Commentary

Rioters Will Be in for a Nasty Surprise if They Block Roadways in Oklahoma

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Cornered motorists who run over violent demonstrators or rioters on roads and highways if they feel threatened are now protected from civil and criminal liability in Oklahoma after lawmakers passed a common-sense anti-rioting bill on Wednesday.

Throughout the last several years, the country has seen demonstrators from Black Lives Matter and other leftist groups take to highways, bridges and roads in order to hinder the flow of traffic and intimidate drivers.

Some of these instances have been dangerous or even deadly for both rioters and for innocent people who were simply trying to pass through.

Just look at the kind of behavior ordinary people minding their own business have had to endure this past year, specifically:

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In some cases across the country, people who felt their lives were being threatened have driven through crowds of mobs using the instinct to protect their own lives. Some of those people were later charged with crimes.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, last June, a mob of BLM protesters attempted to block a highway overpass when two rioters were injured. The driver of a truck with a horse trailer hit the gas after the mob attacked him and his family.

KTUL-TV reported one woman was injured on a bike while a man plummeted from the overpass, presumably to avoid being run over. That man was paralyzed from the fall, and the leftists in the city demanded charges for the driver.

Not only did Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler not pursue charges for the driver, he actually demanded an investigation into those who were blocking the interstate, KTUL-TV reported.

Kunzweiler concluded that “the operator of the family truck and horse trailer and its occupants (which included two school age children) were the victims of a violent and unprovoked attack by multiple individuals who unnecessarily escalated an already dangerous circumstance by obstructing an interstate highway.”

“Although the claim may be that this was a peaceful protest, there was nothing peaceful about the targeting and attack upon this family. Crimes were committed upon this family and the individuals responsible should be held accountable,” the DA said.

Kunzweiler exemplified common sense with the decision, and now lawmakers in Oklahoma City have made his logic the law of the land.

The Oklahoman reported that House Bill 1674, which was signed into law Wednesday by GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt, shields divers from liability if they injure or kill a rioter while escaping similar situations which they feel put their lives at risk.

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“A motor vehicle operator who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual shall not be criminally or civilly liable for the injury or death, if … the injury or death of the individual occurred while the motor vehicle operator was fleeing from a riot,” the legislation states.

The law additionally criminalizes blocking roadways.

“Every person who shall knowingly and willfully obstruct the normal use of any public street, highway or road within this state by impeding, hindering or restraining motor vehicle traffic or passage thereon, by standing or approaching motor vehicles thereon, or by endangering the safe movement of motor vehicles or pedestrians travelling thereon shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor,” the law states.

Do you think every state should pass laws to protect motorists like Florida and Oklahoma have?

This charge would be “punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine of not less than [$100.00] and not exceeding [$5,000.00], or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

In cases where rioters damage vehicles on roads, those people, if caught, will be held personally liable for damage incurred to private property, the law adds.

The Oklahoma anti-riot bill is similar to one signed in Florida by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis last week.

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, instances where drivers were attacked or otherwise held hostage by violent mobs went viral online in major cities across the country on social media.

Common-sense Republican governors, such as DeSantis and Stitt, are finally doing something about the issue, while also reminding people who are supposed to be adults of something that they should have been taught long ago: Don’t play in the street.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has authored thousands of news articles throughout his career. He has also worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.




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