9 Acts of Vigilantism Straight Out of a Comic Book
Forget about the Justice League or the X-Men: If the awesome people in this article joined together into a supergroup, they could kick more ass than every comic book superhero team combined -- mostly because these guys have the advantage of actually existing.
If Judge Dredd Was Real (and an Actual Judge)
Paul Reid was standing in a British court, charged with sexual assault, when he noticed that his cuffs were a little loose. Instead of complaining to the guard and demanding a new pair, Reid sat patiently and waited for his chance to escape.
Guys like that give sex offenders a bad name.
As soon as people started leaving at the end of the hearing, the now-convicted offender ditched his handcuffs, jumped onto the clerk's bench and ran toward the judge's door. What he expected to find on the other side was freedom. What he got was the most epic and unexpected beat-down ever.
The one on the left leads to freedom; the other leads to a special judge toilet.
What Happened Next:
Most judges watching this exact same scenario would probably figure, "eh, we're in a court house -- someone's gonna catch him eventually," and go back to the secret crossword puzzle they all keep under the stand. Not Douglas Moore, the one presiding over this case. Choosing to administer justice personally, Judge Moore leaped down from his seat and grabbed the fleeing criminal by the throat.
Presumably while shouting "I AM THE LAW!"
Intent on escaping (and pissing himself at least a little), the 34-year-old criminal pushed the 60-year-old judge out of the way and ran down a hallway. Moore wouldn't have it: Undeterred, he got up, chased after the sprinting criminal and rugby-tackled him to the floor seconds before he got away. It's like Moore momentarily forgot he wasn't living in a Judge Dredd comic, where physically subduing criminals in the most violent way possible would be part of his job description.
In England, this is a mandatory part of judge training.
And if you think there isn't a big chance Reid would have gotten very far: The guy had pulled the exact same stunt two years earlier and successfully escaped a court building. Apparently, in Britain the only way to make up for shoddy handcuffs and ineffective guards is having the most badass judges ever.
"I'm here to rugby-tackle crime."
So, to everyone who saw Stallone's Judge Dredd and thought, Hell, even a middle-aged British judge could do a better job -- turns out we were all right.
British Jeweler Turns Out to be Highlander
Two masked men barge into a jewelry store, armed with a samurai sword and an ax. What the robbers never expected is that the lone owner of the store, perhaps assuming that a situation so outrageous could only be a dream, would display such massive balls that they would be fleeing in terror less than 50 seconds later.
"Would you like these bagged, or shoved up your colon?"
What Happened Next:
As the security footage reveals, the sword-wielding robber charged into the store and raised his weapon at John Bradley, a 40-year-old jeweler in Yorkshire, England. Bradley never gave him the chance to strike at him, though: Knocking aside his own countertop, he fearlessly charged at the surprised attacker.
"Fear me, dammit! I have a sword!"
Bradley then proceeded to grab the sword with his bare hands and struggle for it, causing himself some pretty deep cuts (which he probably felt about two weeks later, when the adrenaline rush died down). The ax man tried to get involved -- but Bradley quickly shoved him aside and then finally got ahold of the sword.
Now armed, Bradley stabbed at the robbers, quickly driving them out of the store. Luckily for them, a getaway car was waiting outside. They got away empty-handed, possibly crying and hugging each other all the way home.
It's like a scene straight out of Highlander: The Series, in which the immortal Duncan MacLeod worked as the owner of an antique store when he wasn't busy fighting people with swords. The difference is that this guy actually looks like a middle-aged shop owner, as opposed to the lead character in a cheap romance novel.
So if you're surprised that Bradley mounted such a swift and brutal defense in a situation in which most other people would have simply stood there soiling their pants, consider the fact that he was never in any real danger, being (in all likelihood) a powerful immortal from ancient Scotland.
Lady Punches Shark in the Face
Paddy Trumbell was a 60-year-old grandmother who went snorkeling in Queensland, Australia, one day and was bitten by a shark. If this were a comic book, someone like Aquaman would show up right now and save the lady with his telepathic powers or some weak sauce like that. What happened in real life is a thousand times more awesome.
What Happened Next:
Trumbell's first thought, according to the woman herself, was "This shark's not going to get the better of me." Bear in mind that we're talking about a 5-foot-long bronze whaler shark that had already taken two chunks out of her legs and buttocks before she knew it.
Our first thought in that scenario would have been something like "AAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!"
So what did the woman do? She punched the shark in the face until it went away. She later said, "The shark, we had a bit of a tug of war, and I know part of my body was ripped off at that time," but she kept punching and kicking it relentlessly until it couldn't stand the abuse and swam away. This is exactly what we imagine Aquaman being like if he didn't wear a ridiculous costume, was a complete badass and also a 60-year-old lady.
And this guy is the exact opposite of that image.
When the woman was rescued by a boat, they were horrified to see her condition -- she had lost about 40 percent of her blood and three chunks of her body. To the amazement of doctors and family, she managed to pull through and even joked about how awesome her ass would look once the surgeons got through with it.
"Thinking about my ass got me through. I mean, uh, grandchildren."
We're hoping the doctors also took the opportunity to rebuild her body with bionic enhancements, afterward sending her off to fight crime as Shark Lady.
Picture this: You're riding your bicycle down the street and you see two men on a motor-scooter speeding in your direction, having just mugged a woman. What do you do? Heck, what can you do? Short of throwing the bicycle at the robbers, there's no way you could stop a motor vehicle going at full speed, right?
"Nothing short of a curb can stop them now!"
What Happened Next:
Right, so that's exactly what this guy in China did:
The guy gets off the bike, picks it up and, without missing a beat, throws it at the unsuspecting robbers just as they're going past him ...
... causing the scooter and its passengers to crash down onto the pavement. The only thing we don't understand is why they didn't also explode at that moment.
"WTF? Where's the massive ball of fire?"
But the best thing about that video has to be the way the guy casually walks toward the robbers to retrieve his bicycle, like it ain't no thing.
"Dum de dum ... Excuse me, have you seen my bike?"
He walks with the confidence of a man who has done this before, so the logical conclusion is that he's actually Bicycle-Man, a superhero with the mutant power of hurling bikes at people. Let's just be thankful that he's chosen to use it for good.
Sprinting Grandma Freaks Out Purse-Snatcher
Jean Hirst, a 72-year-old retired teacher from Derbyshire, England (what is it with old British people?), pulled over her car to ask some teens for directions to the theater. The three girls politely offered to ride with her to make sure she got to her destination all right -- and by "all right" we mean "minus her purse."
Community service, chav-style.
What Happened Next:
Once they arrived at the theater, one of the teens asked Hirst for 20 pence (about 30 cents), possibly not realizing that her slightly more enterprising friend had already taken all of the old woman's money, plus the purse containing it. After what we imagine must have been a pretty awkward instant, the teen dashed out of the car and ran down the street.
The 15-year-old had covered around 200 feet when she looked back over her shoulder ... and saw this face immediately behind her:
In about 15 seconds, Hirst got out of the car, sprinted like a T-1000 and caught up to the purse-snatcher. Bear in mind that the kid had a good head start of around, oh, 57 years. Says Hirst: "The look on her face was one of sheer amazement and she just threw my bag aside."
Turns out Hirst had been a national sprinting champion -- at age 17. She didn't mention how she kept in shape after almost six decades, but we suspect it involved going out at night and chasing after criminals.
They had to photograph her with special cameras, as she was invisible to the naked eye.
When Hirst returned to the car, the two other girls were still there, probably recovering from the sonic boom the old lady caused when she took off. They apologized for their friend's stupidity, and Hirst even gave them an end-of-the-episode lesson about knowing how to choose their friends more carefully.
"And knowing is half the battle," she said, a rainbow materializing behind her.
Carjacker Runs Into the Human Ninja Turtles
Tyrone Hogan was a bit of a jerk: After choking a bus passenger and stealing his shoes, Hogan hijacked a vehicle while a woman was still inside it, then pushed her out of the moving car when she refused to hand over her purse. Because if you're gonna commit one crime, you might as well commit all the crimes.
Realizing the cops were probably looking for the vehicle by now, Hogan pulled into a Hollywood gas station and attempted to steal a van, unaware that it contained some unexpected cargo ...
What Happened Next:
Hogan had demanded money and keys from the driver, Nestor Bustillo, when the back door of the van opened and out burst five young judo black belts. You see, Bustillo and his disciples had just finishing touring Hollywood teaching a self-defense class and were probably eager to practice their art on something other than a bunch of bored housewives.
The team easily subdued the carjacker, but then he started fighting back and trying to get into the van. Seeing no other choice, they pulled him out, doused him with gasoline and "pinned his arms and legs behind his body." They then held him in that position until the authorities arrived.
Actual police photo.
One of the students later recalled: "The boys were punching him in the face and I wanted to go around for a choke, to choke him out, but I didn't want to risk getting punched in the head," so she just stood aside, figuring the guy was getting enough punishment. No, not really: "... so I started pounding him from the back."
We guess the lesson here is, if you're gonna hijack someone's car, stick to defenseless women and try to avoid the Power Rangers.
Incidentally, this is what the "van" looked like.
Austin residents were enjoying a night on the town, drinking, dancing and doing a number of other things undeserving of being punched in the back of the head when Rashad Bobino, a former Texas linebacker, ran up and started punching people in the back of the head. Then he strolled away, satisfied with a job well done.
Football was a speed bump on the road to his true passion: punching people in the back of the head.
While everyone else was simply trying to register what the hell had just happened, one man took issue with the fact that one of the punched people happened to be a woman, went up to Bobino and let him know. Bobino allegedly responded with a profanity-laced tirade that boiled down to, "A pox on you, sir. I will knock out anyone I want. And I will be knocking you out forthwith."
Special moves: Making bad predictions.
What Happened Next:
We should mention at this point that the man who stood up to Bobino was around 80 pounds lighter and two inches shorter than him, and was surrounded by a few guys defending the linebacker (in Texas, his ability to play football makes him a minor deity). To any bystander, the odds would have looked overwhelmingly against him, especially after an amused Bobino started swinging in his direction.
That's when the man calmly took his shirt off, went after Bobino and knocked him to the ground in front of everyone. No big talk, no gloating: "I got the better of him and left," he said.
Oh, yeah, and it turns out the man was Roger Huerta, a former UFC lightweight champion:
"Lightweight" being a relative term.
The sports media actually jumped on Huerta for a while when TMZ posted a video of the street fight ... until they realized the woman-puncher was a sportsman too and found a more deserving target in him.
Huerta says he did what he would expect any decent guy to do -- but the fact is, there were at least a dozen other "decent guys" standing around, and no one moved a finger except Huerta, who acted like some badass street vigilante emerging from his secret identity. One look at him and we've come to the conclusion that he simply flexed his muscles and his shirt disintegrated into particles.
Supervillain Rules Over Chinatown
Sai Wing Mock was a Chinese-American gangster who ruled Chinatown in the early 1900s with his gang, the Hip Sing Tong (which sounds like Korean pop festival). He was also a pretty extravagant dude: One time, after a long gambling session, "he came back to New York with diamond studs blazing from his shirt front and $30,000 in his pockets." Adjusted for inflation, that's the modern-day equivalent of super-gluing a Ferrari to your crotch.
The original gangsta pimp.
Being a well-known criminal figure, Mock had to put up with the constant murder attempts that came with the title. During a typical attempt on his life, he would find himself surrounded by blazing guns and flying hatchets -- to which he reacted with all the caution and common sense of a character in a John Woo movie.
If today's gangsters used throwing-axes, the war on drugs would be a hell of a lot more entertaining.
What Happened Next:
Since he was essentially a well-dressed moving target, Mock always traveled with chain mail armor, two revolvers and a hatchet. This was apparently more about looking cool than anything, since the guy didn't really give much of a damn about his own safety: When attacked, he would react by running into the middle of the street, crouching down and firing his two revolvers at the same time.
Oh, and he did everything we just described with his eyes closed.
Like this, but spinning on the ground. And with more hats.
While this method wasn't exactly efficient when it came to actually hitting people with bullets, it did scare the crap out of the assassins sent after him, it seems -- in 30 years, he was shot only once.
Mock was known "Mock Duck," which makes him sound like a (possibly racist) Dick Tracy enemy. He was young (he took control of Chinatown in his early 20s), stylish, gentle-spoken and fearless: basically, a Chinese Marlo Stanfield.
Again, with more hats.
Seriously, the only thing that could have made this guy more like a supervillain is if he had some insane distinguishing feature, like maybe long, lethal-looking fingernails ... which he totally did have.
Die Hard ... ON A TRAIN (and for Real)
Train robberies are pretty much extinct in America today, partly because of the increase in security and partly because of the Bandana Act of 1878. In other parts of the world, however, they're still all the rage: In 2010, the Maurya Express in India was assaulted by 40 robbers armed with knives and handguns, some of whom were traveling as passengers.
The train above is actually the Malwa Express, not the Maurya Express. Some Indian train aficionado in the comments section would have complained if we didn't make that clear.
Early reports claimed there were actually 11 robbers, but that doesn't make what happened next any less deserving of being adapted into an objectively awful, gloriously violent mid-90s action movie.
What Happened Next:
Like the rest of the passengers, Bishnu Shrestha followed common sense and complied with the robbers to avoid making the situation worse ... that is, until some of them got fresh and started stripping an 18-year-old girl naked in front of her parents. Shrestha, a former Gurkha soldier, reportedly took out his kukri knife and began dishing out some brutal justice.
"Oh, look what I happened to have in my pocket!"
The Gurkhas are one of the most feared and respected military units on Earth, and Shrestha was about to explain to the robbers why, in the most comprehensive way possible. Fighting completely alone, the Indian version of Steven Seagal ('s character in his movies) worked his way through the robbers, killing three, wounding eight more and haunting the dreams of the remaining 29 forever. According to him, most of them simply gave up and escaped after 20 minutes of fighting.
"My fist is swollen from the velocity at which the tears impacted it."
Most of the escaping robbers were promptly arrested. Shrestha said he may have been sent to jail along with the wounded robbers if the girl hadn't told everyone what he did. Officials started throwing as much money and praise at Shrestha as they could, and the girl's family offered him an award of 300,000 rupees (that's a lot of red potions) ... which, several months later, he hadn't collected.
Obviously, there's a huge chance that some of the facts of the story were greatly exaggerated by the media, but there's gotta be some truth to the impressive tale -- we doubt the Indian government simply hands out its most important awards and medals to anyone.
Look out for the Bollywood adaptation, in which Shrestha has a magic sword and a pet dragon.
Learn how defend yourself like a boss when you purchase our new book. (The book won't actually teach you any self-defense techniques.)
For more insane badasses, check out 6 Real-Life Vigilantes Crazier Than Batman. Or learn about some self-defense tools you probably shouldn't buy, in The 13 Most Irresponsible Self Defense Gadgets Money Can Buy.
And stop by Linkstorm to see how John Cheese defended himself against the sweet old lady at the 7-11.
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