How to Be an Urban Vigilante

Urban vigilantism is the newest hip trend for young, monied professionals looking for fun and healthy exercise that’s more exciting than a spin class at the Y in that sketchy neighborhood. You know the one, it has all those “bodegas” in it.

And popular culture has honed in and blazed a trail for this exciting pastime, with such films as The Dark Knight and Kick-Ass, not to mention classics such as the Death Wish series, helping to bring news of this increasingly popular pastime to the masses.

But how do you get started on the path to a life of illegal punching of people who steal iPhones? Here’s how.

  1. Have a tragic past. Popular tragedies include walking down an alley with your parents and seeing them gunned down by a mugger, watching your fiancé be shot to death by drug dealers in a drive-by the morning of your wedding, and having your entire family get killed by burglars during a home invasion robbery gone disastrously wrong, but don’t feel limited to these options. For one, they can be very difficult to arrange, and are likely to be met with resistance from your friends and family who may not wish to be brutally murdered simply so that you can fulfill your childhood dream of dressing in black and crippling people who try to rob liquor stores.
  2. Vow revenge for your tragedy. The most effective method for this is cradling the head of your dead loved one in your lap, raising a fist to the heavens and screaming “Nooooooo!” Be sure to practice deep-breathing so that your lung capacity is large enough to sustain the scream for at least 30 to 45 seconds. Pausing to take a deep breath to continue screaming spoils the effect considerably.
  3. Find a mentor to teach you fighting skills. The mentor you choose will depend heavily on what method you plan to use to exact your revenge on the city’s criminal scum. If you plan to beat them to death with your own blazing fists of fury, find an inscrutable old Oriental man, preferably blind and working in some innocuous profession that belies his mastery of ancient martial arts and allows him to listen in on the corrupt bargains local politicians make with crime-lords. If you simply wish to shoot people in the head, a grizzled veteran of secret American wars is your best bet. Be careful, though. If he starts to talk about “having been in the deep shit” he is not a master marksman, simply a burned out Vietnam vet.
  4. Start small. Take out your local street dealers or pick-pockets first. Sure, they almost certainly didn’t have anything to do with the death of your loved ones, but dealing with them in as brutal a manner as possible will not only send a message to other criminals that someone has gotten serious about cleaning up the streets, but it will embolden your neighbors and earn you vital support that you will need for your inevitable clashes with the police and the heads of the local gangs.
  5. Clash with the police. Try to identify as early as possible someone in the middle ranks of the chains of command, a lieutenant or captain, who is ambivalent about the morality of your actions but is willing to look the other way because you are getting results. Earning this person’s trust and confidence will help you avoid any unpleasantness with beat cops who are just trying to do their job. As a bonus, a person in authority will help you differentiate the cops who are corrupt and in the pay of local crimelords and trying to bring you down from those cops who seek to arrest you simply because you are straight up murdering people or beating them into comas. Also, you can freak them out by just leaving in the middle of conversations.
  6. Meet the big boss. After your efforts cleaning up the streets and clashing with the local police, you will eventually come face to face with your city’s crime lord for a to-the-death struggle over the heart and soul of the city. You will want to pepper your conversation with him with lots of appropriate puns regarding the method you plan to kill him with. In the unlikely event that all crime in your city is not controlled by one solitary figure that the police or FBI would have easily been able to arrest years ago, move to another city.


  • It is possible that the local crime-lords will have your mentor killed to send you a warning. This is entirely normal, and frankly, to be expected. We advise either deliberately choosing a mentor that you won’t miss terribly much, or using his innocent blood as further fuel in your quest for vengeance.
  • It should be noted that most people with aspirations of being an urban vigilante are violently and brutally murdered by the first criminal they try to take down, because, after all, they’ve been at this whole “surviving on the street” business much longer than you have. We are not legally liable if this guide fails to protect you from a bullet to the back of the skull. Please see our guide “How To Survive Being Shot In The Back Of The Head By A Pissed Off Crack Dealer” for further information.
  • Odds are you’re never going to bring the guy who actually killed your family, so you better get down with that idea.
  • Try your best to avoid confronting the realization that your actions are merely continuing the cycle of violence, doing nothing to address the root socio-economic causes of criminal behavior, and potentially perpetuating deeply racist assumptions about the criminal proclivities of inner-city youth. It makes it harder to continue with your vigilantism. Plus, it’s just silly!