June 12th, 2012
10:58 AM ET

Massachusetts town puts $20 fine on profanity

The residents of Middleborough, Massachusetts, have had enough of this *#%@&!

And on Monday night they voted to make those who curse put their money where their potty mouths are - to the sum of $20, that is.

Police in the town of 22,000 will be writing tickets bearing fines in that amount to those who foul its public places with profanity after residents voted 183-50 Monday night that they were mad as *#%@& and weren't going to take it anymore.

Overheard on CNN.com: What the $%#;!? Choice words for town's profanity fine

"If I didn't hear 10 kids drop the F-bombs between my store and a block and half I would be shocked," local business owner Mimi Duphily told CNN affiliate WHDH. She was one of those who pushed for cops to clean up the *#%@&.

Not everyone was pleased with the plan.

“This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,” resident Adam Bond told those gathered at the annual town meeting Monday night, in the town that calls itself the "cranberry capital of the world."

So what words are over the line in Middlleborough?

That will be at the discretion of police, but they'll be directing their enforcement efforts at those using profanity to accost others, Officer Steven Nelson said Tuesday.

“It's not going to be just someone walking down the street dropping the F-bomb; it's going to be when you're actually making it uncomfortable for everyone else,” Duphily told WHDH.

Note that Middleborough is only 38 miles from Boston and Fenway Park, where Red Sox fans bestowed a profane nickname on New York Yankee Bucky Dent after the light-hitting shortstop homered in the seventh inning of a tiebreaker game in 1978.

Call him Bucky "Bleeping" Dent in Middleborough and it'll cost you $20.

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Filed under: Crime • Massachusetts
soundoff (500 Responses)
  1. Sambvka

    Just another right taken away in this country . I swear, people in the States are nothing more than a bunch of PRUDES!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ronald Chin nSee

    President assad and his REGIME when caught should be tried by the SYRIAN people for ATROCITIES committed . Not the World Court. Assad and his COMMANDERS9REGIME) should remember the the FATE of DICTORS and RULERS with IRON FIST. Eventually they will be caught or Commit SUICIDE. No MERCY should be shown to them.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Night Witch

    This is censorship. We have a right to "FREE SPEECH" meaning we can say whatever we want without punishment. Granted you should know when to use it properly but still the 1st Amendment gives us Free Speech and this little town is breaking that law.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    Profanity is now an accepted part of our culture. Movies, television, stage, stand up comedy, in public. More vulgar the language more larger the audience.
    Passing laws like this would just ridicule the effort itself.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam Houston

      An "accepted" part of who's culture? Not mine! This problem is only a symptom of society's sad condition.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ron Long

    I wish we lived in a world where it didn't make a difference, but we don't. Even, getting a job requires good communication skills, dialect, accent, and grammar: "I ain't 'a' going.", (I am going), "Where you at?", (Where are you?)
    It shouldn't matter, but it does. So, I'm all for it! The "F" word seems to be a trend, now, among the younger generation. Get rid of it.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      What's next fines for frowning in public because you're bumming other people out?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. No Relation to McD's

    Hopefully, the ACLU will take this matter to Court. This is purely a first-amendment rights issue, regardless of the vulgarity.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rickp530

    Another case of freedom of speech going out the door. I don't like to hear people swear in public, but our first admendment gives citizens this right. There is already a law in place in most cities as to where execissive swearing could be considered disturbing the peace. So if I'm in this town and hurt myself accidently and let out 1 slang word, I'm going to get a $20. ticket. Very Unfair!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LDPOPNION

    "“This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,” resident Adam Bond told those gathered at the annual town meeting Monday "

    Well, maybe if people started PARENTING, they wouldn't have to try to legislate it!
    Can't have it both ways.... if you are leaving the "parenting" to someone else because you can't be bothered or you want to be their best buddy.... someone else is going to step in and take over.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. veritas

    LOL. I completely agree!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. T. T.

    I don't agree at all with what this law is set out to do, but I can imagine what the intent is. Yes, they want to make the town a safe and secure place by punishing people that make their free speech uncomfortable for the people around them, but they're attacking the wrong problem. My belief is that this is in line with all that anti-bullying bs that schools are enforcing. You can't prevent verbal obscenity just like you can't prevent bullying. We're coddling the general public instead of educating them on how to deal with the problems themselves. People should have the confidence to deal with issues on their own (like just ignore it or maybe even help out another human being) and not run off to a police officer every time two people swear at each other.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tragic

    It will be interesting to see how the 99% of the towns population that didn't vote on this will react, since they probably didn't even know this was up for a vote. Also, the fact that this even exists, and that people in the comments here openly support it is so depressing. Part of this country apparently yearns for a fascist police state, and will welcome it with open arms.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wave

      Fascism has it's upsides.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rick

    I wonder if they've ever heard of the First Amendment.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nick

    Sweet, I'm gonna go to that town and raise some hell

    June 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. veritas

    This is a clear violation of the First Amendment. If you don't like my language, then don't listen. Besides, the concept of profanity is dumb. Certain combinations of vowels and consonants are deemed to be "bad" or "dirty" or "offensive" or whatever. Get over yourselves and quit living in the Dark Ages where certain words evolve evil spirits or make people think impure thoughts. What is the purpose of this law? Are your sensibilities so delicate that sounds offend? Well, guess what – you do NOT have the right to NOT be offended. I DO have the right to express myself.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lux et Veritas

      Just how would people stop listening to your foul language?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    Absolutely perfect. This is insane. They're words, the intention behind them is far more important than the words themselves. Isn't this contrary to the first amendment?

    June 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
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