We like using common sense around here 🙂 There is a recent story in the news that involves using a speaker phone in a car without announcing all of the passengers/listeners in the car. Ready to apply common sense citizenship to a situation like this? Let’s do it! We have a First Amendment right to free speech. That is, we can express our opinions freely. Did you know that when our Constitution was first ratified, blasphemy, obscenity, and the like were not protected speech? (IMHO people had more manners in that day) 🙂 Today, the First Amendment does not protect things like verbal threats against national security. (Hint: don’t use the word “bomb” in a TSA line. It’s just poor judgement to do so). If you make a threat against public safety, you will most likely have a very bad day and a big headache as the police try to determine the level of threat. I tell my teenage students that the First Amendment does not protect you against stupidity. So, go ahead and express your opinion freely within the legal boundaries of public safety and national security. And… just a side note… When you are in a car and are on a speaker phone, ALWAYS announce the names of ALL passengers in the car. Let the caller know who is in the car and to whom they are speaking. You actually preserve their freedom and yours when you do this. While it’s not against the First Amendment to conceal your passengers’ names, it is wise not to do so. It is just Common Sense citizenship at work.