One of the increasingly common and truly infuriating tactics utilized recently by leftist protesters is to block traffic on major roadways, essentially shutting down all transportation in a particular area, until their obstruction is eventually cleared by law enforcement.
But according to The Bismarck Tribune, one North Dakota lawmaker has written a bill that would end, or at least significantly counter, such tactics, by protecting innocent drivers who accidentally strike protesters standing in the middle of a road.
“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” said Republican state Rep. Keith Kempenich, who admitted that the lengthy Dakota Access Pipeline protests near the Standing Rock reservation served as the impetus for the bill he introduced, known as HB 1203.
“They’re not there for the protesters,” Kempenich said of the public roadways. “They’re (the protesters) intentionally putting themselves in danger.”
The bill has yet to be sent to committee hearings and will most likely undergo some changes as specific language is clarified. Meanwhile whether such a measure would be broadly supported remained unclear.
Critics immediately pounced on the proposed bill, saying it would essentially legalize the murder of protesters by allowing drivers to deliberately run over them — just check the comments section at The Huffington Post — but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, the bill made clear that the law would protect only drivers who “inadvertently” hit protesters blocking traffic, and would not apply to someone who deliberately plowed through a crowd, as we have seen some frustrated people do, or to someone who struck a regular pedestrian or child in the street.
“If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,” Kempenich said, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. “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.”
“This bill puts the onus on somebody who’s made a conscious decision to put themselves (sic) in harm’s way,” he added. “You can protest all you want, but you can’t protest up on a roadway. It’s dangerous for everybody.”
We here at Conservative Tribune fully support the First Amendment and the right of individuals to assemble peaceably for the purpose of protest. However, that right doesn’t extend to blocking public roadways and endangering other people.
This law appeared to be a good step in the right direction by letting protesters know that if they insist on dangerously blocking public roadways with their own bodies, bad things may accidentally happen to them, and they themselves will be at fault.
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