Saturday, July 24, 2004


I live in Utah. Utah is 99% Mormons.  Ok, I don't know if that figure is absolutely correct, but it is pretty good guess.  In 2001, I did a paper for an internet class and had to do the demographics.  I found that there were about 20% other races in the state.  However, I did not find that all unbelievable. 

There is a guy on Jeopardy right now (well I haven't checked in a while, but I am sure Ken is still there).  He has won like 35 days in a row and is up to 1.1 million dollars.  He is an active member of his church.  Which means they are looking to bank about 110,000 dollars at the moment because rumor has it that 10% of earnings go to the church.  Could be more as I write this.

Want to read a great book about the Mormon history and the Fundamentalist Mormons (polygamist sector)...Under the Banner of Heaven.  It will make you say huh, wow, and I can't believe that.  And I am sure there are others one out there just as good, but that was an interest to me. 

Mormonism is the fastest growing religion out there.  Crazy to think that, but then again they give their youth the opportunity to travel to far away places and convert people.  Which they don't do too often.  They are allowed one suitcase and minimal clothing.  I think that is crazy.  But I give it to them to give their youth the opportunity to see other places without having to join the military. 

I have this thing that I call the Mormon airbag.  And I have heard other law enforcement individuals refer to it as that.  Lets say you have a family of 11, which includes ma and pa.  You own a suburban that seats 7 people, which means there are 7 seat belts.  I am going off 2 in the front, 3 in the next seat, and 2 in the back seat.  So that leaves 4 individuals you have that are without a seat belt.  State law requires:

(1)  The driver of a motor vehicle operated on a highway shall:      
(a)  wear a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt
(b)  provide for the protection of each person younger than five years of age by using a child restraint device to restrain each person in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer of the device; and      
(c)  provide for the protection of each person five years of age up to 16 years of age by using an appropriate child restraint device to restrain each person in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer of the device or by securing, or causing to be secured, a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt on each person.

Plain and simple.  However, to every law there are exceptions...but first let me give you a definition.  "Seating position" means any area within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle in which the manufacturer has installed a safety belt.
(2)  This article does not apply to a passenger if all seating positions are occupied by other passengers.

Now there are other exceptions as well, but this is the one I am looking at.  And just for giggles I checked the Wisconsin State Seat Belt Law and it is not the same, but they seem to have some craziness in their law as well.  But what can you expect from a bunch of Cheeseheads. 

So you strap in the 7 individuals.  Some say that a suburban holds 9, but nonetheless there are some individuals without seat belts.  And this is where the Mormon airbag comes into effect.  Ma takes a child and places the child on her lap.  Sometimes this child in retrained with ma and other times not.  The other children not belted in are wherever they want to be in the vehicle.  Standing between the seats, jumping over the seats, pestering their siblings. 

So then the accident happens and...well I don't need to explain what usually happens. 

In no way am I slamming the Mormons for this because the individual I pulled over today was from California.  But since it is a common thing to see in Utah, I call it the Mormon airbag.  As soon as the vehicle passed I saw the child sitting there.  My initial thought was -- our speed is no more than 45, they weren't speeding, Jr. just wants a better view.  The second thought was -- if they were to get in an accident and Jr. got injured, I would feel absolutely responsible. 

There were three jeeps traveling together.  The one in question was in the middle.  I pulled in between the two and hit my lights.  I noticed him immediately get on a radio and talk to one of the other ones.  There was finally a place to pull over and the first two jeeps pulled over.  I was waiting for the 3rd to pull in behind me, but the first jeep understood something about law enforcement and waved him up ahead.  I walked up to the vehicle and saw one of the cutest little beings sitting on mommie's lap and strapped in.  I said he has to be in the child seat.  It isn't that I don't trust your driving, but I don't trust the other drivers on the road and I would feel terrible if something happen.  They knew as soon as I walked up to them why I was coming.  And without any argument put Jr. in the car seat. 

I bit my tongue in telling them about the Mormon airbag.

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