As per this question it seems that the word "thug" has become taboo (in at least some US subcultures) after being allegedly adopted for racist use.
Without going into the merits of the taboo, it seems to have become widespread enough that using the word on the internet may be unwise. Is there a good alternative?
Someone mentioned "goon" in the linked question, but that's not right: in international English, at least, a "goon" works for someone whereas a "thug" is usually acting on his own behalf. "Criminal" is too broad in one sense and too narrow in another, since "thug" was often used to describe someone whose behaviour was aggressive and socially unacceptable but not necessarily literally criminal. "Hooligan" doesn't seem quite right either, though it is close.
As an example of the sort of context the word I'm asking for might be used in, see this 1989 Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.