite aside from the constitutional issue, which is valid, the proposed ordinance wouldn’t actually do anything remedy the situation. If the city really wants to moderate what they feel is a problem with obscenities, then they should undertake a promotion campaign. PSAs on TV and Radio, billboards, and the like.

    That would be much more effective at combating the problem than levying fines for “violations”.

  • Loretta

    If they weren’t such douche nozzles in the first place maybe their “subjects” wouldn’t curse so much.

  • Swearwords

    This wrong not only via the Constitution, but on many levels. It on face value is a good idea though. How many of us have been out with the family and kids, and are forced to listen to some crotch-grabbing, monkee, wannbe, jerk, going off about his momma, or your momma, always one or the other.

  • John Marshall

    I think this law is a great idea. It will teach people proper manners and respect. After this I suggest a few other laws to improve the quality of life in Middleboro:

    1) Make gay marriage illegal again
    2) Bring prayer back to the schools
    3) Require a 2-week waiting period and a $500 tax for abortions
    4) Arrest any negro who dates a white woman
    5) Put all the Muslims in internment camps

  • Bergman

    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that giving cops the finger is protected speech. I find it unlikely that actual speech is entitled to less protection than something merely considered to be speech.

  • CyniCAl

    Has the police department in Middleborough starting receiving prank calls yet? They should probably disconnect their phones.

  • jack

    The constitution limits the federal government, because it is assumed that all people have natural rights that cannot be taken away. The constitution limits the government, not the people.

  • Al

    Obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.

    • Rob S

      Your comment is obscene – to me. Therefore it oughta be illegal?

  • Rob S

    “I don’t think it will solve the problem but it will make them understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not,” Mimi Duphily told WBZ-TV.

    Yeah, because legislating ‘acceptable behavior’ (whatever that means) is a legitimate function of a government of ‘free people’. /scorn

  • doublehearted

    are these people serious!? .. We are NOT robots, and I’ll be damned if someone tries to ticket me for stubbing my toe and letting out a F@!K. I think the police should be concentrating on actual crimes. Everywhere we turn the damn government is taking our money, and this would just add to that list.

    “I don’t think it will solve the problem but it will make them understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not,” Mimi Duphily told WBZ-TV <– and what the heck does that even mean!?!? I'd like clarification of what "acceptable behavior" is in miss Mimi's view. This is what's wrong with the world.. too many people trying to fix problems that don't exsist and not enough doing what they're actually supposed to.

  • T.T

    I think this,is insane yet not a bad idea given the fact some parents who teach they’re kids not to curse go out and you have people cursing,next thing you know your kid curses. I must agree cops should be focusing on more serous crimes, its a waste of they’re time. Im sure the cops are not gonna go out of they’re way when they get a phone call that someone is cursing while someone else is probably getting stabbed, or someone robbed a bank

  • fthepolice

    so let me get this straight, cops waste less time writing out a ticket then they would by just ignoring the swear? that makes sense…

  • Paul

    The First Amendment exists, not to protect popular or polite speech, but rather, that which is unpopular. Maybe it pisses you off. But this is a Republic, not a democracy, which Jefferson spoke of: “a democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner. A Republic is a well armed lamb contesting that vote” in other words, just because you may not like something, the will of 99% of the people in America cannot truly take away one single person’s rights. That’s why they are called natural, or God given, rights. People don’t give them to you, not even thru government. But they often want to seize them away.