If “The Purge” Was Real, Would You Participate?

A recent Facebook post may be cause for concern.

If “The Purge” Was Real, Would You Participate?

In disclosure, I love “The Purge” films. Each and every one. I deviate from the opinions of those who believe they are simply B-movie fodder for the wish-fulfillment set, and hold the opinion that the politics in these films are acutely well-informed and, unfortunately, not all that far from reality … which makes them, and the current USA Network television series spinoff (though I personally far prefer the films), all the more effective.

In other words, overall, I think this series is very smart.

“The Purge” franchise was created by James DeMonaco, who conceptualized the boldest of ideas: “What happens when all crimes are legal, once a year, for a 12 hour period?”


The crimes can include murder, rape … nothing whatsoever is off-limits. As terrifying as the idea is, what has been equally compelling is just how popular the films have become. To date, the four released films (there is a fifth on the way) have grossed over $450 million worldwide on relatively low budgets.

On a global basis, each successive film performed better than the one before.

I won’t spend time in this piece dissecting the films, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, see here for a comprehensive article from Vulture.com:


If you elect not to open the article, read this from its open: As the intro to the first Purge tells us, the year is 2022. Unemployment is below one percent. Crime is almost nonexistent, and U.S. has been pulled back from the brink of collapse — a full stock market crash, skyrocketing crime and unemployment are mentioned in newscasts — by a group called the New Founding Fathers of America, who rose to power eight years before (making it 2014 in Purge time), and whose governing doctrine exists as a kind of new religion, complete with a prayer. The NFFA implemented the Purge as a means of basically concentrating crime and mayhem into one single night (even called a “holiday”) in which all crime is legal and all emergency services are suspended for 12 hours, beginning annually at 7 p.m. on March 21.

Again, to be clear, I love the films. I eagerly look forward to every release in the series as I’m a political junkie, and I believe the films strongly satirize post-Obama America. Further, I’m simply a fan of all movies with something to say. “The Purge” films appeal to the same instincts in me that applauded George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” for social commentary wrapped within genre convention.

Some reading what follows may say, “Well then, aren’t you half the problem?” I’ll never convince, nor will I try to, those who do not know me that I’m just a viewer and have no violent fantasies for which I’m awaiting permission to realize. I will tell you, I’m soon to be 56 and I hold no grudges for whatever that’s worth. So, to my own answer to the lead-off question, it’s a “no.” I would not participate.

Onward …

What is somewhat worrisome to me, though, is this: If you google “The Purge,” you will see the results of recent searches, which include:

What day is the Purge in real life?

Is there such thing as a Purge?

If I move to America, can I legally take part in the Purge?

How long has The Purge existed in America?

Further, the recent Facebook post that inspired this article contains the following comments to the above question:

“Yes”: 72 responses, including …

Yes, but just on one person.

Sure would.

I would have to. I got too many haters.

Hell yeah I would participate.

While everyone is shooting each other, move over. Here I come!

“The Purge” happens every day anyway. Some want to turn to movies who haven’t watched the news at all or read a newspaper in quite some time. Many people are already legally killed, and robberies legally happen.

Just once. There’s about six people I’d escort to the next life. Then I’d build my secret underground bunker to retreat in for every year thereafter.

You mean we don’t do it every year anyway?

Yes indeed. 100% no question.

Yes, I already have a list.

Most likely, yes, probably have to take a few Viagra first.

A part of me thinks I would because fuck those rich assholes.

“No”: 6 responses; no explanations as of the time of this writing.

My honest thoughts regarding the above comments are that they are tongue-in-cheek. My honest concern about those same comments emanates from a contemplation of the question: What if I’m wrong?

I believe my concern is grounded. How often, just this year alone when there’s been a mass shooting, for example, have there been signs of a potential tragedy as foretold on social media, signs that everyone ignored?

No, I’m not contacting any authorities over a post that asks a “What if? question. I just find it fascinating that, if some of the responses are not jokes, there is some real pent-up anger out there.

Well, we all know that there is; I just hope that anger does not spill over.

And there are, of course, some openly angry people out there.

In recent days, threats of an upcoming “Civil War” have increased in intensity due to Donald Trump’s impeachment status. His staunchest supporters are stating openly, on both television interviews and social media, that they will engage in violence if he is removed from office or not allowed to run in 2020.


To be clear, this is an article on “The Purge” and not an anti-Trump piece. I include the above video clips to further my point that we should, at the very least, always keep our eyes open.

That said, to the original question, how many of you would participate? Can you answer honestly?

Or will you keep quiet now that I pointed out the curiousness of some random Facebook comments?

Regardless, thank you for reading. My goal with this article has been to provoke a meaningful conversation, so please comment if you are so inclined.

P.S. As 2020 beckons, allow me to offer this site as a public service:


Thank you for reading.

If you have found this article of value, feel free to recommend, share and follow me here on Vocal, where I publish stories daily on a variety of topics.

If you would like links to new stories sent directly to your inbox, please email me at [email protected]

fact or fiction
Joel Eisenberg
Joel Eisenberg
Read next: Best Customizable Games
Joel Eisenberg

Joel is a writer-producer, and partner in TV development group Council Tree Productions. He has developed projects for Ovation TV, TNT, Decades TV and FOX Studios, among others.

See all posts by Joel Eisenberg