What are the first words or phrases that come to your mind when you think of Wal-Mart? Perhaps “unbeatable prices” is your initial thought. Or, maybe “convenience” is your word of choice. After all, where else can you buy a rifle, a Garth Brooks CD, a head of lettuce and socks at 2:00am? Still others may answer with an image of the sophisticated and refined customers that frequent the megastore. If you fall into this last category, then your perception of Wal-Mart is about to be shattered. Last week, a female shopper was ticketed for using foul language loudly and repeatedly while inside the LaMarque, Texas location of Sam Walton’s little dream.
Kathryn Fridge was overheard using the “f-word” while perusing the aisles of Wal-Mart the night before Tropical Storm Eduardo. Little did this young mother know that LaMarque’s assistant fire marshal, Alfred Decker, was within earshot and he did not appreciate her foul mouth one bit. Decker approached the wanna-be sailor and said, “Ma'am, please refrain from using that language. You're not allowed to cuss in public like that.” This request was only met by Fridge with more emphatic expletives.
Mr. Decker determined that a ticket for disorderly conduct was needed. And, when Fridge refused to calm down after the altercation was moved to the parking lot, Decker found it necessary to cuff her. Were Decker’s actions excessive and an infringement on free speech? Or, do we rightfully rely on our members of law enforcement to maintain a certain level of politeness and civility in public places? According to
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