We’re talking about assault, really – assault with a tasteless weapon.
When someone uses obscenities and profanities, it can feel like punches to the gut. I nearly always flinch when I hear God’s name taken in vain.
Yes, people may say just about whatever they like, but the rest of us should have a right not to hear curse words flying behind us in line at the movies, being spit into cellphones at restaurants or ricocheting across crowded sidewalks.
It’s a right that Middleborough, Mass., residents recently recognized, voting to make those who unleash unwanted curse words on the ears of others face consequences. Police officers now can fine the foul-mouthed $20 for each instance of public profanity.
Critics, of course, have raised First Amendment issues, but the new ordinance actually decriminalizes public profanity, allowing police officers to write tickets as they would for traffic violations so that cursing cases don’t clog up the courts.
Bow chicka wow wow
Oh, the fun we could have thinking about all of the other assaults on our senses and sensibilities that deserve to be slapped with citations.
Officer, ticket these, please:
But, dear officer, how about a fine and jail time for the parents who recently decided that it would be a fine idea to take four children under the age of 3 to a 9 p.m. movie outside the N.C. Museum of Art?
Not to an outdoor showing of “Finding Nemo” or “Madagascar,” mind you, at which you would deserve the fine if you hadn’t expected to encounter chattering children among the blankets and lawn chairs. We’re talking about a curse word-dotted PG-13 movie about, wait for it, baseball statistics.
Little girls exclaiming repeatedly about airplanes in the sky at night when everyone else around them is trying to catch tricky adult dialogue about On Base Percentages and Wins Above Replacement? A crying infant fighting sleep while a parent pats him on the rear for 20 minutes instead of walking away with him?
Actually, officer, we wouldn’t need you at all if we were only better at policing ourselves.