I have friends who live in Middleboro. It's a cute town, typical small town New England, though it does have typical problems -- managing growth, kids with not much to do, paying for school and municipal budgets, etc. etc.
One of the problems it doesn't have, any more than anywhere else at least, is profanity.
But now that is a problem. The town voted overwhelmingly Monday night to impose a $20 fine for public swearing.
Now, I am a person who's been known to curse from time to time. I'm OK with the occasional f-bomb. I always have to remind myself when I'm around young kids that I can't say certain things. But I do also have my limits. There are certain words and phrases that offend me.
Still, there are better ways to handle profanity. These things tend to work best when they police themselves. How do we define "public?" Do the police carry decibel meters with them? If I throw an f-bomb to a friend and someone's eavesdropping on me, are they going to drop a dime on the cops? And shouldn't Middleboro police be focusing more on drunk drivers? Violence? Theft?
It's still a cute town. But today I say the townsfolk have implemented bad public policy. Fuck you, Middleboro.