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. Glenn

    There goes freedom of speech....takes one little seed to drop and entire nation.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hypatia

    Nice job defecating all over the lst amendment.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ART

    The town of Middleboro should be transported to Afganistan and have the taliban enforce this great new law

    June 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    Just another step toward Nazi America. Freedom of speech mean anything anymore?

    June 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      People throw the term 'nazi' around way to freely here. Try studying the Nazi movement. You'll find you're 100% wrong in using it so freely.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtalker

      Sadly Chris this isn't a violation of freedom of speech. The first amendment gaurantees that congress will make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Congress did not make this law. No council did. The people voted on this and wanted it.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtalker

      scott – The nazi movement started with minor oppresive policies. No one thought much of any one small oppresive policy. But one always led to another and then to bigger and bigger policies that became increasingly oppresive and the next thing you know 10,000,000 people are dead.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Clint

    Totally violates the first amendment. Profanity is protected. Harassment is not. you can't ticket someone for playing an album or for a ringtone. This is ridiculous.

    Grow up America. We're not going to PG-rate the world for you nancy-boys. And how about you grow some balls and tell those punks to shut up if you don't like what they're saying. Instead, you hide behind litigation and legislation like bottom-feeders instead of confronting the issue and correcting it. And people wonder what's wrong with our country.

    Moral majority violates the very first amendment in the bill of rights simply because they can't tell a group of punks to shut up. Shameful. That men and women have shed blood for those rights, and you can't even open your mouth for them.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kev O

      Well said.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      I think it's easier said then done. I would never approach anyone who swears like that. I bet a lot of them carry guns, and won't think twice to use them.

      June 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      I echo your words. Communism, anyone?

      June 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    I hope the 3 sea shells aren't next, I never did figure them out. Get a grip people.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kev O

    What a waste of time and money.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kyle

    "Grow up America. We're not going to PG-rate the world for you nancy-boys. And how about you grow some balls and tell those punks to shut up if you don't like what they're saying. Instead, you hide behind litigation and legislation like bottom-feeders instead of confronting the issue and correcting it. And people wonder what's wrong with our country."

    Wonderfully put.
    This is a DIRECT violation of the first amendment. and needs to be repealed IMMEDIATELY.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    No problem, Just remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Bring a lunch.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ebv2010

    I'd use the word bleep all day.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JoJo

    So you want to propose another illegal idea? How about just speaking up and asking the person swearing to knock it off? That too much for you?

    June 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • humanbean

      Or you could realize that they're just words and nobody really gets hurt when they're spoken. This is just plain stupid.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    or you could be the adult and explain to your kids that those words are not appropriate and politely ask the other guys to be more careful around kids.

    Your solution is no more mature then the people dropping F-bombs and makes you sound like an idiot.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. charles bowen

    Sounds a lot like Romneyism has hit the Masses in Massachussets ......Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    June 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. scott

    How about asking the people to watch their language? If they don't, how about talking to your kids and explaining why those people are in the wrong?

    June 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. erich2112x

    Next they'll set up a hotline where folks can turn in their neighbors or their own family members.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
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