"Crippled" is one of those nasty, absolute words that don't generally leave a whole lot of wiggle room. The point at which your "good days" are the ones where you can use a cane instead of a motorized wheelchair is the point at which most men give up their dreams of being Batman. As a general rule, the ability to stand is a precursor to "kicking ass."
Hobbies include jigsaw puzzles and rage.
That's how most people think. And it's also what three would-be robbers felt on the day they tried to snatch a crippled 88-year-old retiree's safe. Biagio Sciscione was minding his own business, thinking about erections past, when a woman from the local church knocked on his door with some questions. While the kindly old man listened to her prattling, two men sneaked inside his house and lifted the safe. They were out the door and almost to their Lexus SUV when Scisione noticed them.
So here's the match-up:
Three young, fit robbers within feet of a running car.
One 88-year-old man unable to walk under his own power.
Common sense tells us there's only one way that all shakes out. But common sense has never told Sciscione a single thing in his entire life. Veins bulging with adrenaline and Viagra, the retired butcher and WWII vet tossed his cane away and ran to intercept the thugs. He gave the first man "a couple of socks" and wrestled with a female assailant. The burglars, confronted by this raging typhoon of geriatric justice, fled.
Ah, a Carnival Cruise. The perfect way for upper-middle-class retirees to get away from it all and drink heavily without the threat of social ostracism. While vacations to South and Central America have their dangers, passengers who pay big bucks for a tour usually get to side-step the poverty-fuelled property crime and raging drug wars.
Next stop, Detroit!
That wasn't the case for a group of 12 American tourists who took a run off the beaten path and hired a guide to take them through the Costa Rican countryside. They were on their way out of the van to check out a beach when three masked bad guys rushed them and started waving weapons around.
One fifty-two year-old woman thought the armed robbery was "a skit" until one of the men jammed a gun in her face. At that point, a mystery Carnival Cruise passenger -- aged 70 -- leaped out of the van like a member of the freaking A-Team and charged the gunman.
When we picture it, there was an explosion.
The mystery senior, who was reportedly a U.S. vet who was "specifically trained in self-defense" grabbed the 20-year-old gunman by the head and executed a move familiar to anyone who watched an action movie released during the 1990s.
The gunman dropped with a broken clavicle, and eventually died of asphyxiation. His two accomplices fled the scene. The whole tour group elected to continue their visit to Costa Rica. Because they'll be DAMNED if something as minor as being jumped by and killing some dangerous assailants is going to get in the way of their hunt for really inexpensive homemade crafts.
We don't want to take anything away from the acts of elderly badassery on this list. We hope that we're as spry when we're that age, but know that we won't be because we're not that spry now.
But that said, none of these people hold a candle to Samuel Whittlemore.
We're going back a ways -- he was born in England in 1695. He started his military career as a British soldier in one of the innumerable wars France and England fought to determine which nation's accent would go on to grace every villain in American movie history. In 1745, the 50-year-old Sam helped to capture the French Fort Louisburg. He walked away with the sword of an enemy officer who, Samuel claimed, had "died suddenly." In 1758, France and England went to war again (it was a bit of a habit) and the 64-year-old farmer was forced to capture the French fort a second time.
"Ok, but make it quick. I have mountains to punch."
He fought next in the Indian Wars and -- at the age of 69 -- won himself a nice set of dueling pistols whose owner had, again, "died suddenly." The Revolutionary War broke out when Whittlemore was 81 and, finally yielding to his advancing years, the old soldier left the fight up to the capable hands of younger men.
For about ten seconds. When the fighting at Lexington and Concord resulted in two columns of British soldiers burning homes and farms along their avenue of retreat, Minuteman Whittlemore was moved to action. He joined up with another group of Colonial insurgents, but rejected their guerrilla tactics in favor of a more direct approach: standing in the path of a redcoat advance.
Like this, except he would have melted the tanks.
Sam waited until point-blank range to fire his musket and pistols, bringing three men down and charging the rest of the column with his sword in hand. The British soldiers fired, and one managed to hit Sam in the face. He went down just long enough to be surrounded and bayoneted 13 times.
Via Revolutionary War Archives
"It's only a flesh wound!"
A bullet to the face and thirteen knife wounds would be enough to stop even the hardiest of rappers. But Sam survived. When his allies found him, he was still conscious and trying to load his musket. The field doctors thought Sam was done for. But he ended up pulling through the night ... and the next eighteen years. Whittlemore didn't die until 1793 -- at the age of 98. Or 897 in 1793 years.
For more unexpected ass-kickers, check out 5 Shockingly Powerful Kids Who Make You Look Like a Coward and 6 Formerly Kickass Creatures Ruined by Evolution.