Rumination on the First Amendment

by Timothy Achan Gates

Amendment 1 – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Covington Weekly began as an idea that Chelsea Cochrane and I developed after watching several businesses in the downtown area close their doors. We wanted a medium to promote all the great things happening in Covington, because we live here and we love where we live. We came up with something that was focused on offering a lower cost method of advertising geared to small businesses.

Besides promoting the many positive and beneficial things happening in Covington, it also provides an outlet to voice opinions on things happening here in the area. Because we are not controlled by large corporations, we are able to discuss things that other outlets do not. In short, Covington Weekly is a private venture, the opinions expressed in my features are my own, and we have every right to print them. We do not resort to libel, slander or ad hominem attacks.

It was brought to my attention that the Sheriff’s race article drew the ire of certain members of the community, citing “bias” in the fact that the current Sheriff Strain was not mentioned by name in the article. It is my opinion that mentioning Sheriff Strain is irrelevant.

I would like to relate a personal incident that happened to Chelsea and me which illustrates an actual example of bias exhibited by Deputies of the current Sheriff’s Office: After being pulled over on Collins Blvd. at 1:00 in the morning for a non-working license plate light, we were briefly detained by Sheriff’s Deputies. A field sobriety test was administered (which I passed), and discussion ensued which led to this exchange:

“What do you do (for a job)?badcop

“We run the Covington Weekly.”

“We hate Covington.” Looks at partner.

“Yeah, we hate Covington.” Partner concurs.

Fortunately, a senior officer was on hand to mediate the situation and he sent us on our way. As a general rule, I exhibit respect and deference to law enforcement; in this instance, the intimidating and unprofessional remarks made by the deputies reflected very poorly on the integrity and objectivity of the current office. If you hate where you work as a public servant, please go somewhere else.