Was it a “good, safe, practical, neighborly” thing to do?

Nope. Was it the right thing to do? Yup. Physical abuse is never OK. I don’t care how bad a time he’s having. Should he tolerate being cussed at by his son? No. Are there other ways to deal with it? Yes. Does his son need to know that a line needs to be drawn on personal conduct, both for his own behavior and his dad’s? Yes. Did you make an enemy of your neighbor? Probably. Tough call. But consider this – if you had done nothing, would the situation be better now because of your non-intervention? We can’t wind back the clock and un-do or re-do our actions. But I’ll bet you would regret not having stepped in if you’d heard that boy being whipped. And maybe, just maybe, the dad will think twice before resorting to physical violence in the future to resolve his problems. We all have to live within boundaries. Putting your neighbor on notice that he was about to cross one, is OK in my book. But a call to the sheriff might be in order, simply to get this one on the record and create a paper trail in case of, ahem, future incidents.