First hand accounts of revenge?
October 21, 2012 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for first hand accounts of revenge and vigilante justice.

I'm looking for accounts of people who had crimes committed against them (e.g. violent crime, war crime, theft, rape, even social crimes that the justice system doesn't cover), who then inflicted some sort of vigilante justice or revenge.

True stories only please: books, online essays, or even your own first-hand stories, MeFites.

I'm especially curious about the consequences months and years later for the person who inflicted revenge. How did the inflictor feel about it? What were the consequences for all involved, in the long term?

posted by kellybird to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
The first thing that came to mind was this kickstarter.
posted by phil at 9:15 AM on October 21, 2012

I'm not sure what first-hand accounts there are of Bernie Goetz's famous case, but you can definitely find interviews, snippets, and media coverage that cover the involved parties' feelings and consequences months and years later.
posted by cardioid at 9:35 AM on October 21, 2012

A great true revenge story I came across recently was the case of Pierre Picaud, a 19th century Frenchy shoemaker who may have been the inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo. He was betrayed by jealous friends over a woman, falsely imprisoned for seven years, and after getting out he spent a decade plotting his vengeance.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2012

Vitaly Kaloev killed the air traffic controller who was found (most) responsible for the death of his wife and daughter in a plane collision. Crazy story.
posted by frieze at 9:47 AM on October 21, 2012

Lorena Bobbitt is one to file under revenge. She said her husband raped her and forced her to have an abortion, but he was acquitted of all of that. There's no way of knowing what happened in their personal relationship, but I doubt you'd chop off someone's penis without having had something happen to you to make you go off the deep end, which is of course what the court decided in the end (insanity). She's gone on to found a domestic violence organization, while he keeps getting in trouble for assault and theft. Oh, and he was in a porn film. Eww.

Then I think you could call what's been going down on Reddit with r/creepshots (and similar subreddits) vigilante justice. In response to administrators' indifference to women having their bodies in public turned into (basically) porn, some users have taken to compiling the information of those who frequently browsed or posted to the subreddit. It's an interesting turn of events. People were using public bodies for personal pleasure, without permission; in turn, those who take issue with that have gathered the publicly shared info of those individuals and put it in one place. One of the creepiest cases is this one. In the same vein of outing people, Anonymous named someone as being the predator who harassed Amanda Todd--and they got some very important details wrong.

No idea yet if any of those things have resulted in firings or criminal charges of any sort at this point, but may be stuff to watch.
posted by iamfantastikate at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

No idea yet if any of those things have resulted in firings or criminal charges

Michael Brutsch was fired from his job shortly after he was outed as Violentacrez.
posted by jason's_planet at 10:15 AM on October 21, 2012

In Broad Daylight
posted by Cwell at 10:41 AM on October 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, I think Qaddafi's death might be a case of this on the larger scale. This new report breaks down how it happened and how the perpetrators haven't been punished.
posted by Cwell at 10:44 AM on October 21, 2012

Judgment Day

My friend B.C. Hall co-wrote it with Bob Lancaster, a few years before "In Broad Daylight" came out. It's also about the McElroy killing. Well worth tracking down.
posted by cyndigo at 10:50 AM on October 21, 2012

I've got a story involving in-law embezzlement of my pop's business and subsequent Korean justice, and a story about a close friend's crazy ex keying his car and DeNiro-esque non-violent threats, but those are kinda close to home and might make either my pop or me seem like an asshole.

But here's a story about vigilante justice that only makes me out to be a little nutty, and maybe a half-assed asshole.

So I've got this small garden in front of my house. When I moved in, it was weed city and overrun with bulbs. I spent a lot of time fixing it up, planted hydrangeas and a small evergreen. Made it look awright. But then after a while I noticed that one half of the tree was dying. Like, the back side of it, facing the house. I couldn't understand why.

And then I noticed, come end of winter as the weather warmed up, the whole garden started smelling like shit. I was pulling weeds, and went inside. The inside smelled like shit. I tried to do what snakes do with their forked tongues, only with my nose, and moved my head around to locate the source of the smell. It came from my clogs. My clogs smelled of shit. My right clog had shit on it. I had stepped in shit.

I'd never noticed the smell before, cause it was winter, and the shit was frozen. Guess I probably stepped in it before, but it was solid. Anyway, I began tending to my garden again and noticed there was dog shit everywhere. It was still kinda cool outside, and I spent a little while picking up dog shit. Filled two plastic grocery bags. Work complete. Garden clean.

Time goes by, and I keep find more dog shit. Some goddamn dog was shitting in my garden, and a friend suggested that the reason why half the tree was dying was because the dog was probably pissing on half the roots. I keep picking up the shit, and start wondering if there was a stray, but I never saw no strays, man. Then I started getting irritated, cause who the hell wouldn't pick up after their dog?

I called the community association and said, basically, that some dog was shitting in my garden, and shat on my garden through winter. They said that they'd remind everyone at the next community meeting that residents should pick up after that dog. They recommended that I put up a small, polite sign saying "Please pick up after your dog."

Then my cat died. I put him to sleep. The whole story behind that is somewhere on AskMe or something. But anyway, the point is: I spread his ashes in my garden. The dood loved running out and hiding in the bushes. Never ran away, never went past the garden limits. Nice cat. I miss him.

But I digress. The sign idea was a nice, polite idea. But some dog was shitting on my cat. And killing my tree. There was an interesting upside in that the hydrangeas all bloomed different color flowers, probably from the pH differences of the dog's piss and shit. Anyway, days passed and I started getting more and more irritated. I didn't want to put up a polite sign. I wanted to find the dog and the owner and make them feel bad. Strong, angry emotions welled up in me, and I my brain was filled with ideas of confronting the dog's owner and... well, nothing violent. I just wanted to hurt his feelings.

Days turned to weeks, and the shit kept happening. On the off chance I heard people outside, or saw someone walking their dog, I'd run upstairs and peek out the window. No dice. Nice people. No dog shitting.

Then I saw that a guy a couple houses down from me would always open his door and let his dog out to run around, but this wasn't the dog. It couldn't be: the dog would just run out to a big tree in front of the owner's house, take a leak, yapyapyap and run around, then run back inside. Plus, it was a toy dog. I don't know too much about dogs, but I don't think a dog that size was capable of producing poop the size of which I'd been finding in my garden.

I had some time off coming up. I recalled memories of ULTRAMARINE from high school-- he was this guy who waited in the bushes one night for my friend and his brother when they were out to fork his lawn. Like ULTRAMARINE, I would wait until I found the dog who's been doing this. I stayed up late, alternating between sitting in my living room, listening for noise, and sitting in my car down the street. I'd wake up early, and do the same thing. This went on for three days.

Finally, early in the morning of the fourth day, waiting in my car parked down the street, I saw a gigantic dog. I'm talking HUGE. It was like a goddamn wookiee, with a ridiculous amount of fur, tall enough to reach the level of the owner's hip. I recognized the dog as one I'd seen around town before, but never around my neighborhood. Could this be the dog?

The dog's owner was jogging, rounded the bend toward my house-- toward me. And then he stopped. And then the dog walked over to my tree and lifted its leg. And then the dog proceeded to sniff around and squatted.

It's him. It's the dog. It's the owner. It's now or never.

I open the car door and started walking toward my house. The guy started jogging in place and the dog was just fucking around a bit. I was shaking, and cold. I was dressed in a bathrobe, because hey, I like wearing robes, and I wasn't working, and, well, whatever. I approached the owner.

The guy looks up. I close the distance.
"Is that your dog?" (I don't know why I bothered asking.)
"Are you gonna pick up after your dog?"
"When, man?" (And this is where I lose it.)
"Your dog's been shitting there for MONTHS, man. I've been cleaning up after your dog for MONTHS. Your dog is SHITTING on my CAT'S ASHES, man. How would you like it if I crapped on your doorstep?" (I have no idea where he lives.)

So by this point I'm really trembling. I'm in a bathrobe. I caught the dog in the act, and busted the owner. I realized that I'd made a very strange threat. The guy was standing there, and it looked like he was about to say something, but he just kept standing there with his mouth agape for what seemed like ages. Finally he looks down and at his dog and says "I'm sorry."

"Ok. Wait here. Ok? Wait here."
I go inside and get a plastic bag and go back out, kinda surprised he was still there. I gave him the bag and watched him pick up the warm, wookiee-sized poop.
"Thank you. Have a good morning." The guy says sorry again, and goes jogging off with his dog, holding a bag of dog shit.

So that's that. No more dog poop in my garden. The evergreen eventually turned all brown, and I ended up uprooting it and planting a dwarf magnolia in its place. It's doing well. The hydrangeas still bloom different colors, so maybe it was my cat's ashes doing the trick.
posted by herrdoktor at 10:51 AM on October 21, 2012 [26 favorites]

Oh, and in regards to short and long term consequences? How do I feel?
I feel GRRREEEEEEAAAAT. I'd do it all again, gladly. So if you know of anyone who has dog poop appearing under mysterious circumstances, MeMail me.
posted by herrdoktor at 10:59 AM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was physically bullied quite a bit as a schoolkid, largely because I was a tiny little runt who had the annoying habit of coming top of the class. The bullying took various forms but one of the most popular was "Let's just punch Decani in the face when he isn't expecting it", which seemed to cause more amusement than the Chinese burns, shower-room shenanigans and so on. Being a timid, non-violent sort of child I just sucked this up for years and developed a fine array of nervous tics as a result, thereby adding another source of amusement for my peers.

Well, one day I just snapped. After being shoved all around the school playing field by some sadistic arsehole, and followed by the usual gang of onlookers yelling "Fight! Fight! Fight!", a combination of shame and red rage engulfed me and I punched this kid so hard that he went down and started crying. We were about fourteen at the time. Fourteen-year old boys do not cry, especially in public in front of their schoolfriends. The bullying pretty much stopped after that.

Cut to three years later. I'm in the sixth form, and life is gradually showing signs of getting better. No one (apart from teachers, which didn't count) has hit me for three years, and the tics have stopped. I am walking across the school ground towards the gate, going home. And then some knout-faced gibbon steps out of a group of fifth-formers and wham, completely decks me. No reason. As I pick myself up and gingerly check that all my teeth are still in place he steps back with his mates and leers. "What yer gonna do about it, cunt?" Well, nothing there and then, that was clear. That would have been madness. But I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn't abide the thought of this shit starting up again.

So I made as if to leave, but lurked by the gate and watched them. They sauntered off across the playing field, towards the other gate. I followed at a great distance. I passed a large pile of broken school chairs, stacked up against a wall. I broke a leg off a particularly badly damaged one and stuck it under my jacket. I seemed to be both incandescently angry and glacially cool all at the same time. It was a strange feeling, and one that was new to me.

The light was fading fast (this was winter time) and I followed them at a distance of about two hundred yards. They were chatting, smoking, larking about. They settled on a street corner and stayed there for about half an hour. A couple of them left and wandered off. The other three, including my assailant, wandered on. I followed. A little further on they all split up and went their separate ways, presumably to their individual homes. I followed my guy. It was properly dark now. I drew closer.

He turned down a narrow street. I looked up and down it: no one visible. I'd already decided what I was going to do. I walked swiftly up behind him and when I was in range, said "Excuse me". He turned. I waited just until I saw recognition dawn then whacked him full in the face with the chair leg, as hard as I could. He went down. It was messy. He made some satisfying noises. I stood over him while he clutched his face and moaned. When he managed to look at me I said "Remember me?" And then walked off.

I saw him again at school several days later. The lower part of his face looked like a rotten aubergine. I just stared at him. He looked at me. Looked away again. Nothing was said. End of story.

How did I feel about it? Fantastic, that's how. It actually put me in the place I've been ever since: I decided that I will simply not stand for bullying or violence, against me or any other innocent person. I decided that day that that was it. Zero tolerance, and whatever it takes. So far, when I've been in a position where that has been put to the test, I've kept the promise I made to myself that day.

Consequences for him? No idea, and zero interest.
posted by Decani at 11:39 AM on October 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


Brigitte Harris accidentally killed her father after tying him down and cutting off his penis. She had suffered years of sexual abuse at his hands and was driven to it after observing a young female relative on his lap, realizing it was the only way she could save others.
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:06 PM on October 21, 2012

I used to live in an apartment downtown. One summer day, I came back from shopping to discover some asshole had parked his convertible in my clearly-marked "RESERVED" parking spot. This joker had left his top down, so I scattered my french fries around the interior of his car, and soon, every seagull in the world swooped in and absolutely covered the upholstery in seagull shit.
posted by xedrik at 1:58 PM on October 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Harlan Ellison is known for having mailed a dead gopher to a publishing executive, fourth-class. Described in some detail here (search for "DEAD GOPHER"), but you'd have to find the essay "Driving in the Spikes" for the full details.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 3:29 PM on October 21, 2012

Well there's reddit's r/justiceporn subreddit, which is largely youtube videos and news articles about what the redditors perceive as bad people getting what they have coming to them (often vigilante justice). It's not sexually pornographic, despite the name. I'm only vaguely aware of the subreddit, so I don't know if there's any follow-up of what happens months down the line.
posted by losvedir at 4:27 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are great, thank you. MetaFilter to the rescue as always. r/justiceporn wasn't exactly what I'm looking for, but it's hilarious!
posted by kellybird at 5:56 PM on October 21, 2012

The Committee of Vigilance was a notorious instance of vigilante justice in San Francisco. As Wikipedia notes, they hanged 8 people.

There are lots of accounts at - you can find them by searching for vigilante or vigilance.
posted by kristi at 9:04 PM on October 21, 2012

hometown lynchings
posted by hortense at 12:09 AM on October 22, 2012

In Chicago, there is a unique local tradition surrounding parking in the winter. If you clear your car and the parking space of snow, you (generally) get to reserve that parking for yourself for a while. Rules, times and expectations vary, but you secure this spot by placing an old chair or some milk cartons in the space when you leave. At the first shovelable Chicago streets are awash with lawn chairs, milk crates, five gallon buckets and all sorts of other junk.

I've seen some terrible, terrible things done to an interlopers car in Chicago. Bricks through windshields, flat tires, key marks etc. But the best one is when someone re-buries the car, as I have been known to do here and there......
posted by lstanley at 7:00 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

There was a Metafilter post a few years back that pulled sources about Ken Rex McElroy; fascinating story.
posted by amicamentis at 2:13 PM on October 22, 2012

Vengeance by George Jonas. Claims to be authentic non-fictional account of state-mounted revenge mission by Israeli secret services after the 1972 Olympics massacre. Fairly convincing.
posted by aqsakal at 8:07 AM on October 23, 2012

Response by poster: In case anyone comes back to this thread in the future, here is a good one I found: a reddit AMA with a guy who beat up his high school bullies.

And here is a book by some researchers that study the psychology that can lead to revenge.
posted by kellybird at 7:47 AM on November 8, 2012

« Older Help me dye a sweatshirt without damaging the...   |   How can I leave now and not later? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.