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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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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.