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Headscratchers: The Purge
  • Taking the premise at its face value, the legal repercussions of the purge are ridiculously impossible. For several months at least, you would be arresting people for their crimes and they still might have to stand trial, during which time they have to prove that their crime took place within the "legal" time, and ALSO that they didn't premeditate their crime before the beginning of the purge, which in terms of laws as we understand them also opens them to prosecution. The police, the prison system, and the courts would get YEARS of backlog from each purge, which would grow exponentially worse with every purge until there would be no point in even having a legal system. The only way I can see of the court system keeping pace with this Sisyphusian nightmare would be to send out a hit squad to legally murder all witnesses and claimants from previous years during the purge, and that starts to sound like letting wasps loose to control the spider population and then releasing bloodthirsty vipers to cut down on your sudden wasp infestation.
    • In terms of premeditation: it's only illegal to premeditate something that's a crime. Thinking "I'm going to murder someone WHILE ITS LEGAL" shouldn't be a problem.
    • As to proving it happened after the Purge, that shouldn't be too difficult. Once the Purge ends, the police go back out, and presumably arrest anyone still committing a crime. If they see someone with a bloody weapon (but they didn't see the murder), they may investigate it or they might not. The only people who would be arrested are those the police saw committing illegal acts while it was illegal.
    • if it's legal to murder people during the Purge, then presumably it's also legal to destroy the evidence that the murder might have been premeditated, no?
  • Are all crimes actually legal? In the trailer we're shown a brief shot of one of the family's neighbors sharpening some instrument of torture and/or murder, so it's not against the rules to prepare for The Purge ahead of time to get the most out of the 12 hours. So what's going to stop someone from amassing a huge criminal army to take over the country the second The Purge starts? Or hijacking a nuclear submarine and blowing the whole country up? Or killing the President? It's unlikely, sure, but certainly not impossible.
    • What's to stop the arsonsts from setting fire to half the national forests, or the sadists from breaking into a zoo and torturing and killing all the animals? Are companies going to dump all their tons of chemicals into lakes and rivers during that night?
    • It seems there's no rule about PREPARING to defend yourself during the Purge, so there's nothing stopping a zoo or military installation for REALLY preparing for it.
      • Pretty much. In the movie it mentions that there are regulations on the types of firearms you can use as well as the level of government officials you can target, so at the very least "killing the President" and "blowing up the country with a nuke" are right out. What's more, the main character makes a living selling home security systems so people can protect themselves from the purge so I highly doubt the military and zoos aren't equally ready.
      • Actually, the regulations concerning what firearms are allowed might as well not exist. Sure, rocket launchers aren't allowed, but since the police won't be doing anything until the purge is over there's still nobody who's going to stop you from using the rocket launcher.
      • Rocket launchers aren't exactly easy to acquire compared to other forms of weapons, though, so it makes it a lot harder to acquire and a lot easier to tell when someone has (since their use is also distinctive); if rocket launchers are listed as a prohibition even during the Purge, then possibly the authorities make an exception if someone manages to get their hands on one.
    • My guess is that the "all crimes are legal" thing is a bit of a smokescreen; as we see it, the Purge has clear class-warfare elements in that it basically seems to be a bit of an excuse for those in power to pick on and torment those without power without any kind of punishment or reprisal. So while it might be legal to go around hunting down the homeless and impoverished (because — in the mindset of this society's elite, at least — they're scum and deserve to be picked off) or to target your neighbour out of envy (because no one in the elite really gives a shit about that), there's probably all kind of secret loopholes and exceptions which mean that any crime which seriously threatens the existing power structure — attacking the government, the extremely wealthy, etc. — gets curb-stomped quickly.
  • What's the rules on kidnapping or theft? I can understand getting to keep what you steal (although the concept of someone explaining to police that the stolen property in their house was legally stolen is amusing), but do you get to "keep" who you kidnap? Or do you need to return them before the 12 hours is up?
    • More importantly, how does car registration work? If you steal a car during the purge is there a form you have to fill out to reregister it?
    • Detaining someone beyond the time limit would probably be prosecuted. Of course, if they can't boot you out before the clock runs down, they may have to kill you so you can't complain about their sloppy timing...
  • Just how exactly is this rule enforced? Are we to believe that suddenly all criminals, people who by definition do not follow rules, are content to commit all their crimes on a scheduled night once a year, and the rest of the 364 days they wait calmly and patiently? Does any of this make sense?
    • The point is that its not enforced. Every other day, a criminal would be caught and sentenced as per the law. The one night, though, there are no police to stop them. It does not need enforcing.
      • What I meant was, how did giving criminals a chance to commit their crimes on a a certain night somehow reduce the crime rate to its lowest ever (and somehow reduce the unemployment rate as well; I guess the home security system industry is hiring everyone)? It must either because in the future, we have a new method of enforcing crime or the vast majority of the people who would commit crimes are cooperating by following this one rule for some reason. The latter is absurd, because criminals are not the sort of people who are patient or follow rules; that why they are criminals.
      • Its not just criminals that would take advantage of it; if you do someone wrong, even if you legally get away with it, come the Purge, there's nothing stopping them from taking their revenge on you or hiring someone to. That probably adds to it, as a vigilante can go nuts during the Purge and dispense all the justice he wants.
      • For all we know, prisons practice the Purge internally also. How many inmates will be left alive if the guards just lock the outer doors, unlock all the cells, and bunk off for a twelve-hour coffee break?
      • Actually, prisons are so highly organized by gangs, that such a scenario would likely eliminate only prisoners who couldn't get into one. Most likely the whole night would be a standoff.
      • Gangs are usually competing against each other for territory, influence and power, though; it's hardly unlikely that in such a scenario prisons would erupt in mass-scale gang warfare as grudges boil over and more powerful gangs seize an opportunity to take less powerful gangs out of the picture (or less power gangs attempt to weaken more powerful gangs) without risking any further punishment for it.
      • There's also the Unfortunate Implications discussed by the movie that the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill and those in general who lack the resources to protect themselves from the Purge are its disproportionate targets. So those who are most likely to be the perpetrators and victims of crime are mercilessly eliminated.
  • I can buy Sandin not counting on a group of well-armed, well-funded crazy people deliberately breaking in as a reason for his security system to fail. But why in God's name wouldn't he have a backup generator for the rest of the house?
  • There are no laws. But police and emergency services are suspended? How exactly is that enforced? If it isn't nothing stops police from going out and shooting up people.
    • Most police would probably be more concerned with protecting their own families than anyone else.
    • I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking what prevents the police from participating in the purge, or asking what prevents them from trying to protect others, regardless? If it's the latter, they'd probably be punished for breaking orders. If it's the former, well, what the first guy said.
      • Punished... by law? After all, those orders are only there by virtue of the law, and if the law is suspended for 12 hours, they're free to go protecting anyway. They're even free to break into their own police station and steal all the weapons specifically for that purpose.
      • We only that that the Purge protects people from arrest and prosecution. A cop may participate in the Purge while being immune to criminal prosecution, but not be immune from getting fired.
    • If emergency services are suspended, does that mean that anyone unlucky enough to suffer a heart attack or a house fire or whose town gets hit by a hurricane on the day of the Purge is screwed?
    • Yes, since the Purge is meant to purge the U.S. Basically, it's meant to kill off as many people as it can and "thin the herd", so to speak.
  • Does this movie simply assume that all Humans Are Bastards? Just like there's nothing stopping anybody from going on a murderous rampage, there's also nothing stopping anybody from building up their house into a fortress, herding their family inside, and waiting it out. I'm sure there's a higher number of people doing this than there are people who go outside and start killing/stealing (if only because there's a high chance of being killed yourself).
    • No, it doesn't, it's simply a question of scale. Say you live in a city of 50,000 people (not particularly large by today's standards). Lets say that 95% of people barricade their homes, and only 5% go out looking for people to kill. That means there are now 2,500 people looking for something to kill - that's pretty terrifying.
      • Just wanted to add that you're pretty accurate there. 5 percent is around the rate of people with anti-social behavior.
      • Anti-social behavior is not the same as murderousness. Most jerks and shut-ins would not willing to up and kill people simply because no one will stop them.
      • Yes, anti-social does not equal murder inclined. 5% vastly overestimates the amount of homicides in the industrial world, the murder rate is more like 1 in 100,000 or 0.001%. And of most of those murders are spur of the moment passion things, someone flies into a rage and grabs a hammer-like killings, not premeditated, cold, calculated murders. Those are even a smaller fraction, so it doesn't really make sense for the Purge to meaningfully reduce violent crime rates in any fashion.
      • Is that in the industrialized world as a whole, or America in particular?
  • How the heck does having crime legal for one night bring down crime rates and unemployment? That makes no sense whatsoever. If anything, it would increase the problems a country has to face—There would be higher crime because of things like revenge kills for misdeeds done during the purge, illegal arms trading for preparation for the purge, and let's not forget the fact that criminals will not sit idly by twiddling their thumbs just because they get one night to let loose. And how does any of this even affect employment? How does this practice not completely destroy the governmental system? You can't tell me that everyone in the country thinks this is a good idea and isn't willing to revolt against a power that enforces this policy.
    • Theoretically, it eliminates many of the people that would be committing crimes or using unemployment benefits or are just general drains on society. Some would also restrain themselves to commit their crimes during The Purge, so they wouldn't count towards crime statistics. Imagine if someone felt anyone on welfare was a waste of taxes; that person might kill as many as they could and reduce the number of people on welfare. Many poor also commit crimes because they don't see any other way to achieve success or are desperate in some fashion.
      • Those "drains of society" are still consumers who put money back into the economy. Getting rid of the unemployed would also drive wages up and raise prices as now the pool of potential employees is smaller and overall more highly qualified, and thus more expensive.
    • What about things like destruction of property? It's got to be a drain having to fix up all the damaged buildings.
    • People out for revenge would wait for the next Purge, rather than attempting it when the law is against them.
    • There do seem to be some implications that the Purge doesn't work as well as it's touted, and that a lot of what we hear about the Purge's positive effects is propaganda.
  • If they purge the prisons on Purge Night, then any prison sentence becomes a death sentence if it extends into that period. That would have the effect of getting rid of a lot of the criminal element with impulse control problems. It would also mean that avoiding jail time for even small offenses would become very important- encouraging the smarter criminals to do most of their crime on that one night.
    • Based on early speculation that the Purge is used largely as an excuse to Kill the Poor, crime and unemployment go down because the groups most likely to be criminals or economically impoverished are being systematically exterminated. And since the Purge is national policy, anyone who tries to revolt against it becomes a criminal themselves...
    • Plus, everyone who's complaining about the crime rates being higher because of all of the "Crimes" committed during the Purge doesn't seem to understand that since they aren't considered crimes during that 12 hour period, they're not going to be included in the Crime Stats. As long as you do your "Revenge Kill" that night, it's still not illegal. Or, alternatively, wait until the next Purge to get your vengeance without consequence.
    • Upper class people are just as likely to be criminals as the poor. Although, despite the higher damage they do, white collar crimes aren't punished as severely or as frequently caught—Furthermore, poor people are more likely to be victims of crime, but the purge is specifically removing them from the equation. ...So from a statistical standpoint that makes some sense. But being labeled as criminals wouldn't stop people who feel that the Purge is a horrifying practice and needs to be ended (it would just cause a civil war). The fact that they apparently have set up a tourism industry around it suggests that other countries are aware of this too, and I doubt there isn't anyone worldwide who thinks the US needs to be invaded and given a stern talking to.
      • There'd be plenty who wouldn't care, at least not enough to use force to stop it. Among those that wouldn't care (assuming current trends are the same as they are in the film) are most of the countries that have a large enough military force to unilaterally act or be the leader of a multi-national force. Those that might care (European countries plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and possibly Japan and South Korea) do not have large military forces or at least not large enough to withdraw troops from, large scale foreign deployment capabilities, and take quite a bit of convincing to send troops anywhere. I just can't see them, or at least enough of their politicians, having enough political fortitude to engage in a war that will cost them much for no real gain.
  • What about financial crimes? What's to stop an accountant, banker, or hedge fund manager from using Purge Night to dump all their clients' funds into their own personal account? It would seem that the complete undermining of all financial responsibility one night a year would pose a far greater problem for societal cohesion than the bouts of random violence.
    • My guess: all the hedge fund managers put it into their contracts that everything has to be locked down on that night. If its found that they even made it POSSIBLE for them to move money around during the Purge, they committed fraud by not honoring the contract, the fraud was committed BEFORE the purge, thus they can be prosecuted.
      • in addition, we only know that the Purge grants immunity from arrest and prosecution. There is no indication that there is immunity from lawsuits for acts done during the Purge, wherther it be fraud, assault, or wrongful death.
  • If they are killing off the poor, then who are they getting to clean their toilets, pick their crops and do other tasks that the wealthy aren't likely to do? I didn't see any robots (the kids toy not counting.) It's the immigration problem writ large.
    • They're presumably not killing all the poor off in one twelve-hour stretch; even if the rich people are going around hunting all the poor people, there's a lot more poor people than rich people in the United States, and all the poor people presumably aren't just standing around patiently waiting for a rich person to come and bump them off. Even after the mayhem of the Purge, there's still going to be plenty of poor people survive the night ready to pick up where everything left off the next day.
  • So if someone's a green card holder living in the US, is it still legal to kill them? They're not a US citizen.
    • I'm assuming that part of getting a green card is accepting that they must follow the rules and laws of the country. It likely would be in this world. Of course, that assumes foreigners trying to move to America or that any that aren't rich are there.
  • Maybe they explained this in the movie, but what government would condone this kind of idea? Not only have other tropers mentioned the economic damage above, but we're supposed to believe that the entire United States just threw up it's collective hands and said, "Pass this law that condones any crime for a set period"? No politician would vote for this in their right minds, no district would even think this was a good idea, and the Supreme Court would strike it down as unconstitutional the very day it passed via two-thirds, as not even Nixon would sign this into law. Added to this, we're only seeing one side of the coin; wealthy family in a neighborhood filled with green-eyed neighbors. What about neighborhoods where they've actually organized against the Purge, small militias and watches that enforce their own rules until the 12 hour limit ends? If all crime is legal, then setting up these watches for the Purge is also allowable.
    • They keep referencing the "New Founding Fathers," which implies that the entire US and probably the rest of the world has changed in a very major way. I imagine it's a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world, where this sort of thing can be approved, because the alternative is even worse.
      • Since the original "Founding Fathers" wrote the Constitution, this could mean that the "New Founding Fathers" could have attained this title by rewriting it, creating The Purge as a constitutional right
  • Why would any of the rich people have a lock in? If you've got the money and aren't going to participate in the Purge, it would make much more sense to lock your house up as best you can with the security system, hide your valuables, and take your family on a trip to another country that is not (currently) practicing the Purge.
    • Yeah, that's what this troper is thinking too. Why don't the Sandins and other wealthy families go out of the U.S. every year before it happens, lock the house like you said, and then don't return home until after it's done?Since it occurs on the same day every year,this is a foolproof measure to survive it every year, even moreso than a security system.
  • Why...just, WHY did they let the neighbors go at the end when it's obvious to anybody that the neighbors will just try again? Hell, what's stopping them from just saying 'screw the rules' breaking into their home and killing them, purge or not? They know how to breach their security now so that's not even a guarantee and they outnumber the Landons! Letting them leave the house alive is practically asking them to try again.
    • Maybe the Sandins let them go, because since they now know this, they will move to a different location as soon as possible.
      • Or the neighbors know that the Sandins will be ready the next time they try.
    • On an emotional level, the Sandins are traumatised, shellshocked and tired of the bloodshed. They just can't bring themselves to kill anyone else if there's no immediate threat. Not ruthlessly logical, perhaps, but traumatised, shellshocked people who are tired of bloodshed rarely operate according to strict and ruthless logic.
  • So what is stopping a paramilitary organization to provide collective security? I can imagine that for one day the neighborhood watch would get a couple of shotguns and star patrolling the streets ready to shot anyone trying to do something nasty. Itís not like the absence of cops would create an absence of people wanting a collective system of security.
    • Well nothing's stopping them, I suppose, but maybe in this particular neighborhood (where people apparently just care about social status and expressions of wealth) there aren't many (or ANY) people willing to put themselves at that kind of risk. And, of course, if you did form a group of neighborhood protectors, everyone would be aware of its existence (because they'd be looking for people to join, and because people probably check the rich neighborhood first to steal stuff), so people participating in the purge would know to kill the members of that organization off first to weaken the neighborhood, if that makes sense.
    • Trust is surely a factor, too. How can you be sure that the people you recruit to patrol your neighborhood with weapons aren't secretly planning to loot the place themselves? There's no contract law during the Purge, either; you can't exactly sue the neighborhood watch if its members decide to betray their responsibilities.
      • Where in the movie does it state that contract law ceases to exist during the Purge?
      • Laws against breaching it are not enforced if it's done during Purge Night. A law that isn't enforced effectively doesn't exist.
  • Why are the rich kids so stupid as to try to break into a well-secured private home to get at a single homeless person rather than leaving to cruise around for another target? They can't be sure how many people are in the house, they don't know how well armed they are, and the residents would obviously know the terrain better than the invaders. That just screams unnecessary risk.
    • Perhaps you answered your own question. Maybe they were just being stupid, and none of this occurred to them.
    • Maybe they were intoxicated.
    • Because they were batshit insane. These people went out specifically to fulfill what they believed to be a social obligation to kill poor people. They fixated on this one homeless dude, and when he was denied to them, they flipped out.

  • How can there possibly be rules saying that a certain kind of weapon isn't allowed? Let's say somebody decides to use a rocket launcher to kill the neighbours. Sure, that's against the law since that weapon is too powerful, but since the police aren't going to stop anybody rocketlaunchers might as well be legal; heck, for all intents and purposes they are legal since you can use them without being stopped by the police.
    • Nobody would stop you during the Purge, but you could still be identified and charged with criminal use of the weapon on the morning afterwards.
    • It also doesn't preclude a military response. Emergency services may be suspended, but you can bet the nearest military base is going to take action if someone starts taking out entire buildings.
    • Thanks. It really bugged me that they didn't take into account the fact that somebody might still use a rocket launcher to go through with a plan that would have been impossible with the police, but this makes it make a little more sense.
  • I was talking about this with a friend but during the said 12 hours why is everyone in America fixated on murdering one another when they can just do other stuff that is illegal during the 12 hours such as public urination, streaking, buying smokes and liquors for children, drunk driving, dating girls younger than 21, doing drugs in public, selling drugs in public, picking up a prostitute, engaging in prostitution, and removing tags off of mattresses. Then again if they did then the movie would be a comedy... however the only illegal thing I'd do during the 12 hours would be public urination because it's legal as long as the 12 hours are in effect.
    • Probably because doing those things would make you vulnerable to the people who decide to go the "let's kill people!" route. Shops that could sell contraband or restricted items might find it safer to lock up and prevent looters, for example. Plus there's packs of rich kids going around murdering the homeless; that's hardly a good time to be working as a street walker (a dangerous enough profession with the laws in place), or wandering around drunk.
  • It bugs me how the gang was running around freely. Why don't groups of killers/looters turn on each other? If there's a group of rich kids going around killing the homeless, surely it's not much of a stretch that the other end of the spectrum might want to engage in class warfare too (especially when the neighbours turn out to have exactly that motive for wanting to kill the protagonists).
    • That's the basic problem with most science fiction movies like this. The filmmakers aren't interested in realistically exploring the idea, they're just trying to shove a message down your throat and are hiding behind the sci-fi/horror genre because they figure you'll be too entertained to notice it. Yes, in reality, it wouldn't be a bunch of rich people running around murdering the poor with impunity. If the 1992 L.A. riots are anything to go on, all the rich people would be locked up tighter than Fort Knox and the poor would be attacking each other.
  • Ok so the only rules of the Purge are that government officials of "ranking 10 or higher" must remain unharmed and usage of weaponry above "Class 4" (such as WM Ds) is forbidden. Well if emergency services like the Police, Firefighters, and Ambulances are shut down for the duration of the Purge then who makes sure that no one attacks a government official or uses WM Ds for the duration of the Purge if there are no cops around?
    • Even today the President and other top members of the government have access to secured locations with military protection. In the world of The Purge it's not far-fetched to presume that they would have their own much better secured bunkers to hide out for 12 hours. It's still illegal to target them, but good luck trying.
  • What do you think insurance is like in this world? Either you make it so the policy lapses on the purge or you charge extra for that coverage to deal with the money you lose from all the damaged property.
  • Emergency services shut down. This seems to include hospitals. So what happens to people already INSIDE? Are they left to their own devices? If not, how do you get the personnel to show up on that day, risking their own lives?
    • Most likely the employees pull double shifts (16 hours), coming in a couple hours before the Purge and leaving a couple hours after. As for security, hospitals probably hire enough guards/mercenaries to deter the crazy idiots and the not crazy ones realize that destroying a hospital they might well need after the Purge is a stupid idea.
  • What percentage of the nation's economy would go just into repairing the damage, physical and otherwise, done during the purge?
  • Just how good is the security system actually promised to be? Note that James mentions outright that the gang could tunnel underneath the house or gas them out. But for the gang to gas the family out requires them to open the house to let the gas in. This means that James knew they could break in even with the system set; and not just "break the door down" either, since you want a small opening to prevent the gas from escaping. Yet James still sold it and the neighbors still bought it, which means either James did in fact scam them or they are complete idiots. Factoring in that the power system is external, and...Just how stupid are the wealthy people buying the security system only to realize that it sucks a little while later? On top of that, just how wealthy are they that they can afford a full-lock-down home security system? People don't have that much cash to spend on such a system unless they were saving up for it or are the filthy rich among the filthy rich. Which then means they got angry for him selling them either what they wanted or what they couldn't care less about. And, in my book, this would support them being stupid, right?
    • I guess I ought to clarify: the system blatantly doesn't cover all the holes which could be used for entrance; this is proven to us when the one window is shot at to let the gang members in. It also blatantly doesn't cover the floor, which is still a floor and not reinforced with metal. You don't need to be smart to see that anyone who wanted to could find either an unprotected opening or dig their way in, and I'm assuming construction vehicles exist in this universe so anyone determined enough could use them to dig.
    • Also, I do acknowledge that someone may say "but it's proving that the Purge doesn't work since it's making them more violent." Then is the world at large so filled with complete idiots that despite countless people giving the same story (since this surely isn't the first time something like this had happened in the film's universe) of petty gossip being turned into fights to the death with no one batting an eyelid?
    • More or less, it works just like any other security system. Sure, it can be bypassed, but why bother with the extra effort when the next house over does not have a security system. And, much like today's security system, since it's seldom tested, it's assumed to work a lot better than it actually does.
  • Considering just how deadly the Purge can be, it makes me wonder just why the home security systems didn't have active countermeasures? It would have been quite funny for the Polite Leader and the gang to get vitrified by the security system the moment he pushed the doorbell. It would be like Home Alone from Hell.
    • That would be monumentally more expensive.
  • How do Fire/EMS people handle the purge? Do the firefighters just sit in the firehouse all night waiting for 7AM to go run around and put out all the fires? Maybe sometimes they just go put out fires anyway because there are no laws so stealing a fire engine is legal?
    • Some of them might steal a fire engine and put out anyway. of course, while the Purge immunizes them from prosecution, there is no indication that it would immunize them from termination.
  • Why would you bother with theft, murder, or anything else dangerous? If all crime is legal, wouldn't it make more sense to have a party that reaches new levels of decadence with, like, every hooker/all the drugs currently in America? I'd be throwing a rave and pirating enough films to prevent a sequel.
    • The problem with that is you still have the murderous psychos that you must defend yourself against. A rave would thus be a bad idea. Besides, violent action is the point of the purge.
    • It's likely that there are a few people who, say, hire a bunch of call-girls to come around and spend the entire twelve hours doing loads of drugs and having loads of sex, or something — but unless they want to become a victim of the rampaging psychos filling the streets they're probably smart enough to do it inside a well-secured house. Pirating movies is also not something you really need to be hitting the streets for assuming you have an internet connection. So these things probably do happen, we just don't see them because they're not the sort of crimes that a horror-action movie like this is built around.
  • Okay, seriously. The whole concept of the Purge, even cutting the usual slack fiction gets, is ridiculous because HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. This film makes the classic logical fallacy of 'Any human is capable of anything' and 'Some humans are capable of the most atrocious things' to conclude 'Every human has a monster inside them and many would glory in the opportunity to let it run free', and the idea being that society would be a lot healthier if everyone had a chance to 'let the freak flag fly'. There are many kinds of anger, many kinds of grudges, and many kinds of darkness in the human mind, and not only do all of them not lead to 'Remove the rules, remove humanity and become a beast that glories in horrible deeds' end result, only a select few of them do. A lot of people, even if they THINK they'd want to do something bad if they were freed of all responsibility, would find themselves unable to when the chips were down. The only thing the Purge would do is abandon the majority of the whims of the most deranged, broken, and screwed up people, none of whom likely contribute anything to all the good stuff the Purge has supposedly caused. It's beyond insulting and a heartlessly cynical concept of the human race presented as an absolute truth, the equivalent of nihilism as masturbation.
    • Perhaps, but the whole set-up of The Purge is basically a Hand Wave to facilitate an action movie, and any message the movie presents has to be viewed on those terms. Yes, it's a bit of a grim, nihilistic viewpoint on human nature, but the movie's basically a homage to 1970s/1980s cult B-movie horror-action movies, not many of which were exactly optimistic either. Plus, some of this is a bit unfair; the movie clearly has a rather grim and pessimistic outlook on human nature but the idea that it's suggesting that this society is in any way healthy seems to be missing the point somewhat; if anything, the movie is clearly suggesting that this society is, at the very least, incredibly dysfunctional.
      • As the original poster of this complaint, James De Monaco, the scriptwriter and director, seems to have realized his error, and the sequel reveals several key new facts that show that a lot of what the first film suggested was, in fact, a lie.
    • See above. It's not a matter of what percentage of the population is going around looking for warm bodies to stab new orifices into, it's how many people like that are going around.
  • Would children be targeted during the purge? What if it happened during school?
    • Presumably some children are targeted during the purge (the Sandins' are), but as for school the Purge explicitly is shown to happen overnight.
  • One aspect poorly mentioned is arson. The most deadly action someone could take would be to set fire to neighborhoods. With no fire trucks available, it becomes trivially easy to burn down whole swaths of cities and suburbia. People could not just hide in their homes to survive, they would need to actively engage those nearby.
    • Who's to say that sort of thing doesn't happen? I'd imagine that the kind of places most likely to be impacted and devastated by such arson are impoverished areas where landlords are less concerned about fire safety standards, and it would be seen as a way of "purging" society of undesirables in one fell swoop.
  • What prevents people from forming groups to protect themselves from those who wish to cause them harm? Granted, a vigilante mob can be just as dangerous as a marauding hoard of killers, rapists, and thieves, but at least they would help keep their neighborhood/streets safe from death and bloodshed.
    • Who's to say some don't? It's obviously not happening in the Sandin neighborhood, and the poor would still be disadvantaged against a better-armed adversary who practices the same mentality.
    • As of the sequel this is happening... although for some ungodly reason it seems to have taken them 9 years to figure out they could...
      • Where is it said that this is, indeed, the first such group formed?
  • Not exactly a headscratcher, but a potential general answer to many of them; it seems to me that a lot of the "The Purge wouldn't solve [X] / doesn't account for [Y]!" headscratchers on this page can probably be resolved by the simple fact that we only really have one source that says that the Purge encompasses every type of crime or does any meaningful kind of good at all, and that's the heavily-implied-to-be-vaguely-totalitarian-at-least government. Let's face it; a government that's willing to legalise the en-mass hunting and murder of large parts of the citizenry for one night a year out of what largely seems to be class snobbery is probably not going to be above lying about how effective it is or completely honest about any loopholes that might exist to prevent the kind of crimes they still don't want to happen.
Pulp FictionHeadscratchers/FilmPush

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