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2005-2007 discussion[edit]

Perhaps someone can write a paragraph on vigilante justice (since this is the redirect page) in the American prison system? A recent example can be: 3/30/05

Wondering if anyone knows about the history of vigilantism: vigilantes in the medieval era, etc.?

Removed Minutemen from list of vigilantes. The article admits that they are "technically not a vigilante group", and hence their inclusion is propaganda.

Anyone want to touch on the issues of Vigilantism, ie., positives, negatives, ethics etc?

It is arguable that Batman is a vigilante. He is far from The Punisher. He never kills. As it says above, vigilintes use methods like torture and killing enemies, Batman does not.

My opinion: Batman is indeed a vigilante. As I understood in the article, vigilante is a law enforcer not officialized by the Government. Not necessarily mean. 03:47, 18 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Both men had no history of repeat offense had been served "... this is confusing and not grammatical.

IIRC, Goetz was convicted on NY weapons charges and served 6 months in jail.

It is arguable that White Supremacist groups can be equated with vigilante justice. There is little to support the idea in the opening of this article that lynch mobs and the sort represent the typical motive of a vigilante (that being the enforcement of equitible justice.) While a comparison is slightly valid, I think this is unsuitable as the intial opening definition.

Agreed. 03:47, 18 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Disagree. The Minutemen are a classic vigilante group. "Typical motive of a vigilante" is a weasel phrase. I'm restoring Minutemen to the article. "Equitable justice"? Find a source for that claim. Bobanny 22:51, 26 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that White Supremacist groups should be taken out. Webster's Dictionary defines a vigilante as "a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily", and last time I checked it wasn't a crime to be black or jewish. And by the way, Minutemen aren't White supremacists. They are anti illegal immigration. There are some non whites in the group. Rundar 23:22, 18 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Violating the law - this is the criterion for inclusion on the vigilante list[edit]

This article begins as: "A vigilante is a person who violates the law... " I have removed the Minutemen Project from the vigilante list as no evidence is provided that they violate the law in conducting their activities. Please restore them to the list only after providing citations that they violate applicable state or federal law in their conduct. kevinp2 (talk) 02:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I also removed Joe Horn from the list since he was cleared of wrongdoing by a Texas grand jury. Please see the Joe Horn page for more information.kevinp2 (talk) 02:17, 13 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Current usage "vigilante" comes from the term for a member of a "vigilance committee", and that terms begins with the French Revolution when the National Convention set up subcommittees for the reign of terror, including a "Surveillance" committee which was also translated "Vigilance", see:
The Surveillance committee was merged/renamed Committee of General Security Enri999 (talk) 21:40, 4 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Batman Isn't a Vigilante[edit]

Commissioner Gordon specifically states that Batman isn't a Vigilante, and that he's fully sanction by the Gotham Police Department.

Commissioner Gordon was wrong. Lots of vigilantes have been condoned by the legit authorities. bobanny 19:13, 29 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems to suggest an incorrect use of the term "vigilante" (Definition: A vigilante is a person or persons who ignore due process enacting their own form of justice when they deem the response of the authorities to be insufficient). See also comments under topic 5, Two kinds of "vigilantes"? Batman may or may not be a "vigilante" but most recognised community safety initiatives are not, because they are working alongside, or with the blessing of the Police or other relevant authoritites. LyallDNZ
The original premise of Batman was the notion that big-city American police departments were corrupt. Commissioner Gordon was one of the non-corrupt cops in Gotham, and he looked to Batman to bring law and order to an otherwise lawless city. That's fiction, but historically, lots of vigilante groups have been sanctioned by the legit authorities, the KKK in the US for example, though it was condoned - and actively supported - only off the record. I removed the neighbourhood watch reference, because I agree with you that they usually don't qualify as vigilantes. What the police formally support tend to be resident patrols that call the police when they see something, but that's certainly not how they all work. Groups like the The Minuteman Project Inc., for example, might claim to be law abiding publicly, but ignore due process in reality, precisely because they believe due process doesn't work. bobanny 07:36, 23 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[Arcane Batman Lore Factoid][Passionate, emotional argument][Dismissal of previous posters' acumen and intellect, as well as genetic material][Irrelevant flamebait concerning "Arrested Development"] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 8 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@original post: That was only in the 60's series. In pretty much all other media Batman is a vigilante and referred to as such. In some media the cops even chase him b/c of it. Emperor001 (talk) 04:18, 2 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can anyone find a picture for this article. I'd put Batman but he is only one person. H2P (Yell at me for what I've done) 15:28, 25 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This caption seems inaccurate in some ways

"The Bald Knobbers, an 1880s vigilante group from Missouri, wearing crude "blackface" masks typical of the post-Reconstruction era in the United States – as portrayed in the 1919 film, The Shepherd of the Hills."

This is from an old movie. How do we know this style was typical of the period? How do we know this blackface motif was used by the bald nobbers? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 10 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added DDS[edit]

I added the DDS because it is very prevalent in the city, although what should've been added is the counter-communist methods used by the Alsa Masa during the 1980s in the same city.

Legal Status[edit]

How about some stuff about legal status of being a vigilant (as a 'good unofficial justice enforcer' rather than 'hate group'). As far as I know, in Brasil, anyone can arrest people in the act, but unless in defense (self-defense or others-defense) they can't use force, I guess... (but how would that be? Just shouting to the dude "you're under arrest!"???) 03:47, 18 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

legal status added is a great idea. It would seem there are different types of vigilantism. Some that are sanctioned by the law to carry out when there is no legal authority around and one that is carried out solely on the individual or groups decisions.
--OxAO (talk) 18:54, 15 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two kinds of "vigilantes"?[edit]

Perhaps we should distinguish between "vigilante law enforcment" (doing the usual job of the police, like stoping and/or detaining criminals) and "vigilante justice" (doing the usual job of the courts, i.e. punishing criminals)? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:15, 31 December 2006 (UTC).Reply[reply]

The preceding case (law enforcement) isn't really "vigilante" as many reputable community organisations and individuals (e.g. Neighbourhood Watch, Neighbourhood Support, Community Patrols, Citizen Observer Patrols) support the law enforcement organisations without acting in a way that would be considered "vigilante".
I was particularly surprised to see that the last bullet point at the end of section 3.3 "Neighborhood watch groups[9]" referenced a website related to "Vigilante Minutemen". I'm relatively new here, so was reluctant to just delete it out of hand, but this either needs to be removed or the tag changed to read "Vigilante Minutemen" or something similar, definitely not "Neighborhood Watch groups". Neighorhood/Neighbourhood Watch Groups, Neighbourhood Support Groups, Citizen Observer Patrols, Community Patrols etc are recognised and overseen by Police, so they definitely don't fit the definition given at the beginning of the article, of "A vigilante is a person or persons who ignore due process enacting their own form of justice when they deem the response of the authorities to be insufficient" LyallDNZ 05:18, 23 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Dirty Harry - Harry Callahan is a police officer,acting in these condition; he can be considered a "vigilante"? Perhaps "Magnum Force" is more appropriate.

The Outlaw Josey Wales,V for Vendetta - they are "rebels", not exactly "vigilantes". -- 15:55, 2 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is shallow; the concept of vigilantes preceded films of the 1960s as it goes back to myths of Western Frontier "justice".--Parkwells 20:00, 13 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Besides Westerns, there were some vigilantes in crime films going back to the 1930s. "The Beast Of The City" (1932), "Cornered" (1945) and "The Big Heat" (1953) being a few examples. Vigilantism does pop up in film noir, the genre which the latter two films pertain to and the first mentioned is an important predecessor to. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 5 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See No Evil - This does not really qualify as a vigilante justice film. Yes it may have seemed as though he was murdering the people in that house because they were sinners, but it was presented as if he would have been murdering them regardless whether they were sinners or not. (talk) 07:25, 1 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You would be better off incorporating the vigilante moves of Charles bronson`s Deathwish series----

  • I agree, Charles Bronson's films in general were the epic vigilante movies... Stevenmitchell (talk) 04:36, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article desperately needs some history. I'm no expert, but I believe the modern connotation of "Vigilante" comes from San Francisco Vigilance Movement in the mid-19th century US. I might be wrong, and maybe that's just an example and not the origin, but some research needs to be done to give this article some grounding. Right now, it's just anyone who takes the law into their own hands, which can encompass so much as to be unencyclopedic. And I agree that rebels, renegades, and mavericks are different than vigilantes. Bobanny 19:49, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Looking at the article on the Vehm in Westphalia it was a legal institution rather a vigilante group. Should we remove them from this article?--Korovioff 18:12, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Do vigilantes have to be violent and face-to-face[edit]

There is this slashdot article on this computer hacker who breaks the law and sends a judge to 27 years in jail. [1]. He broke California penal code 502 [2]. The person who submitted that article claims the kid is a vigilante. Does vigilante require the negative connotation associated with it? Usually dictionary definitions do not carry connotations. This would be kind of strange since it would be like a whistleblower or something like that. LAWL a nonviolent vigilante. I usually associate vigilante as like being Hollywood type. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Getonyourfeet (talkcontribs) 13:37, 22 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

I'd say there's a negative connotation with vigilante, but it depends on the perspective of the audience. J. Jonah Jameson, for example, doesn't like Spider-Man because he's a vigilante, and by definition, vigilantes operate outside or in defiance of the law and are therefore criminal. Most of the stuff I've read on the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance, which epitomizes vigilantism and is the historical origin for our modern associations with the term, are sympathetic to those vigilantes. It seems to come down to whether or not you believe the vigilante is justified in operating outside or in defiance of the law. In mid-19th century San Francisco, the feeling was that lawlessness was too much for the existing "law" to deal with, so the vigilance committee was seen as justified in taking illegal measures to establish law and order. The Hollywood cliche of the vigilante action hero, I believe, is so popular because it's a vehicle for exploring the theme of justice through the perspective of an individual. I don't think vigilantes are necessarily violent, but remember that "the law" vigilantes are substituting for has a monopoly on legitimate violence. Even if the cop is giving you a friendly warning, he's still ready to use that gun in his holster if he thinks it appropriate, or electrial outlet if it's Jack Bauer and he thinks you know something about the visitors. Bobanny 20:00, 22 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The actual definition given at the start of the article is really good ("A vigilante is a person or persons who ignore due process enacting their own form of justice when they deem the response of the authorities to be insufficient") because it makes the clear distinction of ignoring due process, and participating in the process. Whether you regard that as negative is a matter of personal perspective but I'd certainly regard that as negative in a civil society. LyallDNZ 05:35, 23 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article Needs Attention[edit]

This article needs heavy copy-editing for syntax and grammar. It appears that most of it was written by a single individual, to whom English is apparently a second language. It's well-sourced, but very tough to read.

Furthermore, the weasel words need to go. Historians don't "believe" anything. They've either had a fact/opinion quoted by a reputable, cited source, or they've done the same in one of their own publications. Period. Bullzeye 17:57, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree this needs a good copyedit, but disagree that "historians believe" is a weasel phrase. Historians are a very opionated lot, and do more than just reiterate what people in the past said. They interepret sources and then tell us what they "believe" happened based on that. The wording could be better, but there are references that point to said historians, so I'm removing the weasel tag; if you wish to return it, please specify if there's other weasel problems and how neutrality is compromised. Bobanny 20:40, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh-my-gosh. It's much worse than just copy-editing. All the rambling in the "History of Vigilantism" section about "Robin Hood and his Merry Men...against the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham." It's a disgrace to Wikipedia. Robin Hood is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER who has nothing to do with history.

In fact, all the blah-blah-blah and the long lists covering Hollywood and other fictional vigilantes doesn't belong here; interested parties should start a separate article on the subject, and cross-link it to this one.

The Hines paper that's footnoted in the "Interpretations" section is a decent source (though surely there are better), but it's mis-cited badly. (e.g. Hines does not say that "Classical vigilantism was practiced widely in the 'late colonial or early federal period' to protect against fake religious practitioners.")

It ain't all bad. For instance, the pictures of the Bald Knobbers and San Francisco are excellent. Otherwise this thing is in dire need of a slash-and-burn. I'm hesitant to start, as limited as my knowledge of the subject is. Anyone with a decent scope of the topic who'd like my help, feel free to post on my talk page. I may not respond fast, but I'll respond good. ô¿ô 01:01, 5 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And how bout Artistotle? He never wrote about vigilantes, sorry to say, because the concept didn't yet exist. The concept of "police" didn't exist until he invented it, so how could he be commenting on people who act "outside the law," when the "law," in the sense of that phrase, didn't exist? bobanny 21:08, 8 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply] (talk) 10:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


How about adding 'The A-Team' to the Television section?

Lisztian 02:37, 18 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The first few seasons of The Avengers in the 1960s portrayed Steed and Mrs Gail (spelling?) as vigilantes. (talk) 10:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Off-topic How[edit]

So what is exactly off topic in the history section? On the microsoft encarta page [3], reference is made to the anti-British vigilance committees of the American colonial rebels, San Francisco committees, and the Holy Veme, colonial-American Regulators and Ulster Defence Associatoin as vigilante what is off-topic? The issue of monopoly on force is crucial to the subject of vigilantism, and that is the focus of the cited book on violence and chivalry, so what is off topic? Vigilantism is an extremely messy issue for moderns, there is no denying its complexity, and illustrates the difference between what Max Weber calls "traditional" or "charismatic" authority and bureacratic legal authority. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:38, August 22, 2007 (UTC)

The paragraph on Robin Hood is off-topic because it's ahistorical (the term hadn't even been coined yet, at least in English, making this an anachronism); same with the League of the Holy Court. The discussion of how George Washington might have been considered a vigilante and hung had history unfolded differently, is off-topic and pure speculation. In sum, there's very little information on actual vigilance committees in this section (note how Encarta stays focused), and by being off-topic, it doesn't help clarify the subject at all, but instead conflates vigilantes with rebels. bobanny 14:36, 22 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But that's the thing--vigilantism is a messy difficult subject. The Microsoft encarta article in fact refers to the Veme as an example of pre-modern vigilantism, and refers to the Ulster Defence Assocation as a modern neo-vigilante group. The whole point of the history section is that the conceptual boundaries between vigilantism, rebellion, terrorism, etc. are complex as they all relate to a monopoly on force claimed by one entity against another and modern people's legal-bureaucratic understanding of justice (as opposed to the traditional-charismatic of Weber) do not permit us to fathom this subject's depth. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:59, August 23, 2007 (UTC)

You seem to be saying that it's too messy to bother trying to clarify the concept. In any case, the history section should describe the phenomenon as it manifested historically, from it's origins in 18th and 19th century US and how it developed from there. How vigilantism intersects with Weberian theory or relates to antecedents is putting the cart before the horse without those basics, no? Presenting it as a transhistorical heuristic device defeats history section's purpose. Also, I don't recall Weber explicitly discussing vigilantes. Unlike Encarta (the link you provided, btw, takes the concept only as far back as the American Revolution), we're obliged to provide sources. There are reliable, published sources that problematize and define vigilantism - do any of them discuss vigilantism in relation to Weber's typology? Making such connections isn't our job, or else we'd be writing an essay, not an encyclopedia article. bobanny 17:27, 23 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my recent edits, I tried to express better my intent for the article and the anthropological and legal matrix out of which formal vigilantism was implicitly born. If there is a problem with these changes, please do not delete them wholesale but we can discuss and refine the article together. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. But forgive me if I confuse your edits with our psychoanalyst friend.
I think I get your point; it is clearer in your recent edit, but I still must protest. I still think it's a) too trans-historical and b) more of an essay advancing an original argument than encyclopedic. One historical problem is that you're taking the concept of "private" back to an age when it didn't exist; the private/public, or state/civil society, dichotomy is a liberal innovation that didn't exist in the middle ages. The notion of what a state was had changed profoundly by the time vigilantism emerged in the 19th century. Louis XIV's statement, "Je suis l'etat!" (I am the state!), for example, doesn't leave much room for modern ideas of criminal justice, the rule of law, or even the "taking the law into your own hands" cliche associated with vigilantes. If anything, the chieftan you mention sounds more state-like in the modern sense than the feudal monarch, who drew legitimacy from "divine right," not any responsibility for representing the interests of his subjects.
All in all, this seems more appropriate for the State article because it's about the evolution of the modern state. That modern state was a fait accompli when the vigilantes emerged, and which gives vigilantism its meaning. Your argument, or what seems to be why you think this is an important addition, is that the phenomenon of vigilantes is a natural and universal outgrowth of the tension between the individual and the collective, or state in this case, another dichotomy that didn't exist in the middle ages. At least that's my interpretation. I didn't check the sources you used, and feel free to correct me if I'm misreading this.
My understanding of vigilantism historically is that typically it was a means to creating or reforming/expanding the state. The San Fran vigilantes, for example, formed not just to combat lawlessness, but to drive out the Democratic Party political machine from the city government. Oh yeah, and "composition" should be "compensation" in one of your edits, and use four tildes to sign so the robots don't get you. Okay, thems my gripes. bobanny 19:13, 29 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Strange New Edits[edit]

Ok, I don't mean to be rude, but the insertion of a bizarre "psychoanalysis of vigilantism" right in the middle of the history section is completely insane and out of context... This takes the level of discussion down horribly... What does the discussion on knighthood, "legitimate" violence and monopoly on force have to do with alleged paraphilias? The grammar and style of the section is also unacceptably mediocre. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I reverted it. Much of it was also original research not supported by the citations he or she provided, and frankly, not very helpful for this subject. bobanny 05:05, 29 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I added some tags to the article because it's gone from bad to worse thanks to a persistent IP editor. Sources are woefully misused, quotations are stitched together, and overall, it's become an incoherent hodgepodge - or "stew" - of unrelated and peripherally related ideas that will only further confuse anyone looking here for clarification on this topic. Comments? bobanny 17:41, 31 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Insane Edits[edit]

OH my God, the article has been totally ruined and mutilated... The anthropological and philosophical context and background information, relating to monopoly of force, 'primitive' judicial punishment, etc., has been recklessly removed. The level of education is abysmal. The American Revolution is said to have occurred in the 19th century!!! No wonder no one trusts Wikipedia Is there anyone capable of cleaning up this uneducated, amateur mess and restoring the old good information and format? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for your suggestion regarding article. When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes — they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to).  — 6etonyourfeet\t\c 11:52, 10 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sure edit an article and it will be reverted right away by the heavy handed admin thought police. Wikipedia is controlled by the admins and moderators. They alone decide the content and tone. Cross an administrator and you will be banned and the article locked. Thats how it works. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:30A:C07A:25C0:D162:19B4:A525:D495 (talk) 00:30, 20 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


From Presentism (literary and historical analysis):

Presentism is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past. Most modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter.

And from Anachronism:

In academic writing, there is no place for deliberate anachronism, and here anachronism is regarded as an error of scholarly method. For example, we now know that the concept of Translatio imperii was first formulated in the 12th century. To use it to interpret 10th century literature, as early 20th century scholarship did, is anachronistic, an error which (once we see it) is obvious as such.

Note that the term "vigilantism" is only used twice in the book that is used to support the Robin Hood reference. Both are in the conclusion, written by the editor of the volume summarizing the main themes covered in the volume. The writer who actually analyses the Robin Hood ballads doesn't use the term - or any variation - at all. A book that uses a term in passing is hardly a reliable source for the subject that the term refers to, even if the writer is an egghead.

Using Robin Hood in this article is like saying "Christianity existed long before the birth of Christ, because other people reportedly performed miraculous acts and preached to their followers." Or that elements of Nazism existed long before Hitler, which we know because many brutal and genocidal dictators have appeared throughout history. Antecedents only warrant inclusion if it helps to clarify the topic at hand, otherwise it just confuses it. A fundamental problem with this article has been that the term has been conflated with everything from (in the case of Robin Hood) outlawry, to rebels, renegades, and even pedophilia. The classic, neo-, and pseudo- distinctions are useful in this respect; note that those come from sources published by authors attempting to clarify the term as it's manifested historically, i.e., in the real-world political context in which vigilantism appears and from which it derives its meaning. bobanny 18:45, 11 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion to Merge Vigilante into Vigilance Committee[edit]

In doing a bit of research on the early history of Montana for other WP articles, the subject of Vigilantes arose. When I reviewed this article, I was really dismayed at how poorly it convey's what the term meant (historical) and means today (contemporary interpretation). Today Vigilante is really a slang term is most often viewed in a derogatory way. Whereas, 150 years ago, vigilantes (as members of some sort of Vigilance Committee) were generally respected and tolerated by society. I think attempting to define a single meaning for the term Vigilante is difficult and allows authors to bring in all sorts of irrelevant stuff that doesn't really contribute to the historical concept of Vigilante Committees, Vigilantism and members of those committees (Vigilantes). I don't think that ignoring the Slang aspect of the term is necessary, but it should not be the main focus of the article. WP would be useless if we attempted to defined and describe all aspects of any particular slang term. I think merging Vigilante into Vigilance Committee will significantly improve WP content on these subjects.--Mike Cline (talk) 13:58, 12 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source material for reworking the article[edit]

Some very good sources about American vigilantism include: The Vigilantes of Montana by Thomas J. Dimsdale – it covers some information not only on vigilantes and vigilante actions in Montana but in various parts of the West.

Lynching and Vigilantism in the United States by Norton H. Moses – This source isn't necessarily a great as far as bias goes, but has some very good primary and secondary sources listed in the back.

Vigilantism: Political History of Private Power in America by William Culberson – Good source.

Vigilantism in America by Arnold Madison – Great primary sources.

Other sources: Vigilantism and the State in Modern Latin America: Essays on Extralegal Violence by Martha K. Huggins (editor) – This was very useful in a previous article I wrote on justice in Mexico; it includes some very interesting material on Mexican vigilantism in Chiapas, and other states, El Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan paramilitary and village vigilance activities, as well as activities in Chile, Argentina, and street justice in Brazil.

Buur, L. (2006, Mar) Vigilantism and Sovereign Expressions in Port Elizabeth´s Townships: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA Online <PDF> Retrieved 2006-10-05 from – Though this is a conference paper, it does have some interesting points and source materials.

Interesting reads on the subject: information about vigilantism – Vigilantism rises in violence-torn Kenya – Border Vigilantism and Comprehensive Immigration Reform by Christopher Walker – What Is Vigilantism? – Gangs, Pagad and the State: Vigilantism and Revenge Violence in the Western Cape –

In general, from what I've read on the subject, vigilantism as we understand it is based upon events in the last three centuries, particularly in the U.S. and Latin America. This is not to discount that there are events in history that from a modern point of view could be considered or classified as vigilantism. I could argue that some secret societies in China, such as the Society of the White Lotus, started out as vigilante groups with the intent of insuring just and safe communities against bandits and corrupt officials. Still, I would not necessarily use the term “vigilante” for the group as it is anachronistic as we understand the term.

Well, I hope that some of those sources are helpful anyone who works on cleaning this article. Oh, there are some other good resources in the American Law Review archives. Luminece (talk) 00:16, 13 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here are additional sources on relating to Vigilantes in Montana
  • Langford, Nathaniel Pitt (1893). VIGILANTE DAYS AND WAYS-THE PIONEERS OF THE ROCKIES. New York: D. D. Merrill Company.
  • Hough, Emerson (1907). The Story of The Outlaws. New York: The Outing Publishing Company.
--Mike Cline (talk) 01:29, 13 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I agree with the merge, but the other way round, the Vigilance committee merging into this article. This article is (or should be) about self-justice in general, as for the Vigilance committee article (despite existing, for sure, some cases all over the world), maybe it will be always more related to the USA. In last case, it can stay as an individual article, as a differentiation of the Vigilance committee (trade union). For now, i suggest the inclusion of an internal link in the ==See also== section to Vigilance committee.

--Bluedenimtalk 19:55, 2 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The proposed merge is not really necessary, as the Vigilance committee article has its own distinct topic. However since that topic is a subtopic of Vigilantism, if the articles were to be merged, I would agree with Bluedenim that the Vigilance committee article should be a subsection of the Vigilante article and not the other way around. The merge would probably reduce the entire Vigilance Committee article to a short example of vigilantism in action, which is why I support them remaining two distinct articles, again agreeing with Bluedenim that instead of merging the two articles, the Vigilante article could simply have a ==See also== link at the bottom. (talk) 06:01, 16 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Insane Lists?[edit]

The "Works of Fiction" section seems unnecessarily lengthy. (talk) 23:19, 25 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All the lists are much too lengthy, to the point of being ridiculous. Also, listing isolated instances of vigilante "justice" seems pointless - there are more than these, there is no context - what is the point? To say it has occurred in many cultures and is still happening? To justify people who take the law into their own hands? --Parkwells (talk) 21:41, 10 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"In recent times vigilante or vigilante justice has become a tool of some legislators respecting sex offenders [rightful or wrongful labeling]to terrorize anyone forced with the label of sex offender. Legislators speak of using baseball bats, penal islands, and the use of residency restrictions to run people out of towns, villages, cities, and states based on faulty information, which generally comes with vigilante reasoning."

What?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:29, 8 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could Someone Cite This?[edit]

Take a look at this:

  • Reports have indicated that there is a Masked vigilante in Toronto Canada. He/she is reported to wear a skull mask and is being referred to as the Skull or The Reaper.[citation needed]

Does anyone know if there is any truth to this whatsoever? I was a little suspicious of it, due to the writing errors. Crosshairs-1 (talk) 17:12, 7 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Minuteman civil defense corps removed[edit]

If you read the page for the minuteman civil defense corps (NOT the "minuteman project", it says they do not break the law but rather work with authorities, thus they are not "vigilantes" as the term is described in the article (talk) 05:34, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is the KKK in here?[edit]

A vigilante is a person who violates the law in order to exact what they believe to be justice from criminals, because they think that the criminal will not be caught or will not be sufficiently punished by the legal system.

The KKK attacked Jews and Blacks for the sake of white supremacy. If you look at the KKK in this manner as vigilante, then you may as well add Al Queda to the list too. Come on, take the KKK off. Don't give them this kind of respect. --Panehesy (talk) 22:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Some people consider Osama bin Laden a God-sent vigilante. Type in his name plus "vigilante" on Google. So many conflicting groups, so many different visions of justice and outlawry. Universal justice is only believed in by certain desert-monks, most of humanity are apelike tribalists who sacralize and identify with their ingroup and dehumanize the out-group. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 15 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The below comment refers to comments that I've removed in this history, due to them being racist and offensive. If people can't discuss the editing of an article without putting their prejudiced lies and ignorance in, they can hardly be trusted to edit an article in a balanced way!

Is it a crime to attempt to register to vote? BillMasen (talk) 13:36, 26 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I understood it the original KKK did perform some vigilante activities against those who committed crimes but were not punished by the Union occupation (such as the fictional example in Gone with the Wind, though I am unsure if incidents like that really happened or were just fiction made up afterward), but they were mostly just a terrorist group, or were only considered vigilantes for resisting Union occupation which many saw as illegal. Emperor001 (talk) 04:22, 2 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Creep Catchers named as a 21st Vigilante according to the Lawsuit[edit]

According to the suits Ryan Laforge and Surrey Creep Catchers have been named for defamation and various civil rights violations in the allegations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 3 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is the current definition correct? I've never heard of vigilante being defined as "a person who violates the law to exact what they believe to be justice from criminals." The first time I heard the word in school, it was defined as a "self appointed law enforcer". I just cecked a Websters dictionary from the seventies, and it defined a vigilante as a member of a vigilance organization, and vigilance organization was defined as a group of people who enforce the law when the current legal system seems inadequate. Emperor001 (talk) 18:02, 20 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, "enforcing the law" outside of the law is, prima facie, illegal. Someone who brings criminals to justice without breaking the law is just a good citizen, aren't they? BillMasen (talk) 01:23, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How is enforcing the law illegal? I can see how one can break laws to enforce it (like in Batman, you see destruction of property, removal of evidence, trespassing, no detetive or bounty hunting license, breaking and entering, etc), but isn't it possible to be a vigilante withouth breaking the law (such as just roaming around town looking for bad guys)? Emperor001 (talk) 20:40, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No: if you're just "roaming around, looking for bad guys", you are not a vigilante because you are acting inside the law. A vigilante metes out punishment to criminals, outside of the law. If you see someone beating up a man, and you stop them, that's within the law. If you follow the attacker home and punch him in the back of the head, that's vigilantism. (talk) 23:40, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then why is Batman considered a vigilante? He apprehends and questions criminals, but doesn't punish them. He always turns them in to the authorities. Emperor001 (talk) 18:31, 23 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose because he breaks the law in pursuit of them. He commits assault, undertakes illegal searches, questions people under duress, etc.
In any case, Batman is, of course, a fictional character. All of the real people considered vigilantes on this page have taken revenge against criminals, not just turned them over to the police. BillMasen (talk) 00:00, 24 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just checked your link, and this is the definition. "noun 1. a member of a vigilance committee.

2. any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.

–adjective 3. done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures: vigilante justice."

Therefore, the current defiition in the article is inaccurate. Emperor001 (talk) 01:50, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What do you think is the difference in meaning betwen "without recourse to lawful procedures/taking the law into his or her own hands" and "violates the law to exact [...] justice from criminals?". If we copy their definition wholesale, that is just plagiarism. It is a fundamental requirement of understanding something that you are able to express the same meaning in different words.
Someone who acts "without recourse to lawful procedures" is necessarily using unlawful procedures. The only possible ambiguity I can see is in the phrase "taking the law into his own hands". But the use of this phrase almost always implies breaking the law in the pursuit of enforcing it. BillMasen (talk) 14:58, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This poorly written article cites in its 21 century section that "Alejo Garza Tamez a 77 year old Mexican hunter and businessman from the state of Nuevo León, Mexico, killed four and wounded two other members of the organized crime band Los Zetas, when they tried to take away his ranch from him. He is considered as a folk hero in Mexico.[28]" But this case is clearly NOT a vigilantism case at all: This person clearly requested help and protection from the authorities before he was attacked by the organized criminals. He lkived with his family in his own property (his ranch), when he received treats from the Los Zetas drug cartel, pretending him to pay for his life and property, He rejected the treats and prepared himself, sending his family to other safer place and gathering his legally owned firearms, then he waited for the criminals and died in the attack when the criminals invaded his home and ranch, but taking the life of several of them before dying. Portraiting him as a "vigilante2 is completely wrong. It is a case of Self-Defense when a group of criminals trespassed his property and shoot at him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 4 May 2012 (UTC) Reply[reply]

I took out this example for the reason given above. JudahH (talk) 08:36, 3 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society not valid for modern-day examples of vigilante organizations? While they are not "hard" vigilantes (their personal enforcement is "soft"--i.e. stink-bombs, etc.), nevertheless their ideology and tactics are definitely vigilante. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 20 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with you, however I believe the original complaint was that there was no source calling them vigilantes. I'm sure there must be plenty out there tho, find one and you can add it. Ryan4314 (talk) 15:07, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's the source [4]. It is a collection of press reports (a lot of them using the "vigilante" word) hosted on the actual Sea Shephard website. Ryan4314 (talk) 15:26, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Re-added. Ryan4314 (talk) 15:31, 21 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I reverted the ip edit which took away the "unlawful" description. Unlawful may be an uncomfortable word, but I'm just trying to save us all from the pomo cognitive mush in which we are all slowly drowning :).

I suppose we could change it to "illegal", but does that really change anything? BillMasen (talk) 12:30, 20 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

unlawful 2[edit]

i changed the following "unlawful" into unjust (as shown with the >> and << characters below)

"A vigilante is someone who unlawfully punishes a criminal, or participates in a mob or conspiracy to mete out >>unlawful<< punishment to a criminal or criminals."

this is because vigilantes act on what they think is unjust, not necessarily on what the government thinks is unjust.

but this change was reverted, i'd like an explanation please. (talk) 22:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because "illegal" is correct. Anything else is just a particular POV on that government's laws.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 22:17, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
vigilantes act on what they or their group think is unjust, not on what the government thinks is unjust, "unlawful" or "illegal". the vigilante's opinion may or may not be related to the governments opinion of the act, hence "unjust" instead of unlawful or illegal, which are by definition restricted to the opinion of the government or another group, not necessarily including the vigilante. (talk) 22:32, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's still "illegal". I think fuel duty is unjust. If I don't pay it, then I maybe I'm a vigilante - but it's still "illegal"  Ronhjones  (Talk) 22:35, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extralegal is Best[edit]

Vigilantism is interwoven with enigmatic ethical ambiguity, so just plain out calling the phenomena "unlawful" (with connotations of ethical evil) is reductionistic... The term "extralega" is best, as it makes no moralistic commentary either on behalf of the putative government (and its putative monopoly over punishment) or in the vigilante's direction... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 21 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This reminds me of the insistence on calling illegal immigrants "undocumented," not "illegal." What, are we going to start calling rapists "unauthorized sexual partners?" Illegal/unlawful is very straightforward... regardless of the moral permissibility of vigilantism, it is clearly illegal. Let's ditch the political correctness, mk? -RR —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Unlawful" is incorrect as a blanket statement. I agree with the OP. BriEnBest (talk) 10:48, 8 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original Research[edit]

According to who to does modern vigilantism descend from frankenpledge ? Traditions of community law and retaliation existed in nearly every society I'm sure... Did frontiersmen really invoke this directly ?

Some citation would be a reasonable start.

Provisional IRA[edit]

Why are the Provisional IRA on this list? It was my understanding that they only cleared out criminality in areas they controlled so that they could profit from illicit activity. They also collected "Revolutionary tax" or, as normal citizens refer to it, "protection money". Not to mention the sectarian violence and random car-bombings they committed. Hardly a "Vigilante group".--Crimzon2283 (talk) 19:45, 24 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The IRA punished all criminals in their areas, especially drug-dealers, as many people mistrused or feared the 'legitimate' police the RUC, the people in these areas saw the IRA as their police force and were even supportive enough of their activities to ask them to continue 'policing' these areas even after the IRA announced there ceasefire.--PALESTINE1234 (talk) 14:23, 18 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not a single member of the PIRA or any other legit Republican organization has ever been charged with hangling drugs, or extorting money from drug dealers. Any claim alluding to the idea that this takes place in any form is basic British propaganda and should be handled as such. --Codu32 (talk) 00:34, 09 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most of the movies based on superheroes could be considered as vigilante fiction-perhaps, perhaps not[edit]

Ones where the police publicly and openly cooperate with the protagonist should not count. In that case, that would make the person an "instrument or agent" of the government.

I refer you to United States vs. Jarrett (2003) which dealt with the matter of private individuals acting as "instruments or agents" of the government, and how that does not exempt them from refraining from unreasonable search and seizure.

So, in the 1994 film version of The Shadow, he acted as a vigilante, since the police did not openly support him (in fact, the police commissioner at one point says that he will appoint a task force to stop the Shadow from interfering in police affairs).

Also, one has problems defining what counts as part of the genre; do Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Tarzan, and so forth count as part of the genre?

01:20, 8 January 2011 (UTC)Enda80 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Enda80 (talkcontribs)

Ran Tanning[edit]

Saturday 28th March 2009

The retired banking boss Sir Fred Goodwin whose windows were smashed and car vandalised this week as a reprisal for his gargantuan and unearned pension payout should count himself lucky for had he been living in this part of the country 100 years ago then the consequences would have been far more severe. Instead of a foray lasting a few minutes by angry anti-capitalist protestors outside his Edinburgh home, he would have found himself at the mercy of the mob for several days, anxious to vent their wrath by what was known as ran-tanning, a particularly nasty form of social punishment prevalent in the South Lincolnshire fens until the early years of the last century.

Ran-tanning was a notorious method of expressing public indignation whenever someone transgressed the bounds of what was perceived to be good behaviour but as with all illegal gatherings the definition was usually confined to that laid down by the ringleaders and often closely resembled a riot. If a person had committed some act of which the other villagers disapproved, they would congregate near their house carrying an effigy of the persons who had incurred their displeasure and making a terrible commotion by beating with sticks, tins, cans, pots, pans, buckets and kettles, playing mouth organs, booing, shouting and singing and on occasions lighting bonfires. The demonstrations were carried on for a number of nights in succession, usually three, after which the effigy would be burned.

This was a form of vigilantism likely to provoke social disorder, doled out to anyone who breached the local code of what was right and what was wrong and was particularly likely in the case of sexual misdemeanours such as adultery and domestic incidents such as wife beating. In fact, cases became so frequent and so serious during the late 19th century that they eventually attracted the attention of the authorities and ran-tanning was banned under the Highways Act of 1882. Yet cases persisted. Illicit sexual liaisons were particularly prevalent in this country during the Great War of 1914-18 when husbands had either volunteered or been conscripted into the army to fight in the trenches of Flanders and France leaving wives behind who were vulnerable to temptation although always wary of what the neighbours might say.

Not all of the soldiers were sent home immediately after the Armistice and by the following summer, hundreds had still not been reunited with their loved ones and in 1919, a case came before the magistrates at the town hall in Bourne when it was alleged that a woman and her lover had been ran-tanned by a group of men at Rippingale on August 29th on the grounds that she had been carrying on with a sergeant-major on leave while her husband was still away from home serving with the army.

Eight men were summoned to appear for unlawfully joining in a brawl and the case created so much interest that the courtroom was crowded with villagers for the entire two-hour hearing when the police described how they had been called out to quell a riot in which a crowd of men were causing pandemonium outside a house by beating drums, tins, buckets, plough shares, old pieces of iron and playing instruments, shouting and yelling, later gathering in a nearby field where two effigies were burned. The disturbances continued for three nights by which time the entire village was in a state of commotion and the noise could be heard two miles away but the men refused to stop despite warnings that they were guilty of disorderly conduct.

Solicitor Cecil Crust, who appeared for the defendants, argued that the men were not guilty of a brawl and quoted the dictionary definition as “a noisy quarrel” and whilst he admitted that there had been some noise, insisted that the men were not quarrelling. His argument was overruled by the magistrates and Superintendent Herbert Bailey, head of the Bourne police, told the bench: “The conduct of these men was disgraceful and it is abominable that people should be subjected to such rowdyism.” After some discussion, the magistrates agreed to the charges being withdrawn provided the defendants expressed regret for their actions and undertook not to repeat such incidents under any circumstances in the future although they were ordered to pay costs.

Ran-tanning was by then dying out and the last recorded case in these parts was at Quadring Fen, near Spalding on 15th February 1928 when the victim was a woman alleged to have made remarks scandalising her neighbours. Police intervened and 23 people were charged with disorderly conduct when the court was told that ran-tanning was perhaps the only survival of mob law which existed in this country. All of the defendants were fined between five and ten shillings and ordered to pay costs and there have been no further cases of this nature since.

Perhaps the case of Fred the Shred has provoked a return to this old but effective method of castigation because we hear that banking fat cats in London have been warned to be on their guard during the G20 summit next week in case of revenge attacks by militants for the collapse of the financial system. We wonder if ran-tanning is likely to spread to the capital and if this is why the police are being issued with dozens more taser guns.

I guess that is a form of vigilantism banned and actually recorded in court records -

is original ref - someone can add it in —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 15 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

London 2011[edit]

Vigilante groups have been organized in the city: --Bentaguayre (talk) 10:42, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I dispute this point, groups defending their property isn't vigilantism, it's just self-defence. None of these groups are going out to punish 'rioters' or seek justice. Experiment 47 (talk) 22:48, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Internet Vigilante[edit]

Haning read the above comment on "A vigilante is a person who violates the law...,", I see that my entry for 1954 Thailand Village Scouts does not belong here, nor should Their 21st century Internet censorship vigilance groups are called ... cyber scouts.... be moved to 21st century section. However, Both China and Thailand do have internet vigilance groups that seem to cross the line into being internet vigilantes advocating violence. That violates Thai law, but only victims get prosecuted. I'm asking more experience editors to recommend where this should go. One such Thai vigilance group maintains a Thai-based Facebook group at called in English Social Sanctions (SS). Following the Thai general election, 2011, the new Minister for Communication and Technology (MICT) Captain Anudith Nakornthap of the Pheu Thai Party went on record declaring:

(…) from now on, the ministry’s officials and staff members of every level have been urged to be more stringent in the pursuing of violations against the Computer Crimes Act and lèse majesté on websites, by enforcing the law to the fullest.

— translation


  1. ^ Saksith Saiyasombut (August 16, 2011). "Thailand's lese majeste law claims another victim, opposition grows" (news, commentw, reaction). Siam Voices. Asian Correspondent. Retrieved August 18, 2011. [Name of accused] was apparently 'witch hunted' by a Facebook group calling itself the Social Sanction (SS) group, according to his father.

--Pawyilee (talk) 04:57, 18 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

George Zimmerman[edit]

Seems he should be added to 21st century vigilantes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 8 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Vigilante comes from spanish[edit]

Not from italian. Italian language influence over American English in the XIX century was almost inexistant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It looks like someone has been continuously making POV (to put it gently) edits for a long time[edit]

I just read the article for the first time today. And noticed that it was horrible. I reverted it. You can look at the last revision. It starts out "It is my own personal experience that the vigilante..." and goes on to become even stranger and even less encyclopedia-an. After reading through the talk page a bit, it seems like these strange opinionated edits have been happening for some time. I'm a bit new, and the editor doesn't have a profile or was not logged in. I think the opinionated-ness of the edits warrant some kind of preventative action. BriEnBest (talk) 10:45, 8 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've noticed that too. This article does seems to attract a lot of unsourced POV. The topic is very powerful. Fortunately, a lot of editors seem to be watching the revisions, but it may be time to lock the page. Richard Apple (talk) 12:28, 8 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

exact dictionary definition[edit]

I see there was some dispute about what the precise dictionary definition is. I shortened it but here it is in full: a self appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.

I think that what is up there now is an adequate and succinct summary of that. This is the 2005 edition of the OED so it might be different now. Risingrain (talk)... Why it matters 13:09, 13 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Yes, but those groups had a legitimate name that they were called... What was that name that we used to call those neighborhood watch groups? Obviously, neighborhood watch groups is one such name, but there was another more informal name that they were given. Many neighborhoods, particularly in the poorest areas, had them, to patrol and keep the piece. They had a visible responsive presence and were able to deter a lot of crime, without a lot of reciprocal violence. Blacks patrolled black neighborhoods and whites patrolled white neighborhoods. It was basically insiders patrolling their own neighborhoods and to some extent trying to keep outsiders out... But as a deterrent it worked and the police became largely disinterested... Stevenmitchell (talk) 04:43, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sea Shepherds Conservation Society[edit]

This was repeated. I delete the unnecessary second mention.

Death of Joseph Smith[edit]

I`m no a mormon, but his death by a lynching mob was a great new in U.S.A. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:34, 4 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Origins of the Word[edit]

Anyone with the relevant citations feel like tying this back into the original vigilantes of the Roman world? (talk) 11:08, 3 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2011 comment on partisan- and NPOV-ness[edit]

moved down from top where it had been inserted

The whole basis of this article is HIGHLY partisan and not a NPOV. I don't have time right now to change it or revert some of the changes that have been made. It sounded like there was some interesting, useful stuff about definitions and history, that would have added complexity to this article. Why do I state this? Well, the whole definition, upon which much of the article and edits are based, is factually wrong. That first sentence which defines vigilante, according to the OED (without page number) is a FICTIONAL REFERENCE. The OED in fact says: "A member of a vigilance committee" and "A night-watchman", with "vigiˈlantism n. (orig. U.S.) the principles or activities of vigilantes or vigilance committees."


"...the nationwide group known as the "Rain City Superhero Movement"..." The RCSM is not a "nationwide group". It solely consists of members located within and operating within Seattle, Washington. It is commonly known in the Real Life Super Heroes community that Phoenix Jones and his RCSM team are notorious for self-promotion online with extensive internet marketing and advertising to the local Seattle news agencies, as indicated within The inclusion of his group of ten members (as opposed to the RLSH, which has hundreds of members nationwide and around the globe) within this Wikipedia topic looks like spam from one of the internet marketing people on his team. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:31, 1 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2015 comment "Much of this article is false"[edit]

moved down from top where it had been inserted

Much of this article is false. A vigilante arrests and or punishes or harms people illegally. A neighborhood watch person or paid or volunteer security guard patrols, observes and reports to police and can make citizens arrests as can ANY citizen. Making a citizens arrest is not a vigilante action. Guardian angels are a neighborhood watch volunteer security guard organization. So are real life super heroes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:30A:C07A:25C0:D162:19B4:A525:D495 (talk) 00:24, 20 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merge discussion (Vigilante, vigilante justice, frontier justice)[edit]

I propose merger of two existing articles Vigilante (which discusses "vigilante justice") and Frontier justice (to which Vigilante justice redirects. Hmm, perhaps one article titled "Vigilante justice" would suffice. It includes frontier justice (vigilante justice only on the old U.S. West frontier?), which should perhaps be a section. By the way I find my way here because of the disambiguation page Summary justice which happens to have 15 mainspace articles linking to it, which need to be disambiguated. The options to link to are not clear. Also there is Frontier justice (disambiguation) and Vigilante (disambiguation). The Vigilante article seems to be the most developed, IMO. Comments? --doncram 12:58, 3 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see that Summary justice article was converted into a dab page by this edit on July 4, 2015, which eliminated treatment that seems to have been pretty good to me, now. Perhaps that should be reversed.
Also the 15 inbound links to summary justice have disappeared; they were in the monthly challenge. How were they changed is a concern. --doncram 11:39, 5 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They're still there, and are:
Since they probably were created by the July 4 change, they should probably all go to the summary justice topic not to vigilanteism. May be fixed by changing the dab back to an article, but need to check them. --doncram 12:48, 5 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that Frontier justice is a poor title, so I say do not merge. CaptainGummyBearz (talk) 18:36, 26 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would also note that under no circumstances would a Summary judgment be referred to as "Summary justice"; I am removing that from the list. bd2412 T 00:34, 6 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Requested move 23 July 2019[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: moved (non-admin closure) ~SS49~ {talk} 01:40, 31 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

VigilanteVigilantism – The article is about the concept of vigilantism rather than the term vigilante. Lmatt (talk) 16:30, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Support - The terrorism article isn't called terrorist either, mormonism isn't called mormon, etc.ZXCVBNM (TALK) 17:29, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support per nom and Zxcvbnm. We have an article like loss prevention because we aren't particularly focused on loss prevention agents. The reverse of the current situation should occur, where vigilante becomes the redirect. StonyBrook (talk) 20:34, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose as it's not that often talked about in the abstract -ism form, "vigilante" is more recognizable and is the search term people find this article with. I don't find it convincing to compare it to terrorist or similar terms that are commonly talked about as concepts such as murderer, felon, dancer. (The article on Mormons is under Mormons.) The current intro and first section seem to flow well using the word "vigilante", I don't see a reason to make it more abstract. -- (talk) 21:53, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The target articles of the redirects mentioned are murder, felony, and dance. Mormons is about a (specific) group, whereas vigilante is not. StonyBrook (talk) 22:42, 23 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Vigilantism is a commonly understood and commonly used term and it is our usual practice to title articles like this. -- Necrothesp (talk) 13:12, 24 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Wiki Education assignment: SSC199 TY2[edit]

This article was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 7 November 2022 and 16 December 2022. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Jmwhitfi23 (article contribs).

— Assignment last updated by Jmwhitfi23 (talk) 13:05, 2 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article mentions many precursors and parallels to what is typically referred to as vigilantism, and has a long list of examples. I'm surprised that organized crime organizations like the Sicilian Mafia are not mentioned. (I suppose some of the examples mentioned could be categorized as organized crime organizations, but then that is not made explicit in the article.) I suppose it is not only in movies that such organizations may violently maintain a form of extralegal justice or order, both internally, punishing members for various alleged transgressions, and externally, punishing transgressions allegedly committed against members of the community in which the organization exists, or against "clients" paying protecion@ money. (Actually, early in the lead to the article Protection racket there is this link "... protection outside the sanction of the law ..." to the present article.) Of course, a valid source would have to be found. (talk) 09:26, 6 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article mentions a few examples of modern vigilantes who dress up or otherwise identify as superheroes. It's easy to understand why that comes to happen since several well-known superhero characters operate as vigilantes in their fictitious universes. I think it would be natural if this fact was stated more clearly - maybe in a brief section on "Vigilantism in fiction". Of course, proper sources would be needed. (talk) 09:35, 6 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]