an eye for an eye

The Techniques and Ethics of Revenge
by The Last Viking

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"

- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice.

"Oh people, know that you have committed great sins. If you ask me what proof I have for these words, I say it is because I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you!"

- Genghis Khan, Bukhara 1220

Have you ever been cheated? Been a victim of a scam? Been unfairly treated? Or simply just been harassed by someone? When you can't get remedy from your offender, and the justice system fails, the thought of revenge increases and becomes an obsession. You start to plan your retaliation. Questions such as, "What to do? And how to do it?" start to pop up in your head, and you may not be able to find answers in the normal world. Your next stop should then be The Avenger's Front Page, which is dedicated solely to this issue.

About five years ago, I wrote a little text on revenge strategies. The unnamed file was about 4K back then, but today it is over 130K and it is known as The Avenger's Handbook. A few weeks after the newsgroup alt.revenge had been created, in late '93, I saw the need to consolidate all the good ideas and schemes being posted there. I dedicated each scheme to it's perpetrator, and from that moment the handbook expanded into a big, collaborative book, written by hundreds of authors.

It eventually became apparent that I couldn't post the handbook to the newsgroup every week. I had to find a way to make it publicly available without wasting too much bandwidth. After messing around with FTP sites for a while, our University finally managed to put up a Web server, and then I distributed TAFP through the Web.

In addition to The Avenger's Handbook and the alt.revenge FAQ , TAFP features a long range of revenge texts. Most of these texts were written and uploaded to underground BBSs during the mid and late '80s, later to be spread by the underground elements of the Internet. Naturally, there are also references to related sites, such as bookstores, suppliers, private investigators and useful tools for vengeance on the Internet.

As the page gained popularity, I noticed that people were classifying it in the "underground" category. I found this peculiar, since I was only trying to help people on their mission of vengeance. After some reflection, I realized that revenge also had a dark side, and that it could be abused in a highly destructive manner. This, and a period where users in the newsgroup were talking about methods to kill animals, triggered the writing of the text "Ethics of Revenge," which can be found on my site.

In "Ethics of Revenge" I clearly state that responsibility is put upon the shoulders of an avenger. An avenger is acting as the jury, judge and the executor and must realize that that demands accountability. One of the key elements to remember is that the magnitude of the revenge should fit the crime. I also emphasize that one should wait a while before doing anything, as the old adage that "revenge is a dish best served cold" is very wise. It is also important to think through the consequences of ones actions; be prepared to do the time for the crime.

There are many ways to get your revenge. The simplest ways are where you cut up a few car tires or throw eggs at the offender's house. There are more complex, creative and customized ones, such as sending a fax mimicking internal diagnostic messages like "System Error 1207: Internal controller failure. Turn the machine off and contact your dealer" to the business who screwed you. Armed with a Social Security number, you can help your target to fill out his tax forms. Don't forget to put a little extra on his income section, and while you're at it, throw some anti-tax or anti-government profanities in there as well.

People come to alt.revenge for several reasons. You have the regulars who are there to explore the humor and creativity often found in a good revenge scheme. These people help another demographic, those who seek advice on how to get even with their offenders. There are also destructive people whose only goal is to hurt and play pranks on innocent people; we usually ignore them, or direct them away from alt.revenge. The newsgroup also has the typical problems of the constant stream of spammers, flamers and cross-posters. The answer to that? Well, we ARE alt.revenge. We know how to handle them.

Revenge is about liberating yourself from a degrading treatment or an unacceptable situation. It is not evil, and I feel it is justified, because one can't lay down and accept all the abuse caused by violators all around.

The Avenger's Front Page can be found at

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