T Nation

How to Handle a Violent Drunk?


My husband decided to help a troubled guy in town. He gave him a place to live and he has been doing work around our house. The aggreement is that he was to remain sober. Yesterday he showed up twice at our house drunk begging for money. We have 4 children and can not put up with this. So my hubby told him he was no longer allowed around our house and that he had to remove his things within one week from our cabin.

Today one of our tenants called and said he came to her apartment drunk and swearing and saying things about my husband and me.

She called again about half hour later. The guy is currently drunk and playing with a chain saw (he is a logger). He told her son he is going to put a bullet through my husband's head and burn our house down. My husband is on travel and me and the children are pretty upset. I just talked to the police and they are going to look for him and come up with a peaceful solution.

I am not sure how that is going to happen. Why would they not arrest him. I am going to up all night worrying.

Any police officers on-line? Can you arrest someone for just threatening someone? Why would the police leave a woman and 4 kids alone when there is someone threatening to burn the house down. Maybe I am expecting too much from the police but we are a small town with very little crime.


Do you have a gun?
Believe me, the best defense is a good offense.


Ill try to help. I am a police officer and have handled many situations similar to yours. Ive also had a lot of experience with angry drunks.

In every state that I know of, it is certainly a crime to threaten another's life. Generally, there are two categories of this crime...harassment and terroristic threats or aggravated harassment. Most likely, what this nut did is aggravated harassment/terroristic threats. Generally, that requires a serious threat to death or catastrophic injury to another person.

Here is the problem. Prosecuting these crimes is very difficult. First of all, proof is usually the major issue. As most of these incidents take place during unrecorded conversations, it becomes one person's word against another. The police cannot deprive someone of their liberty in the absence of probable cause.

Second, at least in my experience, prosecutors are not real keen on going after verbal threats and harassment cases. I'm not quite sure why. I suspect it is often the case that you have someone like your drunk friend who says all kind of things while intoxicated and no one takes him serious.

If this helps, Ill tell you what we would do in my jurisdiction. We would find this guy and speak with him. If there was any indication that he was a danger to himself or the public, we would try to get him evaluated for a psyche commitment. We would also question him about the threats he made.

If he denies making these threats, there is not too much we can do unless you have them recorded somewhere(like a voicemail). If he admits to making them and stands by his claim that he will burn your house down and kill you, then we could probably proceed to charge him.

Unfortunately, other than that, you have to take a certain amount of responsibility for your safety. I dont mean this to sound harsh, but the police cannot protect you in a total sense. We(the police) are bound by both the restrictions our government puts on us as well as the simple reality that we cant be everywhere or protect any one specific person in society.

Hindsight being what it is, getting involved with this guy was a huge mistake and it is certainly high time to cut ties. Also, be extra vigilant and take whatever measures you can to increase your personal safety. Seriously consider a firearm if you dont own one already.

Ill be happy to try and answer any other questions you may have.


We have a shot gun but my husband stores it outside the house because of the children. I do not know how to shoot it. But I think it is time I learn. I am use to feeling safe. I don't lock the doors, I leave my car keys and pocketbook in my car.


I'm no cop, but there's a crime in there somewhere. Most likely terroristic threats, public drunkeness, etc.

Make sure the cops are around to protect you. Get a restraining order- if he has any guns, they'll take them from him.


Thanks for your input. I am not sure if the police have found him yet but they did not talk to the kid that told me about his threats. The boy's mom just called and ask why the police did not stop to talk to them. She is concerned that Scott (the drunk) will go after them for telling the police. She has seen him angry and is afraid of him.


My husband plans on getting the restraining order on Wednesday. He gets home late tomorrow night. Scott was hanging out at the town store earlier today. I am going to go there tomorrow to see if anyone else heard him threaten us.


Isn't it nice when helping others pays off?

That sounds like a shitty deal you've got, stay safe.


This bouncer can teach you some shit.


Thanks! No good deed goes unpunished. I talked to my husband and told him no more charity cases.

The policeman finally talk to him and he was apologetic. He promised to stay away. He was told if he goes near our house he will go to jail. He has one week to move out of cabin or we can have him arrested. There was no lease so we do not have to evict him.

It makes me angry that someone you try to help turns into such an asshole. He asked the 19 year old kid that has been working for us to steal some of his mother's alcohol. He is such a loser.

The police are going to check on my house a couple times tonight.


I wouldnt worry about it you look like you could kick some ass


What town do you live in?


Sounds like things are looking up. I used to be a Deputy here in TX and if it be God's plan I'll be a prosecuting attorney in a few months.

Based on the facts you said what he said to the neighbor would probably not meet the elements of a terroristic threat but might be grounds for a criminal trespass warning from the police and maybe a protective or restraining order from the police. It's good that the police have been involved and have talked to him.

The key here is documentation. Try to get a police report and service number each time should you have to deal with this guy again. If nothing else keep your own journal of any problems, or threats he gives you. Unfortunately no matter how much grief he gives you the police are bound by a number of limitations and if it gets to court they'll probably treat it like it's a first offense.

While not the case here these types of cases are often a dispute between multiple unreasonable parties so police, prosecutors can be hesitant to pursue them.

I'm not a huge fan of OC or pepper gas/mace but it might get his attention. I think everyone should carry a gun.

Guys like this, while they never seem to straighten out, often have really short spans of attention. Hopefully soon he'll find a new Samaritan to mooch of us or new target for his drunken rage soon.

Good luck.


What is OC?

I am not to worried about the police thinking we are unreasonable because we are good friends with the police chief and well known in town. My husband will talk to the chief when he gets back. He was not working last night and I did not want to bother him at home. But if I hear him threaten us again, I will call his home number.

My son has a cross country meet this afternoon and the chief's secretary will be there. I find out what she has heard. Her daughter runs cross country with my son. One good thing about a small town is you know everyone.


It is shitty. The guy is probably mentally ill and combined with his alcoholism he seems to be a dangerous man.

Unfortunately there is almost no way to help these people directly. I think it is best to try to do it through volunteer work and donations to the various homeless shelters etc.

You must keep your family safe. Do not let thse people near your house or your family.

Best of luck to you. I hope some people can learn from your mistake and I hope you stay safe.


You seem to be doing the right and legal things to protect yourself and your family. It is a terrible thing to feel unsafe in your own home, but the more people who are aware of this situation, the better. No one wants a violent drunk with a chainsaw in their community. Stupid drunks leave a wide, dirty trail, so he will be caught soon. In the meantime, go to your local gun club and learn to shoot. I'm sure your children are educated about safe gun use, living in a rural community where many people hunt. Have a small .22 rifle handy and knowing implicitly how to use it wouldn't hurt either. My thoughts are with you. Take care.


Don't shoot someone unless your life is in danger. Know what that means in your state. You may have a "duty to retreat".

A gun should only be used to save your life or that of someone else from being killed. Don't ever threaten someone with a gun. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to pull it and not before. Learn how to use it before you have to depend on it to save your life.

Finally all things being considered a gun is your last line of defense after other alternatives have been tried. Better to retreat then to kill if possible. Less loss of life and a lot less hassle. If you have to use the gun, know the rules.


Great post. Very true. Of course if all other options are spent and it is time to shoot you must be mentally prepared to pull the trigger and take a life.

Not quite so easy I would imagine.


You said you have a shotgun but are not sure how to use it, well thats ok. I know if someone points a shotty at me I shit myself nd remember also a shotty makes a pretty good club If need be.
But I realy dont think you will have alot of trouble with this guy, but If push comes to shove you have every right to defend yourself by any means necessary (especially when you have your kids to think of)


Is this for real?

Your husband brings an alcoholic vagrant around his wife and FOUR CHILDREN and then leaves town?!?!?

It's time for him to wake up. You dont solve a persons problem w/ a quick soloution like that. He didnt get in trouble overnight, he wont get out that way

You should never ever give someone like that access to your children, there's no telling what kind of issues this guy is dealing with.

Protect yourself and your kids, then smack hubby upside the head!