Whatever Happened to the Dumpster Defenders

In 2018, the internet was awash by the Dumpster Defenders. The video portrayed three men arguing in an alley while the wife of one of the men shot a video on her phone. The Dumpster defenders were a father-and-son pair who chose to shirtless defend a dumpster in an alley. The video shot on the cell phone shows John Miller and Michael Miller involved in a heated confrontation with a neighbor named Aaron Howard. A friend of Aaron was also present. 

The dumpster defenders are armed. The father is carrying a small handgun, and the son is carrying what appears to be a TAC-14 firearm. The impetus for the confrontation was the fact Howard had dumped a mattress in a dumpster in a shared alley. The dumpster was apparently shared, and there were some issues with dumping large goods. Enough that the men had apparently exchanged words before. 

The video evolved into memedom. It’s easy to see why. The situation is absurd. Who fights over a dumpster and a mattress? Plus, the Millers were shirtless, obese, and both had a cocky attitude about them. Additionally, Aaron Howard was yelling and screaming at two armed men somewhat fearlessly. The indecent ended in the death of Aaron Howard and both Millers being charged with murder. 

Initially, the men were bailed out at 25,000 dollars each, but a judge reviewed the bond and retracted it. They were taken back into custody, and a new bond of 250,000 was issued. The men were then bonded and retained attornies. The entire incident occurred in 2018, but the trial only concluded in 2023. 

The jury found Michael Miller, the son, not guilty. However, the same jury found Johnnie Miller guilty of murder and received 14 years in prison. Both men were offered plea deals for 25 years, and neither accepted. That seemed to be one of the few intelligent moves the two men made. The Dumpster Defender saga is seemingly over. 

A Cacophony of Idiots 

The entire dumpster defender saga is stupid, idiotic, and downright sad. As fun as the memes can be, the fact is that a man died over a dumpster dispute. A man with a wife and a child is now dead, over a mattress and a dumpster. I’m not a legal expert, but I have a forum and an opinion to spout my own special nonsense. 

I think everyone involved was making mistakes and ultimately acted irresponsibly and idioticly. According to the Millers, this had been a long-standing dispute between neighbors. Over a period of several days, the two parties tossed an old mattress back and forth into a dumpster. According to the Millers, Howard had threatened the men over and over. This was their reasoning for bringing guns to the final confrontation. 

The first mistake all parties made was allowing an argument over a dumpster to be so vitriolic. If a neighbor had threatened me, I would take steps to avoid that person. If whatever dispute they had over the mattress and dumpster was that serious, it seems like a greater authority could be involved. 

The Millers were absolutely out of line, leaving their home with firearms to defend the sanctity of a dumpster. At the same time, the logical thing for Howard and his wife to do is call the police and retreat indoors. It wasn’t logical to respond to firearms with a baseball bat. The entire situation would be easily resolved in so many different ways. 

It’s ultimately sad, but it’s also over. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.