In this case reported from Antioch, Tennessee, a domestic argument ends with a stranger being drawn into a potentially deadly encounter. The accused and a woman were arguing, and the accused told her to to get out of the car on the Interstate. A stranger, seeing a woman walking on the Interstate, stopped to ask if she needed help. Shortly after, the accused came back, stopped, drew a pistol and pointed it at the two. The stranger drew his own gun, words were exchanged, and the accused drove off.  No shots were fired. Talk to any police officer, and they will tell you . . .

how nasty domestic situations are to intervene in. You never know what might happen, because emotions and adrenalin are surging.  Alcohol and/or drugs are often involved. It is not uncommon for the person you think you are protecting, to turn on you and attack you.   In this case, the article implies that the woman was Dunn’s wife, but it does not clearly say so. From theleafchronicle.com:

No shots were fired, and no injuries were recorded.

According to previous records, Dunn has allegedly pulled a gun on his wife before and physical altercations have occurred.

The stranger could not know that he was stepping into the middle of a domestic dispute. My policy: avoid involving myself in the affairs of consenting adults, unless it seems absolutely necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm.

It stems from an experience where I came very close to shooting a man. I was married, and my wife and I had invited a woman, who said that she was abused, into our home. Her boyfriend showed up and flattened two of her tires with a large, pointed tool, as we watched.  He shouted grievances and obscenities at the house. I defended the door with a .357 magnum. Two weeks later, they were back together; two years later, they were married.

From the research that I have read, most domestic violence situations are not one sided, but are a “dance of mutual destruction”. You do not want to be drawn into that maelstrom.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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63 Responses to Armed “Good Samaritan” Defends Self, in the Middle of a “Domestic”

  1. My policy is not to get involved at all ever. I’m sure a lot of people are going to call me a coward, but in this age of lawyers and bull$h@t it’s too risky. My duty is to my family, not to strangers. If I get blown away or locked up in jail for blowing someone away who is going to take care of them? I seen a lot of “good guys” get their faces hammered for trying to be the white knight for a girl. No thanks.

    • A guy out here was recently robbed at gunpoint for trying to help what he thought was a stranded motorist. just look up “samaritan robbed at gunpoint” for literally dozens of examples.
      You just don’t wanna take the risk.

    • Bear,

      To a great degree, I appreciate and understand your position. In the past I have encouraged people to withhold their intervention unless they have personally seen and heard everything develop to the point that they are 1000% certain who is the criminal aggressor and who is the victim. Even then, intervening is a personal decision that involves various liabilities for the person intervening, the least of which is potential legal liability. And I for one do NOT want to take on a bunch of liability for someone who made poor choices in their life and shirked their responsibility to have an effective means to defend themselves.

      In spite of that, please also consider that some people quite literally do not have the wherewithal to defend themselves, whether it is age (children cannot carry handguns in public) or other complicating factors. Additionally, the attacker could come for your family in the future at a time when you are not around to defend them. Those are compelling reasons to intervene.

      So, please consider each situation on a case-by-case basis.

    • Isn’t being a good Samaritan one of the reasons people argue FOR gun rights? I can’t remember how many times I heard “well it was a gun free zone. Had anyone in that building had a gun the crisis could have ended a lot sooner with a lot less dead bodies if someone had had a gun.” But now everyone is saying “Don’t intervene ever”. As a paramedic we are trained to always have an exit strategy and never enter a potentially hostile situation unless law enforcement is present. I follow the same rules as a good Samaritan, whether I have my gun with me or not.

      • In a potential active shooter situation it depends on where the gunman is. First priority is family. I will make sure they make it to safety at all costs. I will not run towards gunfire and leave them to find safety for themselves. I get my position is frowned upon, but I chose not to me a cop, fireman, or ems because it is not my nature to help others. That sounds pretty awful, but why lie? I knew a man who beat the crap out of his daughters boyfriend for almost killing her and you know what he got? Time in jail and a lawsuit while his daughter even testified against him! I am not without compassion. I volunteer, I donate, I choose to live a passive life and am glad that their are others who feel the need to intervene when they feel necessary, but as for me I’ve seen too many good deeds go punished.

        • I respect your honesty, and quite frankly if it’s not in your nature, you’d probably be more likely to get in the way or make a situation worse. Don’t feel bad about not intervening, and don’t let others pressure you into thinking you should do something.

          I’m a different sort. I’m the kind of guy who when I hear an explosion, I run towards it. I see an accident I run to it. I see fire, I’m going there. I make every attempt I can to save others. It’s just in my nature. I understand that it’s not in everyone’s nature. But it’s who I am. Good Samaritans being robbed doesn’t stop me. I ensure my woman is safe, and park my truck to help block traffic. Of course, she’s a better shot than I am, and she’s far enough back that someone who tries to rob me isn’t going to have long to live. I grew up in Texas. Those long roads can be lonely. You can see some roads that don’t get traffic for days. So maybe that’s why I always feel the need to try to help. No amount of bad press about Samaritans being robbed will change that.

          Domestic Violence is really touchy. It’s dangerous to get involved in. Which is why I say that if it isn’t in your nature to help, You’ll make the situation worse. It’s like expecting to be able to hit your target and never handling the firearm before.

    • Well you say that now…make sure you post when you say to yourself, “dang it. that’s not right.” then curse again and go help.

  2. “My policy: avoid involving myself in the affairs of consenting adults, unless it seems absolutely necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm.”

    Well my policy is simpler – I avoid involving myself in the affairs of consenting adults. No “unless”. Call me selfish and cowardly if you want to, it won’t change my mind. I am not responsible for the lives of other people, I am getting close to retirement age, and I want to spend the next stage of my life healthy and well. Not dead or in a hospital bed from having been injured or killed while defending complete strangers who should have learned how to defend themselves.

    • Let’s test that…
      A nice little old lady that you know well in your neighborhood is being mugged by two thugs with clubs. You’re armed with a more than adequate handgun. Do you just keep walking?
      My thought is to wonder what kind of neighborhood am I leaving to my child where no will help out anyone else…
      By not acting now, am I ensuring a future harm to my loved ones later?

  3. I intervened in a situation where a man was dragging a woman kicking and screaming into his car while another woman nearby was yelling that he “trying to kill her”. My presence was enough to stop the man from continuing without needing to draw a gun.

    I found out afterward it was a man with his “machismo” being threatened by his girl friend trying to break up with him.

    I’d do it again. Even if it meant drawing and using a weapon. When a so called “man” (coward) gets physical with a woman is where I draw the line.

    • I’d probably do the same thing. I’d intervene if there was a crime taking place. “Getting involved with another’s bidness” and protecting someone who needs it can be separated only by a fine line sometimes.

      Good job with defusing the situation without drawing. Domestic situations are touchy, you ask any sheriff/cop where you need to be on guard and it’s that one. A lot of cops have been killed responding to domestics.

      • Yeah; people making poor choices.

        But I’ve been a firefighter and in EMS and what we respond to are people that have made bad choices, whether through inattention, by eating or drinking to much of the bad stuff or just plain evil intent.

  4. When I’ve stopped and helped people on the interstate or elsewhere, the last thing on my mind is whether I’ll get sued or not. Someone needs help, I’m gonna help.

  5. Vigilante: One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one’s own hands.

    I would get involved. I would call 911 and I would make sure the perp knew I was calling 911. I would stay around to be a witness and to provide first aid. If the perp draws down on me when I’m doing that, it’s a different scenario. Then I am defending myself.

    But I am not a cop. While I am trained in the use of a firearm, that does not mean I am fully trained, equipped, or a member of an organization that qualifies me to act as a cop. If the other guy winds up shooting me, I have not helped the victim and my family is deprived of me and my support, which means I haven’t done right by them. If I shoot the perp, the press will try to make me into the next George Zimmerman and even if I am exonerated, my family may wind up broke and I have not done right by them.

    Sadly incidents like this happens all the time. If it outrages you, you can donate to a battered women’s shelter and help a lot of women, not just one on a highway. I think the people who give the John Wayne speech about incidents like this are trying to prove something. I went in harm’s way in the military. I have nothing to prove.

    • I am curious how stopping to help a woman, perhaps merely by offering her a ride to the next exit, is a “law enforcement issue.”

      A stranger, seeing a woman walking on the Interstate, stopped to ask if she needed help. Shortly after, the accused came back, stopped, drew a pistol and pointed it at the two.

      Stopping to help her is being a “vigilante?”

      Look at the age we live in. People won’t even offer someone a helping hand anymore? Fascinating.

      • That’s what 911 is for. Also, did you know that the “damsel in distress” scam is a well known bait for crooks to rob you? Just one example was a guy who stopped in a very similar situation in Cincinnati last year. He got robbed at gunpoint. The police captain interviewed said people should call 911 in that kind of circumstance. That’s exactly what I said I would do, and what I will do.

        • “The police captain interviewed said people should call 911 in that kind of circumstance. “

          A lot of Statists say we should do (or should not do) a lot of things that are immoral.

          Food for thought…

      • And you completely ignored my pointing out that this situation has precisely nothing to do with “law enforcement” or “vigilantism” from the stranger’s perspective of seeing a lone woman walking on the Interstate shoulder.

        I take it from your reply that you are on board with cops being “The Great Protector.” No need to have a weapon for home defense, then…call 911. That’s what a lot of cops tell us we should do.

        • I ignored that point because I don’t agree with it. Rescuing strange women on the side of the road is one of the many unpleasant tasks I expect law enforcement to do for the tax dollars I pay, just like I expect the fire department to rescue strangers when their houses are on fire. That way I don’t run into burning buildings where I have no business being.

          But at my house, which is my business, I have both a fire extinguisher and a gun.

        • Whether you agree with it or not, stopping to help a woman walking down the side of the road is not being a “vigilante.” That is absolutely absurd.

          Got it, though; government is your great protector.

          Enjoy your Nanny State.

        • I agree with you on this but why does everthing have to be “statist?”

          911 is for emergenices and unless you can determine that she is victim of a crime or just walking for help for her broken down car the police are not right on their way. The only way you can make that determination is to talk to her. The advice I am seeing say ignore her and be on your way.

      • Let me tell you one account of stopping to help a woman on a road.

        It was in February, in central Nevada. I’m tooling westward on US-50 in the Kobeh Valley. Elevation was about 6500′ ASL. We were having a warm day in winter (about 45F), but there was a cold front (of about 0F) predicted to come in that night.

        I see a woman (caucasian, perhaps in her late 50’s, about 5’3″) hiking on the side of the road, alone. No one is within sight in any direction. She’s wearing sneakers for shoes and a plastic trash bag as rain cover. Oooookay, this woman looks like she needs help, right? It’s 40 miles to the nearest town to the east (with nothing but sagebrush between her and town) and 60 miles to another town to her west, which would have required going over some mountains. I reckon she must be in trouble, because no one in their right mind would be out hiking in such inadequate clothing in the wind and the wet, with a really hard day of hiking to get merely near a town.

        So I stop.

        Want to know what I got for stopping? An earful of left-wing screed from a certifiably crazy woman from the UK. First thing she opened up on me about was the American “love of guns. You’re all insane!” I literally never got the words “Do you need help?” out of my mouth. Just roll up on her, roll down a window and she starts yelling at me.

        I’m in a diesel pickup with food, and emergency supplies, and 35 gallons of fuel, and she’s hiking on one of the most remote and desolate roads left in the CONUS area without any food, fuel, shelter or proper clothes, and I’m the crazy one? Right.

        After five minutes of being yelled at for being an American, I just drove off.

        That’s one example. I’ve stopped for perhaps, oh, more than a dozen women alone along the road here in the rural west. About half of them turned out to be nuts – and in a couple cases, they were barking-at-the-moon mad, like the case above. I’m now reluctant to stop for anyone on the open road unless I’m carrying.

        • “Want to know what I got for stopping? An earful of left-wing screed from a certifiably crazy woman from the UK. First thing she opened up on me about was the American “love of guns. You’re all insane!” I literally never got the words “Do you need help?” out of my mouth. Just roll up on her, roll down a window and she starts yelling at me.”

          Without being too presumptions, I would say that this situation called for a healthy dose of discretion.

    • If I shoot the perp, the press will try to make me into the next George Zimmerman

      At this point you can make the argument of why bother defending yourself at all then?

      • I don’t get that logic at all. Zimmerman’s problem was that he “defended himself” after intentionally inserting himself into a situation he should not have been in. He was lucky to get off and he got off only because he was the only living witness to the actual incident. When I took the “Self Defense Law” class at the NRA HQ recently, one of the points that was made was that the #1 thing that will get a self-defense claim defeated in court is that “you brought yourself to the danger.” Whether or not you knew there was going to be danger, the fact that you inserted yourself in a situation that was none of your business, like Zimmerman did, means you can wind up taking on responsibility for how the whole thing goes down.

        • No Zimmerman “got off” because the testimony of several witnesses established that Martin doubled back and assaulted him, and the charges against him should never have been sought in the first place.

          Could he have avoided all that crap by not leaving his truck? Absolutely, 100%. But he didn’t initiate the confrontation, he had in fact lost sight of Martin and turned back to leave. Martin was the one who “inserted himself” and created the situation. He could have chosen to just continue home, but instead choose to initiate violence. It was a bad choice.

    • Hindsight is 20/20. The Good Samaritan did not know at first it was a domestic spat. In fact, that we call these people “Good Samaritans” is instructive, because the priest’s and Levite’s reason for not helping the beaten man was not callousness. It was over-concern with Jewish law, which prohibited contact with bodily discharges. Seems like a good parallel with all the commenters here who are more concerned about lawsuits and police harassment than rendering aid. Everyone talks tough here about being a lone wolf, but I like to think when the flares go up, we’ll all rise to the occasion.

  6. Some things are ingrained from learning from parents and elders.
    Some things are ingrained through training.
    I learned from my dad to help people. As a cop I was trained to help people.
    I would have stopped too.

  7. When I was just a teenager I saw a man hitting his wife. Before I could intervene, the couple’s daughter charged in and started slapping her father. The mother then proceeded to beat her daughter for hitting her father. The motto of the story? Leave domestic disputes to the domestics involved. There are dynamics involved that the bystander has no idea of.

  8. Had a local Sheriffs Lt. killed on his way home similar situation. He was trained, armed & expierenced a citizen armed or not call 911. Ask any police officer what call scares them the most, half the time the other party turns on you also.

  9. What a bunch of creeps here.

    If my daughter is ever getting beaten up by a man, please stop and help her. Maybe some women are crazy but not all are. Sometimes the man is not a husband and it’s not a domestic squabble. Sometimes women need help. I plan to offer it if I ever see someone in need and I have nothing but disdain and contempt for anyone calling himself a man who won’t do the same.

    Yes, be careful, because there are scams, and stupid, dependent women, but not always. Use your noggin. That’s why you carry.

    • And we passers-by, neighbors or self-styled “good guys” are supposed to pick out the sane women from the crazy women exactly how?

      Remember, these situations start and escalate very quickly. There’s no time to conduct an interview over tea and scones. And unlike police who have on-call backup or a second cop right there at the time, for good samaritans, there’s usually just one person, with no one watching his back and no one else to provide corroboration of the samaritan’s account of what happened.

  10. I’m quite sure that if I see a guy dragging an unconscious woman out of (not into) an elevator by the hair, I’m not lifting a finger, except perhaps to call 911.

  11. I spent most of my childhood being bullied and wishing ANY of the hundreds of other kids around me would help. These days if the kid getting his lunch money stolen for the 500th day in a row defends himself once he gets the same punishment as the kid who was taking it. Shame on the school systems for inserting this mindset into our society and shame on the legislators and court system for reinforcing it in us as adults.

    Me, I stop. I do take each scenario on a case by case basis whether to step in or simply announce that the police are on their way but whenever possible I stop. I can understand why so many of you don’t want to get involved. It is what you have been trained to do since childhood. I for one loose sleep when I treat others with the same disregard that I was subject to for all those years.

    For the record in none of the situations where I have been the samaritan in the middle or standing by on the phone nobody involved was ever aware that I was armed except for me. God willing it will stay that way.

  12. Considering my experiences with a relative, this is how it would probably play out if the good Samaritan shot the aggressor. She would lie to the police claiming that the good Samaritan was the aggressor. Habitual abusive relationships demonstrate how insane humans can get.

    • My first thought was exactly that. If this went to court, what would her “recollection” of the event be 6 months later. Or even on the side of the road. Would she tell the truth about her recently departed abusive mate? Or would she tell us how it was just a misunderstanding and then this guy jumped in the middle of it?

  13. Gladly, my days of patrolling are over. When I did, luckily I had the fortune of working as a military police officer with strict DV rules. I have to say it was quite hard not to chuckle during the moment. We detained EVERYONE. Accuser, victim, witness, friend from out of town, buddy over to watch the game, sorority sister…. did not matter. Once the neighbors dialed 911, we were under orders to detain everyone. Believe it or not, it works.

    That policy protected the police from having to decide who was less drunk and more believable. You are all going to make statements after a short ride in the back seat of a patrol car.

  14. if someone draws on me, and i draw my firearm. there wont be any words exchanged. once my firearm is out of the holster i am firing upon a target. it wont leave the holster until i have a damn good reason to draw it, in this case, being drawn on by home girls husband would be enough in michigan to draw and fire upon him

    • While there are some women who can take care of themselves, many can’t primarily due to physiological differences between them and men. Hence why most victims of domestic abuse or rape are women. Unfortunately, society at large encourages women that a restraining order has greater stopping power than the “great equalizer”.

      In terms of being a woman’s white knight, it depends upon the particulars of the situation, be it a broken down car or a domestic spat.

    • What was it that giant of the feminist movement said? Oh yea, it’s coming back to me now:

      “Women need men like a fish needs a bicycle.”

  15. Sometimes you might not be interested in the situation, but the situation is interested in you… 1999 I’m at Ft. Bragg walking to my barracks from the parking lot. A 6’2” 200 lbs Infantryman (I’m 5’5” 130 lbs) from another unit is having a domestic with a female just in front of the building. No strikes just yelling and some pushing. First instinct was stay away, second was #$$% this guy, I live here. I’m about 15 yards away when the infantryman who is already 10/10 on aggression says, “WTF you looking at” and charges me. Luckily he was drunk and slow but there was no way I was going to win a fight if he got a good hold of me. Eventually friends watching from their window show up and infanytryman goes away with the MP. Could have turned out a lot worse for me.

  16. The way this story was introduced didn’t make it clear that by attempting to be a “good samaritan” you are necessarily involving yourself with a domestic dispute. If I see someone laying incapacitated, maybe I shouldn’t attempt to lend assistance because that might be an on-going domestic dispute. Maybe we shouldn’t ask “do you need help?”. Maybe we should lead with “are you having a fight with your significant other?”.

    Really?!

  17. After five years of living in the Los Angeles area and seeing more than my share of psychotic women instigating stuff because they knew how the California law presumed men to be the aggressors once someone dropped a dime to call the cops, I’m well past assuming it is the man’s fault. Cops in CA have told me horror story after horror story of what happens when cops (NB the plural) show up on a DV call and get involved (because it is the law), which spanned the spectrum from the woman screaming at the cops when they put her man in cuffs, to the woman going for a gun or knife to attack the cops she just called! They’ve also told me of contrived situations by women, where she just wanted him out of the house (in a couple cases, to make room for the new boyfriend) and abused the system to get him held for 48 hours while she pitched his stuff to the curb and changed the locks.

    Five years in LA taught me that the stereotype painted by feminists of the shrinking violet female who is always the victim in domestic violence is a complete crock of crap. I’d say that in all the DV situations I observed from the places where I lived, about 40% of them were instigated by the woman.

    I’m not a cop, I don’t have a partner to watch my back, I’m not being paid and I don’t have police powers. My philosophy about getting involved in any domestic issue, even if I see a woman getting beat up, is to call 911, provide witness statements to the responding cops and keep my body (and my gun) out of a situation I don’t understand and can’t understand in the mere moments’ worth of information I get.

    • Had a work buddy years back in NC. Tiny little Cambodian dude married to this hamplanet white chick. One night the wife flips her lid and attacks him with a cast iron frying pan. She beat the snot out of the guy, not a mark on her. Cambodian dude barricaded himself in a closet and called 911. Cops show up and because it’s a domestic and under NC law the man is the aggressor, so he gets a ride to the hospital and spends the night in custody. Calls me to bail him out the next morning. Cambodian dude stays at my place; a week later he and hamplanet make up, then move away. (Small town, luckily charges against him were dropped)

      • When was this? There’s nothing in the current NC Law (GS 50B-1 defines domestic violence) that states that the man is the aggressor.

        If she beat him that bad with a frying pan, there’d be evidence of that, and that’s quite possibly Assault with a Deadly Weapon. I can’t believe a cop would arrest the victim of an assault like that while the assailant walked.

        Sorry. I’m not buying this story as told. Perhaps what he told you was not quite what really led to his arrest.

        • You are correct. I never bothered to look at the actual law until now. No mandate for arrest or male presumption. This occurred in 1992, so I’m not sure if things changed. Although, from what the police told me it was a DV arrest and they believed the wife to be the aggressor. His story matched.

  18. No good deed goes unpunished….

    A Good Samaritan in Brooklyn:

    Woman Says She Was Brutally Beaten By Teenage Girls On Subway In Brooklyn
    …”[It] all started because she asked the teens to stop swearing inside the crowded subway car.
    “I said, ‘You guys should be more respectful for your age.
    There’s a bunch of children on the train right here, and that’s unacceptable,’”

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/09/22/woman-says-she-was-brutally-beaten-by-teenage-girls-on-subway-in-brooklyn/

  19. I stopped found out that the house I was taking the girl to was a person I knew sister. I shouldn’t have stopped but felt good when the person came up to me and told me thanks.

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