Editorial: “Purge Night”

“The Purge”, a horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco released in 2013, depicted a night in which all laws were suspended, allowing all crime, including murder, to go unchecked. On July 18, 2014, its sequel “The Purge: Anarchy”, was released in theaters.

In the first film, the opening screen shows a message explaining that in the movie, set in 2022, the United States has an unemployment rate of four percent and the economy is at an all-time high. This flourishing is attributed to an event known as “the Purge” – an annual event in which all crimes, including murder, are legalized for one night. The concept, in theory, is to allow people to let out their aggression. In reality though, the Purge is no more than a cleansing of the poor, homeless and those without the means with which to defend themselves.

Barring murder (presumably), this idea of a night of violence and vandalism has translated to the real world. A night riddled with crime solely committed for the purpose of chaos seems fit for a horror movie, but that exact thing is trending across the country, including Topeka.

“Purge Night”, as it is called, hit Kansas City Aug. 15 and 16 and came to Topeka the night of Aug. 30. Citizens from both cities posted on Twitter on their respective nights, either claiming bragging rights for crimes committed or condemning the idea.

The goal of “Purge Night” is to wreak enough havoc to draw the police out. After that, intentions differ. Some participate, seemingly, for the sake of sensationalism. Others, however, name police as the actual targets of violence.

While the magnitude of the actual “chaos” caused by “Purge Night” varies city to city, and in most cases is not incredibly severe, it is a real thing. The problem, more so than the cost to repair the damage done, is the fact that damage is being done at all – that a movie can so easily influence the minds of Americans.

Seemingly senseless acts of violence and vandalism happen every day, but for the cause of these acts to be a movie truly speaks to the nature of many of our nation’s citizens. It shows a devastating lack of intelligence and ability to reason – not a good sign for our country.

More cities are still on lists posted online that are due to be hit by “Purge Night,” but eventually these nights will end. But the problem of such primitive behavior from members of society and the malefactors that come with these individuals will continue to plague our country day after day.

It is unfortunate that “The Purge” series seems to have triggered nights of crime, but at least it gave us a glimpse of the true colors of part of our society. According to the movie, such behavior is just a part of human nature, but if that were the case, many more people would participate in “Purge Night” than actually do. This, then, just proves that if the “need” to strike out against others is part of human nature, most people have evolved and transcended that aspect of their nature, and those that haven’t remain evolutionarily behind.