BOSTON (CBS) – I had a great time Monday talking with the friendly people of Middleborough, a pretty town with a downtown commercial center not unlike yours, perhaps.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But it’s a town with a problem you may find familiar – the regular presence of young adults and teenagers who think it’s acceptable to engage in loud exchanges on the street in which, as one woman put it, “every third word is a swear.”

You see it everywhere now, at the mall, at the local coffee shop.

Crude, vulgar language that was once confined to locker rooms or places where people accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer, is now part of the atmosphere at all too many public places.

Women and children are around?

Zero deterrence to the mindless narcissists who were apparently raised to believe that it’s OK to scratch whatever itch you might have, wherever you might happen to be, with no regard for the impact on others.

But after months of suffering with verbal air pollution in their main shopping area, folks in Middleborough have had enough.

At their town meeting in June, they will vote on a proposal from the chief of police to change a local ordinance to allow the cops to give out $20 tickets, just like parking tickets, to people who can’t keep their vile language in check out in public.

They’re not going to assign cops to the vulgarity beat or issue a ton of tickets, says the chief.

But it will give them a way of assigning some consequences to a behavior that’s definitely having a negative impact on the town’s quality of life.

If they approve it, will it solve their problem?

Of course not.

Inappropriate public cursing will continue as long as the popular culture continues to promote and glamorize it, and parents don’t counter those lessons, early and consistently.

Maybe one way to approach it is to make it an issue of laziness.

There are so few things we really control in life – what comes out of our mouths in public is one of them.

So to the public cursers among us, a question: why not clean up your own act, before the cops have to step in and fine you for your garbage dumping?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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