All errors should be reported to

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

North Dakota may legalize running over protesters

Oh I condemn the proposal. I don't want to risk my tenure here at the Don Surber Blog.

Still, the story is a hoot.

From the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota:
Motorist liability introduced in response to pipeline protests
A bill introduced by an oil patch lawmaker would provide an exemption for the driver of a motor vehicle if they unintentionally injured or killed a pedestrian obstructing traffic on a public road or highway.
“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” said Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, who admitted the bill is in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in southern Morton County.
He said a response, in the form of House Bill 1203, was needed after groups of protesters blocked or gathered close to roadways and caused problems as motorists tried to drive by.
“They’re not there for the protesters,” said Kempenich of public roadways as a staging point. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger."
Kempenich said his mother-in-law, on a few occasions, was traveling south of Mandan and came upon groups of protesters gathered on and near roadways.
The bill is going no place fast. Legislative leaders did not assign it to a committee. No way it becomes law.

But I think it sends a signal to the roadhogs.

Wouldn't making such protests a felony be better? The public safety interest is valid and it is apparent current law is not a deterrent.

I would also legalize joking about running them over -- not that I advocate such jokes.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. It looks like a litigant's dream with hard to prove words like negligence and unintentional, but the point is made. Making such protests a felony would amount to a slap on the wrist and an overnight stay at the Graybar Inn on the taxpayer's dime until they get out on bond and lawyered up the next morning. Then the cost of court proceedings leading to the inevitable lack of any serious consequence. - Elric

  2. Constitutional problems with the bill, in that it singles out people deliberately in the road in order to PROTEST for different treatment than people deliberately in the road for OTHER reasons. Given that protesting is constitutionally protected, this is problematic. I like the idea though....

    1. There are laws forbidding the blocking of egress which are constitutional. Roadways are egress.

    2. You don't want to block them egrets. They get riled and come back with all their feathered buddies.

      Just ask Alfred Hitchcock.


  3. Maybe adding language to kidnapping statutes which addresses constraint of vehicular traffic trying to travel down a public road, involuntary restraint by said road blockers, threats to inflict bodily or property harm if persons attempt to travel or flee them on a road, shoulder, nearby access area, etc, throw in attempted murder if they stop ambulances uncaring if the person within may die and if they do die charge with murder with prior intent. These are nihilists and should be treated that way legally.
    Serious time in prison for depriving anyone of their freedom of movement over a political stunt.

  4. One of my favorite videos is of a motorist in Spain plowing through one of those 'critical mass' bicycle protests. Bodies flying everywhere. Beautiful.

  5. NODAK! NODAK!! NODAK!!! Born in Grand Forks, lived in Bowman, Lisbon, and Fargo. Nobody messes with North Dakota. Ya seen how many consecutive titles the NDSU Bison have won in football? In NODAK, you either support the state or get out. Lovin this...

  6. I'm for this bill as long as it also allows you to back up over them if you miss them the first time!

  7. "unintentionally"

    Like the suicide who tabbed himself 10 times.

    In the back.

  8. It was climate change what did it. It did everything else.

  9. I'd take my chances plowing through them if I had to get a kid or other family member to the hospital. I'd only have to worry about one person on the jury being sympathetic.

  10. Yeah Don, be very careful. Remember what happened to Glenn.

    1. Don't worry. My department chair has my back.

  11. I think your only concern, if you happened upon a group of snowflake protesters while tooling around in your little red mustang, would be whether to stop and put the top down before you hit them at the legal speed long.
    Would be a real shame too.