No Profanity Ordinance? Bullshit.

Today I read a news story in The State and WIS that said the Columbia Police Department is going to be enforcing a “no profanity” law within the city limits.

The police spokeswoman said: “If they want to curse, do it in their own home. Why do you have to do it in park where they are other children, other people who will. This, it’s just quite frankly, pretty rude.”

Rudeness is not illegal and no one has the right not to be offended. Furthermore, there is no clear definition of what is considered profane. There is no list of forbidden words, phrases, or subjects available to anyone that I am aware of. Or is it like pornography, we are just supposed to know it when we see it? How can they justify this, or is it just an effort to put up signs to stop people complaining at meetings?

Furthermore, based on the ordinance that they are citing, I simply do not think that someone dropping an F-bomb qualifies as Disorderly Conduct as it is defined in ordinance 14-91, the ordinance listed on the sign.

It shall be unlawful for any person within the city limits to engage in the following conduct, knowing or having reasonable grounds to know that it will tend to promote or provoke a fight, assault or brawl.

Am I to believe that simply cursing within earshot of someone is attempting to provoke a fight? Is that something any reasonable person thinks? The ordinance is clearly NOT about profanity — the term “profanity” does not appear at all — putting that on a sign is an absurd stretch.

A law banning profanity would be unconstitutional, but the law they cite doesn’t even do that! They’ve just made it up!