What if the Purge Was Real?

Imagine that once a year, for 12 hours, practically all crime is legal, and anything you do in this time frame will have no repercussions.

Somehow, in this alternate world, this creates peace and prosperity for the rest of the year and is a perfect system to govern 300 million people.

This is the concept laid out in the Purge films, a movie series that took an interesting thought experiment and then promptly fell flat on its face with the idea.

Yet the concept never stopped people from theorizing how such a scenario would play out.

I'm one of those people. Using the information about laws and politics from the movie itself, I'll create an alternate timeline and theorize just what scenarios the series got right and what they didn't.

In the lore, an economic collapse led to a political party, the New Founding Fathers, to take power in the U.S... Immediately after taking control, the idea was to install a new amendment into the Constitution, the annual Purge.

If I were to be very realistic about this scenario, there would be a revolution right off the bat. If the Purge were implemented, nobody would allow it to happen and immediately attempt to overthrow the New Founding Fathers.

No mainstream political group in the U.S. would support such an idea. But never mind that.

The new government is set up, and the first annual Purge day is upon us (March 21st) And a revolution just simply doesn't occur at the news of this idea.

There are just two rules in the Purge: You can use any weapon, only not explosives. So, no grenades, missile launchers, or mortars.

You cannot kill government officials that are ranked 10 or higher; the film never specifies what this means, but I'm assuming it means that the Senator's off-limits while your mailman is free game.

The entire country shuts off its emergency systems (police, fire department, hospitals) in these 12 hours.

Then after 12 hours, everyone is just supposed to stop, or they'll be charged with the crime they just committed.

Kill someone at 7:01, that's now a felony. You ask, "But how would anyone know you murdered someone at 7:01?"

Well, they wouldn't, because there wouldn't be any cops. The system isn't very smart. In this alternate timeline, March 21st is here.

The countdown starts, the Purge officially begins. So...now what? In the movie, bands of psychos go around slaughtering anyone they see. Originally, I was going to tear this idea apart.

The rule-of-law is not the only thing holding back normal Americans from massacring each other. Morality and basic human nature still apply in a lawless environment.

Killers would certainly take advantage and rampage, just not thousands of psychopaths. Spoiler alert: In the film series, these masked psychos are not natural.

They're paid by the U.S. government to go around massacring the lower class because surprise surprise, Americans don't naturally want to kill each other.

I would agree with the movie on this aspect. In this alternate timeline, most Americans would bunker down in their homes, streets would remain empty, and only psychos or paid thugs battle it out on the roads.

Usually, in lawless environments, such as a riot or a natural disaster, looting, robberies, rape, generalized disorder occur. However, none of this happens in the Purge.

With death-squads patrolling the streets, any crowd-gathering is immediately a target and fired upon. People would be too terrified to go outside so typical scenes of looting stores couldn't occur.

Ironically, in this alternate timeline,  the government-paid thugs would accidentally keep true riots and chaos from happening. Most murders that do occur would be domestic ones between disgruntled family members.

However, this is still extremely small. In the film, somehow by implementing the Purge, unemployment went down, the economy boomed, and the nation was better as a whole.

This all happened somehow by killing off the poorest of society: those who couldn't afford to protect themselves or seek shelter.

In this alternate timeline, the government's plan to kill the poorest doesn't work out this way, there is no economic boom, and unemployment doesn't go down.

In this alternate timeline, the Purge does nothing but further destroy the United State's already collapsed economy.

Since there was no fire department, arson and massive city-wide fires could cause billions of dollars in damages.

Even an accidental kitchen fire that goes out of control in an apartment building could potentially destroy entire economic centers. Banks can be robbed, companies can use corporate sabotage to destroy competitors.

Small businesses are now terrible ventures, as they can be looted one day out of the year. Insurance is a nightmare. 

The economy does not work well when financial assets (small companies and large companies, practically everything) can be burned down across the country in one night.

The stock market would collapse the day before the Purge, and every year the Purge was continued. In our timeline, riots affect parts of cities for years.

In Philadelphia and Baltimore, some sections have still not recovered from riots decades ago. Riots don't occur during the Purge, but the consequences of the violence and fires don't go away when the Purge ends.

The money would have to come from somewhere to reconstruct. The Purge, in a practical scenario, would basically be the U.S. shooting itself in the foot every year and calling it progress.

In this alternate scenario, the economy had already collapsed so the global effects of the Purge might not do much more damage. However, implementing the Purge would just keep kicking an already down U.S. economy.

In the film series, the Purge was created by the One Percent to kill off the poor sadistically. IT'S-A METAPHOR! Yet, taking it at face value, it's laughably stupid.

The Purge would do nothing, but allow the economy to get punched and gutted every year. Further hurting billionaires in one of the few places that actually matter: burning down half the city.

Realistically, Americans would have revolted the second the Purge was proposed, but it's fun to theorize. If it ever does happen, and everyone arms up, we can guarantee one part of the economy is going to skyrocket.

What if the Purge Was Real? What if the Purge Was Real? Reviewed by Mahi Uddin on February 28, 2020 Rating: 5

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