Like most Americans, when Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic in March of 2020 Rod Lunn Jr. sat back and waited to see what was really going on and how it would be affecting the health and safety of his everyday life. But as information came to light, his approach took an abrupt turn and his mindset went from “slow the spread” to “slow the infringement on my rights.” Mr. Lunn Jr. ended up filing multiple lawsuits during the pandemic as a way to check, what he viewed as, government overreach.
In his own words, “The first month, I really didn’t know what was going on but nothing seemed right. By about the second month, there was already enough data coming out that said (to me) something more is happening here, (I) gotta dig a little deeper... and then of course once they started shutting down businesses… you know I’m hanging out by my pool, living my best life, but my friends are saying, ‘I gotta pay my bills, they’re going to shut us down. What do I do?’”
What do I do? That was the question that Mr. Lunn Jr. just couldn’t shake. As he reflected on what was happening in Tennessee, he decided someone had to actually do something. So, he did something. He sued a lot of people, including Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
When asked about why he filed so many lawsuits, Mr. Lunn Jr. stated, “I wanted to set precedence with where we were with the law.” Mr. Lunn Jr. was referring to Constitutional law, and the question of where exactly individual rights begin and end seems to be burning in the minds of many Americans as the country continues to re-open.
The Coronavirus, besides being a tragedy resulting in 600,000 deaths across the country to date, caused economic devastation that rearranged the governance of American life. Parents with school aged children, businesses with bills to pay, people with parents in nursing facilities, and Americans worrying about job security all found themselves desperately watching and waiting for government and medical officials to make decisions about their day-to-day lives. When reflecting on the last 15 months, it seems the impact of the pandemic ignited a new-found sense of urgency in some Americans that evolved from “What is best for our safety?” to “What are we allowed to do?” to “What are my actual rights as an American?”
Mr. Lunn Jr. was one of the first Tennesseans to take action when it comes to the last question, but he certainly won't be the last. There’s a new kind of rebel on the scene, but don’t get them confused with the anti-establishment, grunge counterculture of the 90s. Among other things, the new rebel is on fire for re-establishing their Constitutional rights. In conversation, you can identify them by their thirst for knowledge about the inner workings of the local and federal governments. Some can be spotted by their fervent attendance at school board and town hall meetings. The quiet types are doing things like changing their jobs, moving to different states, and letting their money do the talking by being cognizant of what businesses they support, what media they consume, and what entertainment they indulge in. Heck, some are even running for office!
For people like Rod Lunn Jr., the pushback doesn’t end with herd immunity. No, Mr. Lunn Jr. will be continuing to educate and advocate for Tennesseans by establishing an organization called Act Free Now. The 501(c)(4) will have a podcast that educates Tennesseans about the Constitution, how the country was founded, and what their civil rights and liberties are. It will also have an interactive platform so like-minded people and business owners can find each other. Lastly, its most ambitious objective is to provide resources to help facilitate groups who want to file class action lawsuits.
Though 2020 felt like an endless saga, it’s clear that as one chapter may be coming to a close a new one is just beginning. In the view of Tennesseans like Rod Lunn Jr., a deadly virus spread through our nation and infected American lives in more ways than one. The saga continues.