The city of Middleboro, Massachusetts, has imposed a $20.00 fine on “cussing.”
From the Patriot Ledger,
MIDDLEBORO – Town meeting took longer to pass a $20 cussing fine Monday night than it did to pass a $72 million budget.
The budget passed without an argument, but the fines for cussing, smoking pot in public and shoveling snow in the street drew lengthy debate from the 297 residents who attended town meeting under the glare of a pack of television news cameras.
If this comes to my town, I’ll either have to ask Shirley for a cussing allowance to cover my fines or give up reading German, using books with endnotes, and trimming our bougainvillea.
Actually, I wonder if this ordinance is actually legal. I actually hope it isn’t. Not that I practically like “cussing” but that I hate restrictions on speech. I particularly dislike the idea that the decision as to what is cussing is at “the discretion of the police officer.” There is more than a little room for abuse.
Should Pomona adopt such an ordinance, I hope the officers who come after me have experience with German compounds, books with endnotes, and have recently trimmed their bougainvilleas.