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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spitting It Out

          Starting today I'm going to start tossing it out and stirring it up.  Yes, Thursday postings will be intended to start controversy, stimulate debate,  and pose posers.  I want to make you think and get your opinions. I'll come up with an issue or something I just happen to be thinking of or even something one of you may suggest and I'll toss it out there so you can toss it around.  So I hope to get some interesting discourse underway.

         Now I won't get into anything overly heavy this time--no political issues or anything about religion, nothing about the supernatural or ufos.  I'm going to start with something that I find rather disgusting and it bothers me whenever I see someone do it.  It's the practice of spitting in public-- on the street, sidewalk, or anywhere that the rest of us might come in contact with.

          There are laws in many places in the United States banning spitting on streets and sidewalks though they are rarely if ever enforced. But in a sense it's another form of littering, perhaps with greater health issues involved.   In Singapore legal authorities take expelling any substance from one's mouth or nose onto public thoroughfares or public parks as a serious infraction and those charged may face steep fines, imprisonment, or caning.  I've heard that Singapore is very clean so their laws must be working. However in the U.S. any laws concerning public expectoration are largely ignored.

         Laws against spitting in public areas came into prominence in the late 1800's when tuberculosis was discovered to be spread by human secretions into the air.  The law was enacted for  health reasons.  However, the law was one that was difficult to enforce. Most people find spitting to be uncouth and not many find it pleasant to come into contact with another person's spit. Think of the old image of the spittoon in the western saloon--even these rustic cowboys wanted the spit, usually generated from chewing tobacco, to be confined to an enclosed area. Spit is unclean, full of bacteria, and downright unhealthy.

         Sure, sometimes a person might be sick or the mucous is flowing freely so that it must be eliminated at relatively short notice, but still one can usually find a discreet means of doing this. I've watched guys outdoors just blow their noses onto the ground.  Well for gosh sakes, that's what handkerchiefs and tissues are for, or a least find a trash can or something.  Let's face it -- this is gross, dirty, and rude.

          So here's my argument:  I think that public spitting and mucous expulsion should be illegal. If the laws regarding this haven't already been enacted in a community, they should now.  However, just enacting laws or having the laws on the books is not going to do a thing if they are not vigorously enforced.  Hand in hand with enforcement should come public education starting from kindergarten through high school.  Also, public service campaigns much like those against smoking and littering should be waged.  If people are made aware of the unsanitary nature of what they are doing and the offensiveness to others, I  believe the practice will diminish.  These tactics have worked well with smoking and littering.

            Some may complain that this is a petty complaint and something like this moves a society closer to being a police state.  Well maybe some harsh policing is necessary at times to make people aware that there are some things they do that are inconsiderate to others and display a lack of civic pride. A comparable example might be that of grafitti.  Statisics have shown that in communities that have taken proactive measures to deter and prevent grafitti there has been an increase in pride in the community and a reduction of  crime, which in turn attracts more business and helps increase property values.  And think about this--spitting upon somebody is considered as display of disdain so why should we not see the public spitter as having disdain upon public property.

          These laws would not only extend to everyone in public everyday, but also to athletes.  Somewhere along the line it seems that someone determined that spitting is "cool" and manly.  If I were an athlete I don't think that I would want to be falling into and rolling around in someone else's spit.  There is absolutely no good reason to just spit wherever you want when accomodations could be made otherwise.   Spitting is not cool and doesn't make you a man.  And women who spit-- well I don't even want to go there.

          Strict laws that are enforced and a strong campaign for education and public awareness are the measures that need to be in place.  Police state? No.  Education state? Yes.  But in order to educate, some discipline must be exerted.  I say put the laws in place or put more light on existing laws and gradually work up to a point of strict application within the span of a year or so.  There is nothing wrong with everybody else respecting me, you, each other, and the world we share.

           Trivial as it may seem to some, I'm tossing this out there as something that I seriously believe. How about you?  Toss out your opinion into the comments page.   And thanks.


  1. I so agree! It is disgusting to find spit on the ground, especially in front of my car door, making it hard to get into the car! My stepdad use to tell me that the reason the Navy puts buttons on their sleeves is so the sailors can't wipe their mouth and nose on them. I don't if he was joking or not, but it sounded right! I think it should be law, but with certain areas of the country very widespread, it would be very difficult to enforce the law, it would take many policemen to monitor all the area, which they have a hard enough time doing as it is. Interesting post!

  2. I agree with you 100%! It's gross and disgusting...and unhealthy!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today! You're doing great in NaNo--reaching your goals, too! Just think: in a few weeks, we'll have novel length manuscripts to show for this hard work.(:

  3. Just to play devil's advocate...Although spitting in public is gross, is it really the government's job to step in? As far as I know lot's of people do worse things in public (like not pick up after their pets) and there are not too many laws set up for that.

    My next argument would be that taking the time to enforce this law would be too difficult. I already get upset whenever people get tickets for (other) bad reasons. Shouldn't cops be catching the "bad guys" instead of giving silly parking tickets?

    All in all, I believe that people need to practice good social etiquette. Perhaps brochures on the flu and swine flu should include a "no spitting" caution to prevent the spread of viruses and illness, but a law would go too far in my book.

    I don't mean to disagree with people...I think it is gross myself, but there are just some of the ideas that came to mind when thinking about it all.

  4. r-LEE-b ~
    Funny thing is, just last week I mentioned to my Brother (with great disgust) how often baseball players spit. Watch a game sometime and you'll see almost continuous spitting from the top of the first inning to the bottom of the ninth inning.

    As I said to my brother: How can they spit so much? What are they spitting? (Sorry, it's rarely sunflower seed shells.) With baseball players, it seems to have gone from a habit to an obsession.

    I spit no more than 10 or 12 times in an entire year, and then only when there's some legitimate reason for it, such as either I've accidentally hacked something up or a bug flew into my mouth (yeah, I admit it: I've got a big mouth and it's usually open).

    I'm not opposed to the idea of anti-spitting laws, but they would need to be enforced in a reasonable way (i.e., only in extreme circumstances) and STRICTLY at the most local level; I would go to war against an un-Constitutional federal law banning spitting nationally.

    ~ Stephen
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

    POSTSCRIPT: I replied to your comment on my 'Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends' Blog. If you get a chance, please check it out, Brother.

  5. I really love to spit off tall buildings and bridges. I just can't help it. Sorry

  6. Thanks for the comments

    The government steps in for plenty of things with laws like those regarding seat belts, smoking in certain localities, noise -- anything regarding issues of safety, nuisance, control, etc. I'm not saying to focus law enforcement to be absorbed by an issue such as this but use it in blatant circumstances or if it is conjunction with another crime. Find out how they do it in Singapore? The main thing is to make a public show and awareness campaign out of it like they have with seat belts and smoking. At least people will start to think a little more before they spit and may be a little more paranoid due to their awareness.
    And it'll be easy to start fining those baseball players since they're doing it right on camera.
    Diana -- there are already laws against spitting they are just not enforced.
    Stephen -- I'm sure you'll have an answer but does the Constitution give us the right to spit in public areas?

  7. Thanks for the comments on my blog. You found me through Sharon, huh? She's my best friends mom. Anyway, I don't plan on letting my blog die out, I just don't often know how to express what I have to say, so I keep quiet.
    So, public spitting? I only do it when necessary. when there's gunk in my throat and I want it gone and there isn't a trash can in sight, I will just spit it out. Unsanitary, yes. semi-disgusting, yes. But better that than feeling something inside my throat all day until I find a garbage can. Know what I mean?

  8. >>[Stephen -- I'm sure you'll have an answer but does the Constitution give us the right to spit in public areas?]<<

    rLEE-b, please allow me to rephrase the question as I think it would be better framed something like this:

    "Does the Constitution give the Federal Government the right to forbid spitting in public areas?"

    And the answer is: As the Constitution currently stands (unamended to address this specific issue), it does not.

    The final protection secured in the Bill Of Rights (i.e., the Tenth Amendment) states:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    Therefore, any law banning spitting in public areas would have to be established by states, counties, or individual communities.

    The Constitution does not permit Uncle Sam to infringe on your state's right to govern over the issue of spitting in public areas. It's a question that must be addressed at a state or local level.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stevieboy

    POSTSCRIPT: Bro, I left another response to your comment on my Blog, and I recommended two other (less quality but also less expensive and less time-consuming) reading suggestions pertaining to that issue there.

  9. And I certainly agree, that any laws pertaining to something like spitting should be, as they currently are, at the local level. But like our president has done in his teachable moments of teaching us to wash our hands and sneeze into our armpits or wherever it was he told us to sneeze he can also remind everybody that it's not nice to be spitting.
    And a campaign can be waged nationally to reinforce the local laws and educate people about the unhealthy aspects of spitting and to induce civic pride. I'd rather hear something like that than something that is overly encompassing and unsubstantiated as "this is your brain on drugs."

  10. i´m agree!!! ugh! is disgusting when peolple spit, i always say to my uncles but they don´t hear me... anyway, someday they will undersatnd

    sorry if i write wrong, my lenguage is spanish, but i know some others, like english (not a lot), and italian and french anyway, u understand (i hope)

  11. Thank you Alejandra (is that your name?)

    I appreciate the comment. And your English is fine. You can write to me in Spanish-- I do understand written Spanish for the most part and if I have difficulty I can use the Google Translator.

    Did you see my posts about Sebastian Sidi? What did you think of his music?

    Thank you again and please visit often.


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