Things could be a lot worse.
Even as your Select Board was tonight conducting its regular postmortem of our recent and relatively drama-free Town Meeting, Middleborough, near Boston, took bolder action. As USA Today reports:
At a town meeting, 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. . . . .WTF?! Screw that bullshit.
The ordinance gives police discretion over whether to ticket someone if they believe the cursing ban has been violated.
Middleborough, a town of about 20,000 residents perhaps best known for its rich cranberry bogs, has had a bylaw against public profanity since 1968. But because that bylaw essentially makes cursing a crime, it has rarely if ever been enforced, officials said, because it simply would not merit the time and expense to pursue a case through the courts.
The ordinance would decriminalize public profanity, allowing police to write tickets as they would for a traffic violation. It would also decriminalize certain types of disorderly conduct, public drinking and marijuana use, and dumping snow on a roadway.
The ACLU, predictably, came down hard on the town.
At least this sort of nonsense would never pass in Amherst. See? It could always be worse.