Refusing to be deprived of his Constitutional right to liberty, to peaceably assemble, and to practice the religion he describes as naturalism, Mitch Walden of Nashville, Tennessee, unabashedly flouted the Tennessee governor’s COVID-19 shelter in place order and left his home for a wholly unnecessary activity: checking the mail.
“I never get anything worthwhile, just junk,” said Walker. “But that was the whole point - to overtly disobey the order not to leave my house other than for essential activities."
On the way to his mailbox, Walker additionally took time to practice his religion, naturalism, by breathing deeply of the clean, fresh air and basking in the rays of sunlight that warmed his face during his three-minute foray outdoors. “Avoiding a hyped-up virus may be other people’s number-one priority, but for me, communion with nature means everything," he said. "No police state is ever going to interfere with that. I'll fight to the death for my right to worship."
During his extraneous venture outdoors, Walker also took a hard-and-fast stand for his right to peaceably assemble, by closely and rambunctiously associating with his neighbors’ dog, Kellogg, to the level of "pure frolicking." “Out of everything, that was probably my most joyful exercise of First Amendment rights," he said.
Unfortunately, said Walker, very few of his neighbors seemed to absorb the significance of the stand he was taking for the sake of all of their Constitutional rights by his act of civil disobedience. “No one seems to get it that once the State starts exerting overly broad police powers for one thing, they’ll start doing it again and again for other things – and with less and less of a basis,” he said. “But I get it. And I'm going to keep getting outside, no matter what the government tells me."