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Cursing Teen Ignites Freedom of Speech Debate

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posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:17 PM
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Colin Andersen, 19, is in trouble for swearing under his breath in the presence of a Police Officer. Anderson was hanging out with some buddies in a parking when one of them got ticketed for skateboarding and was told by police to leave... Anderson, upset about the situation said "This is F--- Bulls---" and was promptly awarded a ticket for disorderly conduct. He challenged the ticket in court and lost; he's being fined $200.



"Courts across the country have consistently ruled that cursing is speech protected by the First Amendment, regardless if people are within earshot," said Rana Elmir, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Elmir said cursing is protected even when it occurs in front of women and children. Sour ce


Elmir goes on to cite the Cussing Canoeist A decision that "the government cannot act as speech police and prosecute a citizen just because someone is offended"



Boomer was convicted in August, 1998 for yelling a stream of profanities in earshot of a woman and her two children after he fell out of his canoe on the Rifle River. The 1897 law that he allegedly violated prohibited using indecent, immoral, vulgar or insulting language in the presence or hearing of women or children.

In today's ruling, Justice William B. Murphy, writing for the Court said, ""Allowing a prosecution where one utters 'insulting' language could possibly subject a vast percentage of the populace to a misdemeanor conviction."" He further added, ""?we find it unquestionable that [the law], as drafted, reaches constitutionally protected speech, and it operates to inhibit the exercise of First Amendment rights.""


There's also Cohen V. California


The Court overturned a man's conviction for the crime of disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket in the public corridors of a courthouse that displayed the phrase, "F--- the Draft".


Strangely though, places like Virginia Beach has a No Cursing Law



Virginia Beach's No Cursing Law signs are all over the VA Beach boardwalk. In the past year, 25 people have been giving citations for letting their curse words fly forth from their mouths. That's $6,250 collected in cursing fines last year.


Was Anderson being a little "Sh#t"? Maybe... In my personal experience, skateboarders, rollerbladers or BMXer's can get a little lippy with the police or security guards. However, most of the time we just left when the police or security unit arrived. This case, in my opinion, sets an interesting precedent in the age were people are so easily offended. I wonder if we'll see more cases like these in 2015?




posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:31 PM
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Once i got i ticket for that years ago before i knew the laws. Police came to my house knocked on the door woke me up. Neighbor called about something that happened there i guess. I don't remember. But it had to be my roommate or some one else. No one but me was there. They kept harnessing me about what happened. I said i have no knowledge. I was sleeping. Neighbor said you are always sleeping. I said always working and over time at that. Plus upgrading the house i really don't get much time to sleep. He said well your brain is always sleeping. I said F U, cop said that is a ticket. I said wow, you mean to tell me he insults me and i say F U and i get a ticket? He said that's another one. I said just give me e my F en tickets and get the F out of my F en driveway. I don't recall what happened in court as i usually win. But i was young then and did not know the law so i probably lost.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:31 PM
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a reply to: theNLBS

HaHa I can see why this would be an important issue for you.



Seriously free speech is an important issue and I am in dismay that the court upheld the ticket I think if that was me I may have gotten several other tickets from even trying to discuss it. I used to cuss so much it would make a sailor blush it was something I didn't even realize I was doing most of the time. Instead of going Umm between sentences that was filled with an assortment of Fs Ds and other colorful words.

I take offense at others taking offense of what they may find offensive enough to write an offensive fine for. That was a mouth full.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:44 PM
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# the law! The United States is my free speech zone.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:44 PM
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a reply to: theNLBS

When our kids mutter under their breath, we give em a stare. Or we tell em to knock it off or there'll be a consequence. The cop shpuld do the same thing and be the bigger man. But no. He'd sooner go for the WIN and created a group of kids who have less repsect.

Letting the kid go had more chance of increasing respect than getting a fine and proving it was f###ing bullsh#t.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 12:46 PM
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You will see more cases like this in 2015 if places like Brighton have laws against profanity in public. Personally I think laws like this are BS mainly because as the saying goes I cuss like sailor. Some people are like Ricky from the trailer parks boys profanity is in the normal speech pattern.

So is it right for a city to pass a law saying you can't use this kind of language? NO it's not because profanity is everywhere nowadays.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: theNLBS

Great story to talk about.

In England, among other places, offensive speech can get you in jail. So it isn't completely unprecedented, and in a nation that has called its government out for looking to Europe as an example, not being unprecedented isn't a good thing.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 01:48 PM
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This website is supposed to be about open honest discussion, yet you can't even type in what the kid said in a parking lot. Kind of ironic dont you think?



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 01:56 PM
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This is bull$h!t.

Our rights are being chipped away, I think that is obvious.

The 1st Amendment has been censored, it seems like all of our Bill of Rights now come with clauses and disclaimers. I am guessing this was civil citation(like a speeding ticket) and this teen only saw a judge and no jury. That said I do not know who VA Beach's profanity ordinance has not been challenged yet.

This is one way to collect fines and get around the expensive and fickle trial by jury process that is supposed to be guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.
edit on 30-12-2014 by jrod because: a



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 02:40 PM
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I guess we can thank "Freedom of Speech" for the ability to call a a 19 year old a teen to get clicks when we legally consider an 18 year old an adult...gotta love it.

On topic, no one should be able to tell anyone else what they can and can't say. There should especially be no fine attached to saying certain words unless they are threats or similar, and I hope anyone who is fined for cursing fights it.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 03:52 PM
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I could maybe understand it more if someone other than the police officer filed a complaint but even then it should be protected speech. How many videos have we seen of police officers with dirty mouths cursing at a speeding motorist or someone filming them ? Why not give them a ticket ? rather silly for the whole episode.



posted on Dec, 30 2014 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: theNLBS

I love a good swear.

The other day, I made a mess of something very simple, and admonished myself by immediately delivering forth a sentence consisting of five words, none of which can be repeated here, or in front of ladies or small children. When I say that the words must not be repeated in front of ladies or children, I do not mean that as a matter of law, they must not be. I place little value on many of the laws which govern the land in which I live.

However, they must not be repeated in front of ladies and children, because it is bloody bad form to do so, and for no other reason. That is a choice I make about my own comportment, not a rule I blindly follow because it is written in statute. However, I find it somewhat outrageous, that in the USA there is a law which prevents freedom of expression by way of the curse word, given the constitutional protections offered to free speech. That said, I probably should not be so surprised to hear of this ticket being upheld, when even university campuses have specific zones in which one must be, in order to access the full breadth of that freedom.

I personally believe that swearing and cursing, although unpalatable to some, are often used as punctuation, and the tools of emphasis for certain people, myself sometimes included (although I like to deliver my verbal vitriol with Shakespearian gusto, from the very bottom of my diaphragm!), and that they are not always meat to be offensive. I believe intent should always be crucial in determining whether someone is merely exclaiming in the manner to which they have become accustomed, or actually seeking to provoke a negative response,which would indicate a combative attitude and perhaps an intent to allow any confrontation arising from that response to escalate for the sheer hell of it.

In any case, I think that the lad who got this ticket was right not to sugar coat what was said to the officer. It certainly was absolute male bovine faecal matter, and no amount of air freshener will be hiding the smell of this particular cow pat.



posted on Dec, 31 2014 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: theNLBS

Free speech was intended to be universal; regardless of age, race, gender, or the medium used to express it.

All censorship is unconstitutional.

I like the curse jar idea though, it turns profanity into charity. Who could be against that? You get your freedom of speech, some people get help that they need and the prudes aren't sure whether to protest or applaud.

Everybody (either) wins (or gets confused)!



posted on Dec, 31 2014 @ 10:12 AM
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Yes, when we allow those who take offense to dictate the actions of others, freedom is no longer possible.



posted on Dec, 31 2014 @ 12:18 PM
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After carefully looking at this article, the following can be stated:

The facts are that on the day mentioned, 2 youths were out. One of them violated some law which resulted in an officer writing a ticket, and the other made a statement. The one making the statement, was ticked and lost in court. Now we come to the crux of the matter and how it all applies to this case:

The first is location. Is this run by the town or a private business. That is the most important issue here of all is location. If it is run by the town, the officer is in the wrong, as then it is violating the freedom of speech by the person. If it is on a private venue, then the person is in the wrong. The problem is that the location is the key aspect in this case. Part of the area is city property, that is that the city runs it, sets up the area, keeps it clean and ultimately is in charge of it, and the other part is that it is privately owned, like the Imagination Station. If the person was on the part run by a private company, then he can be charged with such and lose in court, the first amendment not withstanding. It is tantamount to a person standing one foot on church grounds and cussing. It is in bad form, and can be ticketed for causing a disturbance.

Ultimately I think that the cop went too far, and should have just issued him a warning and asked him to leave and not return, that would have been a better solution.



posted on Dec, 31 2014 @ 12:18 PM
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a reply to: Jamie1

Great line for my coffee cup. What exactly is it meant to say?

Isn't much of the legal system borne of people taking offense? I'm trying to understand the one-liner here and puzzled. It sounds so important an all. Noise abatement legislation? Public littering? Entering someone's property without invitation and without causing harm etc & etc.

These things offend some people.



posted on Dec, 31 2014 @ 01:16 PM
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a reply to: theNLBS

My husband and I both have the bad habit of punctuating our rants with expletives. I do my best not to swear around mixed company - especially not in front of the youth or elders, and definitely not in the presence of law enforcement or more gentile and polite persons. Sometimes the colorful language slips through, and I immediately catch myself and apologize.

My husband, however, doesn't give two flips who hears him when he's on a tirade, so I confess there is a lot of blushing and embarrassed apologies on his behalf - but better letting him vent verbally than the alternative of pressure cooking in a bad situation. Most folks locally understand, although there are those who - for whatever grace they have - never let loose the dreaded swear bombs.

Some people swear for no reason other than familiarity with the lingo....and it ceases to lose it's impact when done too frequently or casually. I know hearing small children wielding such language at their parents (teens are the worse at this) always sets me on edge - even though I am all too familiar with the terminologies.

It's a time and place thing, and seeing as how the younger generations usually have no concept of anything outside of themselves, I don't think vulgar speech should be "constitutionally protected". It just sets a bad precedence for the Youth.

I don't agree with the excessive fines levied upon those who curse. That just seems like nitpicking pockets for extra funds. But then again, I don't walk in that work so I don't really know where those funds are going after the fact. Slapping a hundred dollar or more fine seems excessively Draconian for such a slight offense.




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