Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Laugher of the Week: Texas Freedom? This is the State that wants to secede because of TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT?
by Jonathan Turley
Texas authorities continue their criminal crackdown on potty mouths. The latest criminal is Joseph Loflin, 48, who was charged with using the word “shit” in front of a 13-year-old girl in Texas City, Texas. Loflin used the word to describe cat droppings left in his garden.
A former police officer, Loflin confronted his neighbors about their cats going on his lawn and used the descriptive term in front of his daughter.
He was upset because his dogs are attracted to the droppings and then lick him and carry them into the house. When he threatened to call the animal welfare people, they threatened to call the speech police for his use of profanity.
Debbie Rainey explained “He kept repeating the word in front of my child” and objected to his use of the word in front of his teenager.
He is the third person charged under the law, which comes with a $170 fine. He has demanded a jury trial.
These laws are highly questionable from a constitutional standpoint on grounds ranging from free speech to vagueness. The right to swear at police was upheld recently in South Dakota.. Conversely, swearing in court remains a grounds for discipline.
It is unclear why the Rainey’s did not ask their teenager to step away from the conversations. There is no question that Loflin was being rude and boorish. But, the use of criminal law to police speech is not how to instill good manners or force people to say “Holy Cat Feces.”