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Good Samaritans be careful

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I love good Samaritan stories. They offer me a rare chance to do a positive, uplifting story on a beat that can otherwise be a downer.  I interviewed some tree trimmers from Owasso this week who were on a job in South Tulsa, when they saw three teenage boys carrying a stolen TV and computer out of a home. The tree trimmers confronted the thieves, who took off running (even left behind their getaway car). After giving police a description, they drove around looking for the crooks and actually spotted them again and directed police right to them.

I interviewed a guy two weeks ago who attacked and fought with a dangerous armed robber inside a grocery store, after the bad guy fired a shot at a customer, then his gun jammed. He got the best of the guy and held him for police.

I did a story on a young couple at Riverside Drive once who heard a young woman being attacked and they ran to her aid, instead of pretending they didn't hear her screams.

I love good Samaritan stories. But, they also make me nervous. We, especially in Oklahoma, have a tendency to help people in need. But, we do so without much thought for our own safety. I'm a big believer, we can do both.

I want us to be kind, helpful, good people. But, I want us to do it while thinking safety first and we hardly ever do.

I did a story once on a college kid who offered to give a young couple a ride, because they looked like they had car trouble and it was raining really hard. He was only going to drive them to a nearby mechanic shop, when the young man reached up from the backseat and strangled the college kid, made him pull over and beat him so severely; the injuries changed his life and future.

I interviewed a woman who had a harmless teenage boy ask her for a ride home in a Walgreens parking lot. He seemed so polite and vulnerable, she said yes, but, half-way there, he pulled out a knife and slashed her face and throat. She survived, but, the scars on her face are will be there forever.

My advice to people is go ahead and help, after you figure out how to do it without putting yourself in harm's way. If you see a couple having car trouble in the rain, call a wrecker for them or police. If a person asks you for a ride, you can call a cab for them or give them bus money or you may just have to say no.

If you see someone being attacked, call 911 or honk your horn to let them know you're watching.

Serial killer Ted Bundy always needed help from people. He would wear an arm brace or use crutches and that's how he grabbed victim after victim.

Even though the world has changed because of the criminals, we don't have to stop being kind-hearted souls, but, I firmly believe we need to change how we go about it.

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