Is yelling obscenities a right?

Recently there was an incident taking place in front of my house. I stepped outside to ask the people screaming obscenities to move along because children live nearby. They immediately directed the swearing at me. It was an odd moment. First, my reaction wasn’t to the swear words but to the fact that one person decided to call me old. Truly unnecessary, though my husband pointed out I was one step away from shaking my fist and telling these “kids” to get off my yard. Well played, old man.

I didn’t know what to do. The person shouted about rules and regulations involving rights, curfews, and a post-apocalyptic world. The people continued to stay just off our property, walking back and forth, yelling how they could do whatever they wanted. I quickly acknowledge that my Fight Club skills are more like Turn Away and Run Club. I slowly backed up and called the State Police.

One thing was sure. I don’t know the local laws. If half of what these people were saying was true, I should figure out the rules in my own and the surrounding communities.

The Trooper quickly took charge of the situation, asking the right questions. Was I in danger? No. Did I feel threatened? A bit. Did I want a trooper to come by and see if the disturbance had escalated elsewhere? No.

Don’t worry. My active imagination has me overanalyzing the situation. Should I have or shouldn’t I have called the police? Is there a wrong and right time to get involved? What if someone was injured because I didn’t request a patrol officer?

I learned a lot from this brief incident. It isn’t the most brilliant move to step into someone else’s argument. Screaming obscenities can be considered disturbing the peace. Sometimes talking with someone who knows the rules balances the situation. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes we need to take a peaceful stand, and other times we need to ask professionals. I don’t regret stepping out of my comfort zone. I want to know my neighbors will be there to help me, and I want my neighbors to know I will help them. Stay safe.


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