Yesterday's story about real-life super-villains left a bad taste in our mouth. Surely those flamboyantly evil criminals have counterparts on the right side of the law: Men of great courage and strength of conviction willing to plunge alone into the criminal underworld, handing out justice like some kind of a man-shaped justice dispenser.
Instead we learned the world is chock full of lunatics who think they're that guy. Men who consider a COPS marathon intensive law enforcement training and are always ready to take to the streets with whatever weapons they found in their garage. They may not make us feel any safer, but they certainly restore our faith in crazy.
#6. Jonathan "Jack" Idema
Is the name familiar? If not, it damn well should be. It takes quite a set of plums to do the things Jack Idema has done.
Army Special Forces? Check. Formed his own counter-terrorism training company? Check. Secretly invaded Afghanistan under the guise of humanitarian aid, but with the actual (and completed) purpose of capturing suspected terrorists? Fuckin' check, buddy.
Okay, so we've established that Mr. Idema is kind of a badass. We forgot to mention that he's also pants-crapping crazy.
Roughly 98% of the things Jack has done have either been: a) colossal fuck-ups, or b) total bullshit. He invaded Afghanistan and captured a dude, sure. We'll give him that one. But when he presented the prisoner to US forces, they released the frightened (presumably bearded) man a week later. So we're thinking the evidence against the guy wasn't all that strong.
Captured. Tortured. Probably Bearded.
Idema became so entrenched in his own bullshit that he was finally jailed for entering the country illegally, running a private prison, and torturing his inmates. Oh, did we not mention the prison thing? Sorry, but the guy's got a long damn list to go through.
The thing that really sets Jack Idema apart from his contemporaries is this: in April of last year, Idema was released from prison with amnesty. In true form, Jack did what we'd like to think Batman would do (if Batman were in the habit of shitting his suit out of sheer craziness): Idema flat-out refused to leave his horrible Afghani prison cell.
#5. The Lavender Panthers
There was a time in this country when harassing a gay man would not result in criminal charges, or at least not serious ones. At that time homosexuals had even less legal protection than blacks (and we know how much help they were getting) so verbally abusing or even physically assaulting a gay man was considered a minor offense. But in one city, that offense meant you were about to get the shit kicked out of you by a gang of gay vigilantes.
They were The Lavender Panthers, formed in the '70s in San Francisco as the direct result of pervasive gay bashing across the country. The Reverend Ray Broshears, (who, as an openly gay Pentecostal Evangelist preacher has to be the man with the least probable job in fucking history) formed the group after getting his own ass kicked for being gay and in public.
The group was renowned for its ability to appear out of nowhere (or a large van), and promptly begin flailing ass on anyone who represented a threat to individuals, or the community at large. They also had a form of immunity. After all, if you're uncomfortable enough with your masculinity to go around harassing random gay men on the street, you're probably going to be unwilling to admit to the police that you just got your ass rolled on by The Lavender Panthers.
Interestingly, this all-gay group actually only has the second-gayest name on our list ...
#4. The Bald Knobbers
Aside from their unfortunate name, Missouri's Bald Knobbers were probably not lighthearted enough to laugh at the fact that they just won Cracked's coveted Gayest Vigilante Group Name award.
They were originally founded by a mustachioed man-mountain named Nathaniel Kinney to counteract the wildness of the Old West, a job left laughably unfinished by Will Smith. But then they inevitably realized that if they were the only ones administering justice, they could pretty much administer it in whatever way they chose. Namely, killing the shit out of everything.
The mustache does not hide his secret smile. It hides another, angrier mustache.
Eventually, enough hell was raised that people began to speak out against the Bald Knobbers. An anti-Bald Knobber movement set about ridding the countryside of their phallus-named tormentors, and actually carried out the planned assassination of Mr. Pouty Mustache up there.
The assassin himself walked away from the trial, acquitted for the murder by reason of self-defense. That's right, a planned assassination was deemed "self-defense" meaning the law's official stance at the time was that the Bald Knobbers would have eventually killed everyone in the world.
In New York City, there is a group of intrepid heroes who stalk the night in search of injustice. They are dedicated to eradicating crime on Gotham's lonely streets. They are...
...not the Justice League. They're not superheroes. They're probably not even that good at intimidating criminals. Well, unless the street tough in question is terrified of being unable to pronounce the name of the guy whose ass he's kicking. In that case, he'll probably think twice about stepping to the likes of Yossi and Avraim.
You see, Shmira, a 100-person vigilante group based in NYC, is comprised entirely of Jews. As of press time, neither the Hebrew Hammer nor the Zohan could be reached for comment, leading the Cracked research team to believe that both are stupid exploitative fictional caricatures and not real people.
So what could possibly go wrong when a group composed entirely of members of a single religion or ethnicity decide to take vengeance on bad guys? Meet Andrew Charles, a young black man who took an unwarranted beating at the hands of the Shmira. That caused people to start to murmur all sorts of crazy things about "racism" and "gang violence" and "Adam Sandler used to be a lot funnier."
You could say that the Shmira didn't quite help the cause of Jewish folks in that particular neighborhood. Add in the fact that Charles was the son of an NYPD sergeant, and that after the beating the Shmira were presumably the only people who would protect those Jews, and you could say they achieved the exact opposite of what they set out to accomplish. Unless their secret goal was to teach everyone an important lesson about the value of the whole "due process" thing.
#2. The San Juna Ixtayopan Lynch Mob
To us English-speakers here at Cracked, loco means "crazy". It's something corny white guys say while they're putting on a bad Mexican accent and ordering "gwackamowlee."
Whatever it means to us, "loco" has its subtle cultural nuances. For instance, in the Mexican community of San Juan Ixtayopan, it means "flip over a Ford Focus, drag out the suspected child-stalkers inside, and burn them alive." Which, not coincidentally, is exactly what a group of vigilantes did.
The only real problem, as we see it, is that the perverts they burnt to a crisp were in fact Mexican Federal Agents. Whoops.
Mexico is not the most pleasant place to live, apparently. The residents of San Juan Unpronounceable grew weary of the violence and baby raping and decided to take matters into their own hands. It's just that, even if the men were actually evil perverts, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire is not precisely "justice" in any language.
#1. The Sombra Negra
Sombra Negra means "black shadow" in Spanish, proving that even the coolest vigilante names in the world can still be painfully redundant (nobody wants to be confused with the magenta shadows, after all). So what did these guys do to earn the top spot on our list? Oh, just target one of the most powerful criminal enterprises in the fucking world.
The mob, you might suggest? No, not the Italians. Once you've been around long enough to be on the Simpsons, you're really not that dangerous anymore. No, kids, the particular enterprise Sombra Negra targets is none other than El Salvador's own Mara Salvatrucha, otherwise known as MS13.
MS13, for those Cracked readers not in the know, are fucking scary criminals. They've taken over border towns all along the Rio Grande, and have overrun Laredo, TX so thoroughly that not even Texas' own Rangers will go there. In other words El Salvador's Black Shadow is the only group in the world with big enough balls to take them on.
Unlike the rest of the vigilantes on this list, not much is known about Sombra Negra other than they're a group of police and military personnel who like to execute their blindfolded targets with pistols. In 1995 it was claimed the group had executed 17 people.
Why hasn't the score been updated in the 13 years since? It's because in some ways we know even less about Sombra Negra than we do about MS13 itself, which is really saying something. If you're more underground than the underground criminal enterprise you're stalking, you sir are one bad motherfucker. Black Shadow, we formally apologize for making fun of your name.
Learn to do your part in fighting evil with our practical guide How to Punch Oasis in the Face. Or, for people who had the powers, if not the insanity and desire, check out 7 People From Around the World With Real Mutant Superpowers. Or for people whose parents at least had the right idea, check out The 9 Manliest Names in the World.