As you may have noticed by now, the Internet is a pretty dumb place. So dumb, in fact, that people believe there will soon be real-life "purges" coming to many major U.S. cities this week—Philly included. So much for information accessibility breeding a more informed populace.
For the uninitiated, the concept of a "purge" comes from the 2013 horror movie, The Purge, wherein the U.S. government allows a 12-hour period each year that renders virtually all crime legal. As such, people rob and murder to their little black hearts' content, getting out all their demons and dropping the U.S. crime rate as a result. Its sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is in theaters now.
Circulating through social media and flyers, news of Philly's apparent coming purge began cropping up earlier this week following similar rumors in Louisville, Ky., where it all reportedly started this past Friday. Evidently, the hoax had business owners shutting their doors and residents locking themselves inside as the city's police went on high alert.
From there, hysteria took over online and a number of U.S. cities ended up with their own purge dates, with Philly's slated for Friday, Aug. 22 at 7 pm. Other cities like New York and Phoenix, Ariz. got dates, too, along with the entire state of New Jersey all at once:
It could be viral marketing for The Purge: Anarchy, or perhaps an extremely disagreeable response to the Ferguson, Mo., protests, but one thing is for sure: There are not going to be any purges—not now, not ever. At least, not ones sanctioned by our local or federal governments like in the movie.
See, in The Purge, the writers were smart enough to have the U.S. government amend the U.S. Constitution to include language that allows purges—an act that otherwise would leave our police departments open to massive lawsuits as a result of not enforcing the laws they're sworn to, you know, enforce. Vice's Mike Pearl breaks it down:
No city or state in the US has the authority to declare a purge. If, hypothetically, the police intentionally backed off for a night, and the people who were the victims of crimes pressed charges afterward, but the bored receptionist at the police station was like, "Sorry your grandma was murdered, but nothing was illegal that night. Next!" they could just take their complaints to the state or federal level. It would be easy to argue, even though there's no law that explicitly bans a jurisdiction from decriminalizing things like theft and murder. You would just use the always handy Ninth Amendment, which says you have rights not explicitly outlined in the constitution. It wouldn't be hard to get a judge to agree that you have the unalienable right not to be murdered or robbed with the tacit approval of the local authorities.
The purge in the movie was made possible by amending the constitution. I feel like I would remember reading about it if there had been a 28th Amendment that added purges to the fabric of our political system.
Still, though, as NBC10 notes, area police forces are "being warned to be prepared for any issues" this Friday. You, however, can go about your business—you're safe.
Or, at least as safe as usual. Good luck.