The Language Police

Some folks swear by their home appliances. Some folks swear at them, particularly when they are malfunctioning. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, the use of such offensive language—even in the relative comfort of one’s own home—is apparently a criminal offense, as the following news story from the Associated Press (via the First Amendment Center) details:

Pa. woman in hot water for profanity-laced tirade at toilet

SCRANTON, Pa. — Talk about a potty mouth.

A Scranton woman who shouted profanities at her overflowing toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct.

Dawn Herb could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300.

“It doesn’t make any sense. I was in my house. It’s not like I was outside or drunk,” Herb told The Times-Tribune of Scranton. “The toilet was overflowing and leaking down into the kitchen and I was yelling (for my daughter) to get the mop.”

Herb doesn’t recall exactly what she said, but she admitted letting more than a few choice words fly near an open bathroom window on the night of Oct. 11.

Her next-door neighbor, a city police officer who was off-duty at the time, asked her to keep it down, police said. When she continued, the officer called police, who charged Herb with disorderly conduct.

Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in Philadelphia, took issue with the citation.

“You can’t prosecute somebody for swearing at a cop or a toilet,” she said. “We bring one of these cases a year and sue some police departments because they do not remember that they are not the language police.” [link]

2 thoughts on “The Language Police

  1. Freedom of speech has a significiant corollary, freedom of thought; one cannot survive long without the other. Unfortunately the freeest of nations, America, has been so compromised by sellers of political correctness, “right-think,” and say nothing that will matter to anyone, that the outspoken, brazen, even profane at times sprit of this country has been terribly compromised. The freedom to say the silly and the stupid and even moments of profanity, are part of the same story that gives us brilliance and is in the end the reservoir of our freedoms. One of course can now expect that hapless lady with the overflowing toilet to be required to attend sensitivity classes and forever change her bathroom habits. One wonders at the reaction of Mr. Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Payne and all those other framers of our freemdoms to the “toilet bowl incident.”

  2. Gee!! near my hometown. Bet she’s sorry she didn’t take the time to close the bathroom window, but the whole thing is ridiculous. Doesn’t say much for the neighbor. What has happened to “live and let live”? The whole world is going bananas.

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