The community of Brighton, MI has passed a law banning people from being annoying in public. The ordinance says it can ticket and fine anyone who is annoying in public "by word of mouth, signs or motions."
While at first glance, this seems like a good idea. I find myself annoyed a lot in public -- bratty kids, bad drivers, pushy people thinking their time is more important than mine during the holidays, people who leave their shopping carts right in the middle of the isle so it's impossible to pass -- you get the idea.
But wow -- who gets to decide what constitutes annoying? If I belch in public, is that "annoying?" Are crying infants worthy of a ticket? How about the guy holding up the sign protesting the fur coat store? He's annoying -- but his right is protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. What is annoying to me, may certainly not be annoying to someone else. Who decides?
I'd also like to note that Brighton is a upper class, very white (96% white), distant suburb of Detroit. Would this law be easy to target people based on class and race?
Sometimes we need to be careful what we are out there willing to restrict. While this seems like a good idea, the type of arbitrary enforement -- -and the vague nature of a law like this -- certainly don't seem to be the way to go.