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Huckleberries Online

Then & Now — Seatbelt Controversy Revisited


No law, or set of laws, has made the government more intrusive and ridiculous than seat belt legislation. Nothing is a bigger affront to the ideas of freedom, liberty, yada, yada, yada. Whether you are a pinko liberal or a right-wing whack job, there are plenty of reasons for just saying to hell with seat belt laws. Democrats and Republicans alike should stand together to stop these laws that are incongruous with the ideals of both parties.

Derek Kieper/Daily Nebraskan (Sept. 17, 2004)


Derek Kieper was a smart, funny, intense young man who relished a good debate and would do anything for his friends. Kieper, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, died early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer he was a passenger in travelled off an icy section of Interstate 80 and rolled several times in a ditch. Kieper, who was riding in the back seat of the Explorer, was ejected from the vehicle. … Derek, who was thrown from the vehicle, was not wearing a seat belt. Havermann and Uphoff (who suffered non-life threatening injuries) were wearing seat belts at the time.

Butch Mabin/Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star (Dec. 5, 2005)

Hat Tip: Jeff Hoyne, for bringing this tragic but interesting situation to HBO’s attention.

Update: Blogmeister Ken P sez Derek Kieper died in the accident in January not last week, as the date on the Lincoln Daily Journal article seems to indicate. Still, the irony remains …

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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