“A man was arguing with his girlfriend in a car just outside the Woodgate apartment complex at 3581 W. Cobble Ridge Drive,” ksl.com reports. “As the argument got more heated, a man walking his dog passed by and tried to help out or intervene in the situation, and asked the female if she needed help.” Oh yeah that’s a great idea. Interject yourself in the middle of a domestic dispute between two unknown parties. At 1am. “An ensuing argument between the two men quickly turned into a fight. ‘It was apparent that there was quite a physical altercation between these two,’ [West Jordan officer J.C.] Holt said.” And here’s the passively constructed money shot . . .

The man walking his dog was armed with a handgun, and at some point during the fight the gun discharged, striking the other man in the hip, according to Holt. He said that the bullet just missed the femoral artery.

Holt said there was a great deal of bleeding at the scene due to the nature of the injury.

The man was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. Holt said the man is now stable, but is lucky to be alive. The wound is still serious and he is still undergoing treatment.

“Any time we’re dealing with an injury like that, obviously that’s a life threatening injury, just with the major blood vessels down there.”

The man walking his dog was also wounded from blows to the face, according to Holt, and received a serious cut above the eye. he was also transported to a local hospital.

The woman was not injured in the altercation.

Well of course not. In the same way that there are plenty of people who died trying to save a dog from drowning—only to drown. And the dog lives, anyway.

There’s no getting around it: the natural human urge to do the right thing can have disastrous consequences.

Gun owners have a particular need to keep this in mind. No matter how peaceful an armed citizen’s original intentions when intervening to protect property or [seemingly innocent] life, interpersonal confrontations can quickly escalate to the point where you need to use deadly force to save your life.

Just ask George Zimmerman.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got no beef with armed citizens putting themselves in harm’s way when they encounter criminal activity. As a single parent, I would think thrice about risking my child’s happiness (i.e. orphaning or bankrupting her) before clearing leather for a stranger. But I respect people who put their ass on the line for civilization’s sake.

That said, gun owner who places themselves in harm’s way for people they don’t know in a situation that isn’t 100 percent clear are acting irresponsibly. By calling the cops, by being a good observer, a concealed carry licensee observing a crime can have a positive impact on law enforcement.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know can hurt you. But we do know that the unidentified Utah dog walker now faces the possibility of civil action, the loss of his gun rights and some pretty bad dreams. As always, our IGOTD statuette will offer its recipient cold comfort in the days ahead. [h/t Phil]

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44 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Unidentified Utah Dog Walker

  1. “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Wisdom for the ages, Robert.
    Especially in domestic incidents, which are the number two cause of LEO deaths and injuries, b/c the cops are often attacked by the victim while their attention is turned on the perp.
    I always warn my students about these situations and the liability that can result.
    I also preach the gospel of pepper spray. All other facts aside, if this guy had pulled a can of OC when things got physical, it’s highly unlikely that the other guy would’ve gotten a hole in his thigh, with all the attendant liability.
    After all, it’s always easier to tell a jury you didn’t spray him too much rather than you didn’t shoot him too much!

    • What are you talking about? There was no mention in the story of anyone pulling out a gun. The only mention of a gun was that the dog walker was carrying a gun and that gun “discharged”. The gun probably just got spooked and fired itself, clearly not the dog walker’s fault.

  2. Keep your wits about you. Call the law and be a good witness. Only get involved if the situation goes freakishly bad.

    And pepper spray is a good idea to use as a supplement to your gun. But neither pepper spray or a gun makes up for poor judgement.

    • Why call the cops at all? The woman you’re trying to protect will be the one bailing him out of jail. Save your phone minutes and just walk on and raise your daughters not to marry abusive men.

      • Got that right. I thought women had liberated themselves from needing the protection of males. Unless she was a child or a frail 80+ year old, she is entitled to “self-actualize her own life.” Or some such BS.

  3. On the face of it, RF’s position is hard to argue with, when the cops show up, let *them* deal with the messy nature of a domestic dispute.

    The trouble is, it can take the police forever to show up. Police budgets are being cut, beat cops are overworked with huge stacks of calls the moment they sign onto shift and many cities continue to fund wacky priorities instead of bolstering their basic patrol units.

    Story: I live in downtown Portland. Behind our building is an elevated freeway viaduct. Homeless folks are drawn to camping under it to keep out of the rain (see Portland above). 95% of the guys living under there are quiet, clean and generally not looking to bother anybody. Occasionally though, some totally crazy, drunk and/or high transient takes up residence and starts bothering people. This also happens to be the path I walk my dog to get to the nice big patch of grass and ivy on the other side of the viaduct. I’ve called 911 multiple times.

    Event: Woman arguing with her partner, physically intimidating him and occasionally picking up a pipe and threatening him with it. Police response: 22 minutes.

    Event: Man swearing at people and making death threats. Initial call was categorized as Priority 4 (with a target response time of 30 minutes). While waiting, he started throwing bottles at people. Called 911 back and informed them, still took 10 minutes for cars to arrive.

    Event: People literally cooking meth in a multiple bike-trailer makeshift camp, right on the sidewalk. Police response? None.

    The problem is, unless the situation is absolutely violent – and one would argue perhaps even on the cusp of justifying lethal force on the part of an armed citizen – 911 dispatch and police policy make most calls a low priority. Situations that the police could avert at an earlier stage turn into worse situations because of their unwillingness to respond promptly before things get out of hand.

    You are even dammed if the situation is violent enough. If someone is actively breaking into your home, it may be 2-3 minutes before the first radio car arrives at the scene. You will still be waiting though, because that first officer is going to be sitting on his union butt until not just one or two other officers show up… he is waiting for an entry squad of 4 cops to be on scene before they do anything. On the scanner, I’ve heard it take 15 minutes before cops actually make entry into a house where there is reasonable suspicion to believe someone (bad) is inside and the occupants are calling.

    • Some time ago when I had just completed field training, I was given a heartfelt and well-intentioned warning by a supervisor that if I ever made entry by myself again, he would kick me in the balls. This was after I went into an apartment to check on a stabbing victim.

      Of course, more recently we’ve been told in training that on active shooter calls, we go in alone unless there’s someone arriving with us, since there’s no time to wait. Situation and mission dependent, I guess. The delay is frustrating for us too, but you can’t help anyone if you’re dead, just like you can’t help anyone if you crash on the way to the call and never actually get there.

      There are times when I’ll still risk the kick in the balls, though.

      • On an individual level, I’m sure most officers would love nothing more than to bust down the door and bag them some bad guy (with cuffs or a firearm). Hell, isn’t that scenario the very one that drives most people to become police officers?

        But most law enforcement leadership is about keeping individual officers on a short leash. Liability. Officer safety. Unions who care only about serving their membership and not the public at large. The abundance of caution shown by law enforcement (for whatever reason, justified or not) is totally at odds with the notion that citizens should absolutely be dependent on LE for their personal safety.

        I would argue that, as police budgets tighten up further while at the same time, having budget priorities diverted to whatever hobbies horses the politicians cook up, we are bumping up against the rubicon where citizens in the community may feel the need to step up and intervene in non-lethal-force situations.

        If you see your neighbors in a domestic dispute, and you call 911 reporting nothing but a verbal argument, the likelihood that the police are going to show up in a timely manner is very low. While they aren’t responding, that dispute turns physical, so you call 911 again and – while the call priority has elevated – the response time is still likely a lot longer than the short amount of time it takes for one party to beat the tar out of the other.

        In the end, absolute reliance on law enforcement to serve every social ill is a fallacy. You’ll never have enough cops on patrol to deal with all the problems society expects you to STFU and dial 911 to deal with. It is a system that is overtaxed, right at the same time that society has deemed that anything out of the ordinary be handled by it.

      • Note to Hasdrubal: If I’m being stabbed and you’re being paid to “Protect and Serve” me, please make entry alone. If nothing else it’ll distract the guy who’s stabbing me, and if you get hurt or killed they’ll train one of the many applicants awaiting “the call” to replace you. It’s what you signed up for. If you’re not happy with those terms, they’re probably hiring at WalMart.

    • The reason for the slow responses: cops (i.e. Mayors, Legislators) don’t give a rat’s ass about homeless people. Where I live they constantly harass and abuse them.

  4. This is exactly the kind of dumbshit thing that gives fuel to the antis. Question- if our “hero” here was not packing heat, would he still have intervened, or would he have minded his own damn business and kept walking (maybe calling the cops if things looked dicey)?

    A CCW does not make you a deputy sheriff or constable or anything like that. If you carry a gun, you do it for your own protection or for the protection of your loved ones. It does not make you anything more than you were without it and you should conduct yourself the same way you would if you were not armed. This is the sort of shit that got Zimmerman in trouble and I suspect our friend here is going to be facing some charges that will at the very least ensure he no longer has the right to own a gun.

    • Calling cops would have been better, but still a horrible option. Cops look at this kind of situation as an opportunity to arrest someone, anyone, perp and/or victim. They’ll come charging in and instead of de-escalating, they invariably escalate the situation because it helps lead to arrests.

      Source: “Arrest-Proof Yourself” by Dale Carson

    • You know, people keep saying that the gun is what got Zimmerman in trouble, but he was in the neighborhood watch before he got the gun. He was worried about the break ins and other crime in his neighborhood before he got the gun. So who’s to say he wouldn’t have noticed and followed Martin and done things just the same way if he didn’t have the gun?

  5. It’s a sad world that encourages us to be selfish, caring only about what happens immediately to us. As things in this story stand, it looks to me that the man in the relationship is violent. That means the woman was in some danger, and the dog walker was trying to help what appeared to be an innocent person.

    I’m not advocating for strapping on a cape and tights when we go out with our handguns, but let’s do a little imagining. What if the dog walker later read a story about a woman who got beaten to death in a car and realized that he had seen the incident starting?

  6. A similar incident happened to me many years ago.
    As there were no CCP’s then I was not armed.

    As I was walking toward a supermarket from my car I saw a large man arguing with a much smaller woman. They were screaming at one another. He then slapped her, knocking her to the sidewalk.
    I was still several yards from them, so I yelled ” Hey buddy take it easy”.
    The man looked in my direction but said nothing.
    The woman got to her feet, looked at me, wiped the blood coming from her nose and mouth across her face with the back of her hand and screamed, ” Mind your own fucking business”.
    I went into the supermarket.
    I have not experienced an incident as described above since, so I don’t know what I would do today. I think I would probably behave in the same manner. I don’t believe I could ignore anyone who could possibly be in danger, whether certain or not. I believe I would at least have to find out.

    The problem with the above story is that it is too vague. What actually caused the man to interviene? What words were exchanged between the two (2) men? The men and the woman? What did the man see before he interviened? Without this information I can’t say for certain that this man acted irresponsibly.

    Several years ago a man armed only with a knife stabbed a woman multiple times on a New York City street, killing her , as dozens of people watch. No one interviened.
    I don’t know if anyone called the cops.
    I’m resonably sure they were all good observers.
    I’m resonably sure the killer could have been overpowered before killing the woman, had even a small part of the crowd interviened on her behalf.
    I know that no one made any attempt to help this woman.
    I know that as a direct result of their lack of concern this woman died.
    I know these people acted irresponsibly.

    • I agree Ron, we don’t know what led up to the dog walker to ask if the woman needed help; did the man push or strike the woman? The man was obviously violent or he wouldn’t have started assaulting the dog walker for asking if the woman needed help.

      Until all the facts are, to say the man was an IGOTD is to me , very irresponsible, if it turns out the man was justified in defending himself and the woman, then all of you should get a statue for irresponsibly giving an unearned statue.

      An IGOAIGOTD? An irresponsible giving of a IGOTD.

      • If by several years ago you mean 50 years ago, then yes.

        I don’t know that the timing makes a difference, but just in the interest of truth, I thought that was worth clarifying.

  7. Would never do that because you know a woman dumb enough to stay with an abusive a hole would be dumb enough to testify for said abusove a hole in court.

    • Erin Prizzy is the woman who started London’s domestic violence shelters for women and children. She eventually wrote a book about how she observed that some of the most battered women were serial seekers of abuse. They put themselves intentionally into those relationships with bad men and then went out of their way to push their hot buttons causing more dv. One of the more incredible parts to this story is that the British Government which is very pro radical-feminist anti-male ‘banned’ her book! I just looked and there is not an entry for her in wikipedia.

      http://www.erinpizzey.com/

  8. “asked the female if she needed help”

    Well why didn’t Mr. Nosey the dog-walker instead ask the man if he needed help? Seems like another clear-cut case of sexist behavior to me.

  9. How about once, just once on this website, we give the gun owner the benefit of the doubt.

    The man is walking his dog and hears a violent argument and is afraid the woman is going to be hurt. Can we assume he’s not a moron and can tell that things are about to get really bad? No, that’s not the TTAG way where every gun use includes being stupid.

    Can we surmise that the man was so correct in his assessment that a simple question, “is everything okay?” resulted in him being attacked instead, as evidenced by the injuries to his face? No, we have to create motives and sequences of events out of thin air.

    This website is just too much. Will there ever be a use of a gun that Farago and crew will think was reasonable and justified and free of snarky criticism about words uttered, failure to cringe or whatever else?

      • But almost always with snarky comments saying they should “STFU” or should have retreated or did something else that the person actually in the sutuation as it developed decided against.

        I wish the support were more in favor of the guy who had to be the one making the decision to act. They’re not always right or wise, but the default here is to be critical of any gun use.

  10. I disagree that you should always mind your own business. Are you saying it’s not our responsibility to protect the weak? I don’t buy what you are selling. If we don’t
    look out for each other, we are doomed.

    • No matter what dog walker does, abused woman will always be someone’s punching bag. The only thing dog walker (Utah Ranger?) managed to do was create a whole new set of problems for himself. If you’re intent on intervening in other peoples’ problems I think you should leave your arms at home, that way things don’t escalate. Bring some pepper spray, or learn to fight, or maybe just mind your own business…

      • What a load of horse _____. Yes, there are some women who gravitate towards abusive men, but that is not always the case. And it still doesn’t matter. This is like saying, “she wanted to be raped.”

        I can’t believe the callous remarks I’m seeing here. With such men, no wonder we have re-elected communists to power.

        • Yes, Ralph, I do.

          And I’m embarrassed when people are so craven as to not even do the talk. How are we as a culture to expect men to do the walk if we make excuses for being cowards, by calling it minding your business?

  11. It’s a matter of protecting the innocent arou d you… Robert has a daughter to protect and that is his first priority wherever he goes… This man may have not had that priority in his life, saw a woman who looked to be in trouble and intervened… I have two daughters and know in life I won’t always be there to protect them…. Hopefully if they ever get into trouble like this woman MAY have been there is someone who is kind enough to help them… Like someone said above, we need to look out for each other or we are in serious trouble

  12. I carry to protect me and mine. Other people should carry to protect themselves and theirs.

    I’m a firearms instructor. I try to spread “the word” wherever and whenever I can. I’ve opened the eyes of many and enabled many people to join our fraternity. As for those who choose to be defenseless, I’ll leave them to their own devices because I wholeheartedly support their choice to remain passive and unarmed if that’s what they want to do.

    Of course, I will call the cops for them when they get into trouble. I do consider that my responsibility as a “good citizen.” And I’ll be a good witness, too. But if the cops don’t arrive on time, well that’s just too damn bad. In this life, you pay for your mistakes.

  13. If you are a dog walker, walk the dog damn it. Think that is the first time or last boyfriend is going to abusive? Walk away and nobody who doesn’t want to get hurt will get hurt.

    If my pet sitter/dog walker put my pooch at risk, trying to save a damsel in distress I would pitch a fit bordering on assault.

    In DV cases there are no victims, only volunteers when we are talking about adults.

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