North Dakota lawmaker Republican Keith Kempenich believes he has a solution to massive protests. Allow regular citizens the legal right to run over protestors!
A bill sponsored by state Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, would protect drivers from legal consequences if they inadvertently hit, injure or kill pedestrians who are obstructing traffic.
The legislation is a direct response to the massive protests around the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Kempenich said. The ongoing protests have shut down a nearby highway for months and stalled construction of a pipeline that would carry crude from the North Dakota oil patch
"If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue," Kempenich said. "Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road. … Those people didn't ask to be in this."
That is true. If you don’t protest, people can’t kill you for protesting! They might kill you with contaminated waterways and polluted air. They may trample all over your rights, but they will not kill you with their cars while you protest … if you just don’t protest. But before you jump all over Kempenich, he’s just using insurance language—like a shill.
Under Kempenich's proposed legislation, drivers who negligently injure or kill pedestrians who are "obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street or highway" would not be liable for damages, and anyone who "unintentionally" kills or injures a pedestrian who was blocking traffic "is not guilty of an offense."
He said he plans to "soften" the language about negligent drivers — he was referring to insurance industry language, not giving a free pass to distracted drivers. He expects a hearing on his bill soon.
But Kempenich isn’t the only oilcrat here.
Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson and the state GOP chairman, said the measures are motivated by residents' frustration with the ongoing protests in the southern part of the state, which at one point in the summer saw a thousands-strong encampment opposing the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline.
"When people are having their lives disrupted, you're going to see things move up here," said Armstrong, an oil company executive and a former defense attorney. "It's very difficult to write 'protest laws.' We need to make sure there is reasonable application of the law in all circumstances, whether protest-related or not."
“Lives disrupted,” and “reasonable application of the law” are all buzzwords used when infringing on Americans’ civil liberties.