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The Purge – it is a concept where laws stop being enforced and the crazies of the world let loose and do whatever they want without consequence. But it has happened before, and it was exactly what you expect, murder, chaos, and complete anarchy, as society saw the worst in people.
If you haven’t heard of The Purge, it is a popular film series wherein for one night of the year people can do whatever they want without the restriction of rules or laws. Basically, for 12 hours, anything goes, and is supported by the government due to crime rates dropping, population control and revenue from weapons and security.
But what if the purge happened in real life? Well, it did. In Espirito Santo, Brazil, where police went on strike and the murder rate climbed by 650% in just three days.
Let’s take a look at what happened in that version of the Purge, and see what would happen and how to survive in a real-life purge.
For me, I always like to think that in tough times, people would work together to pull through. I have seen this happen in natural disaster cleanups and flood recovery efforts, where communities have banded together to volunteer and help clean up, repair, and share supplies. But that’s not all true, and the Brazil Purge was a reflection of the chaotic morals that some can people possess.
When police in the State of Espirito Santo took a six-day strike over work conditions and wages in February 2017, it was a sign to many that people could do whatever they wanted to with no repercussions whatsoever.
In one city alone, just after a few days, there were a reported 52 murders, thousands of cases of rape, theft, shops being robbed, vehicles being torched and people fighting with guns and machetes on the streets attacking and killing whoever they please. It was an awful scene not only for Brazil but for humanity.
As a response to the lawlessness and chaos, the Brazilian military stormed the streets to retake control from the ungrouped criminals and restore order and discipline.
To survive the Brazil Purge, many locals stayed in their homes during the entire ordeal. They boarded up their windows, kept all lights off, and sat armed with whatever they had in their house listening to the screams and gunshots in the streets outside. One of the locals said that things were “absolutely crazy” and that there were “people running around with guns in pretty populated areas, dozens of people stealing from malls, even dead bodies on streets”.
Because of the complete lawlessness, schools, parks, and health services closed. This meant that there was no way any injuries, medical treatments or vaccinations for a yellow fever outbreak which Espirito Santo residents were battling with.
This goes to show that if the purge really did happen, there would be much more at stake than just violence and disorder, as services have to close down. Hospitals, food supply lines and other necessities that we need every day would have to shut down due to security concerns, which would cripple a city, state, or country, months after social order has been regained.
The idea of the Purge isn’t new. In fact, the idea of the Purge comes from the concept of two different ancient traditions that had lawlessness and social disorder as their overarching themes.
Saturnalia – The first tradition was the Roman festival Saturnalia. The festival was a week-long carnival that allowed illegal activities, as well as role reversals where the servants of that time were served by their masters. During the festival, not only were ritualistic sacrifices made to gods, but it was also a holiday from all forms of work. This meant that schools were closed, courts were not open, and no enforcement of rules was able to be carried out.
The role reversal side of the festival enabled slaves to mistreat their masters which I am sure many servants enjoyed the experience of. Every slave had the utmost freedom to do and say whatever they wanted. This kept with the overall theme of the festival, which was to turn the current world upside down and cause chaos by reversing everyday norms and practices.
Krypteia – Another tradition, which I believe has more of a similarity to the Purge’s theme, is the Krypteia tradition of Spartans. Specially chosen Spartan men who had excelled in their training were instructed to go out into the Helot countryside and surrounding villages and kill any person they wanted and take any food they pleased. The tradition’s reasoning was to prevent the threat of rebellion and to keep the Helot population in control.
If these pre-18th Century festival were to be revived today, we would ultimately see something similar to the Purge happen and a recreation of the Brazil Purge. But what if the purge was real? Let’s take a look at what would happen.
As far as the film series goes, ‘The Purge’ is a fictitious ‘civic tradition’ embedded in America’s constitution by a political party that goes by the name of “The New Founding Fathers of America”. Their rise to power was during a financial collapse where poverty, crime, and national debt was at its highest. In the films, the Purge is a tradition that benefits the nation’s health by greatly decreasing crime rates, unemployment, a strong economy through the purchase of weapons and home security, and population control.
Now don’t forget, this is only a movie. But what if the purge was real? While Brazil’s Purge was unorganized and started without much notice, the purge in real life would be quite different and as an organized and calendered event, is something that would allow for more preparation and leadup.
If the purge was to happen, in the buildup before it people would stock up on supplies and protection. This was one of the resounding factors that the film hit on with the purge’s economic success – gun sales and home security purchases would go through the roof in the weeks and months ahead of the event. I have no doubt that preppers would have already stockpiled what they need well ahead of an event such as this, and would be the best prepared to keep their family safe.
Businesses – I imagine businesses would need the most preparation for a purge event. While violence on the streets is one of the biggest issues, looting and theft would come in at a very close second, as all laws are removed. This means that if you are a shop owner, you would have to consider using high-impact proof and bulletproof windows with exterior sheeting protection.
Governments would also have a responsibility to safeguard banks. In a world without rules or laws, while most of the criminals are committing violent crimes, the more organized criminals will be targeting financial institutions in an attempt to make a high monetary gain in their 12-hour lawless window.
Community meetings – While businesses and government buildings will be focussing on their structural protection and defenses, community organizations will group together to have a plan of attack in regards to what they will be doing during the purge. The film shows that most people have a hidden agenda and that their true inner-criminal nature comes out during the purge, I believe that a higher amount of people have decent morals and would rather stay safe than to be on the streets looking for potential victims.
The community meetings would no doubt focus on the concern of safety for those who are more vulnerable in society. This includes the elderly (retirement centers and elderly living on their own), children and animals.
Bugging out – If there were to be an event like this, there will be mass traffic jams of people leaving city areas, looking to escape to the wilderness or safe country areas with few, or no other, people around. There is no doubt that the worst possible place you could be in during a societal breakdown or a purge would be an urban or city environment. The more people there are around you, the more likely you are to be the victim of a criminal.
As with all rules of bugging out of an event, leaving early is the wisest decision. Packing the car and driving out of the city just before a purge starts will leave you stuck in thick, congested traffic surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of anxious and stressed people looking to protect themselves and their families in a lawless world. Instead, planning a much earlier departure would be a safer bet.
Where would the best place be to bug out of a purge? Out of the country, of course. If a purge is only country-wide, that means the lawlessness only applies to that area. Ideally, situating yourself in an embassy or international airport would afford you the protection of international, not domestic laws. However, as social chaos ensues, I’d much prefer to be out of the country, or at least out of a busy area.
Now while these are some of the preparations to keep yourself safe, or your business secure, in a possible purge, there will also be meticulous planning and preparation done by the people who would benefit the most out of it – the criminals and gangs. Most organized crime syndicates and gangs would have predetermined spots they would hit, whether they would be opposing gang-owned territories, common enemies, or financial institutions.
The streets would be quiet for the most part. There are, of course, areas where it would be busier. Most of the busy areas would be ones where we already see much of the violence on the news, such as gang member-dominant areas and low-socioeconomic regions. The violence (statistically already high) would just increase in those areas.
For more wealthier neighborhoods, families would instead focus on staying indoors and safe, rather than risking their lives on the street for the sake of being a criminal. If the purge was real the choice would be simple, if you want to be a criminal you would put yourself at risk of being killed by another criminal. If you want to stay safe, staying in a secure home, or bugging out, would greatly increase your chances of survival rather than getting involved in a gunfight.
While the purging in the franchise films works well as people slip back into their normal, non-criminal mindset and claims it helps the nation, in reality, this would not be the case for people or society.
For people in the purge – For the people that have participated in the purge, it is not just a paintball game where you put down your gun at the ring of a timer. If your family or friends have been killed by someone there is a natural tendency to seek revenge and continue the fight, whether it is legal or not. This is definitely the case for gangs who are at war with each other. There is no peace treaty at the sound of the horn. Instead, they will most likely continue warring on well and truly after a purge has finished.
For the more civil individuals that participated in the purge, there would be no trust in a community for them. In a true lawless society, we would see some people change and become deviants, anarchists and sadistic as their true inner-nature is revealed. The same applies to the concept of the purge. Those nice neighbors of yours might be true inner criminals, and after seeing that, how could you, or anyone else in a community, accept those people knowing full well that they cannot be trusted at all?
For businesses – I imagine no matter what precautions a lot of businesses take, nothing can withstand a truck driving through the front door allowing the complete looting of the business. During natural disasters and protests, damaged stores would generally be able to claim much of the damage and stolen or missing contents through their business insurance, however with the purge, insurance agencies would either have a clause rendering purge-related claims invalid, or many insurance agencies would go bankrupt with the number of claims they would have to pay out.
For emergency services and medical facilities – Medical admissions is where the aftermath of the purge would be felt the most, as people start checking themselves in with gunshot wounds, knife wounds and other things resulting from the night before’s activities. This would create an immense over-demand on the medical system with the country’s hospitals not having enough space, staff, or supplies to cater for all of the injuries and casualties a purge has caused.
Financial – While the film’s purge was formed as a way to boost the country’s economy, in fact, a 12-hour purge would likely cripple the economy. Trucks would stop driving, supplies would stop moving and trading, and systems would stop functioning as workers would all be pent up in their homes waiting for the criminals to have their free-roam period. Then, as the country resumes trading, it would be slapped with an enormous bill as the country goes into recovery crisis mode with emergency services dealing with the cleanup, public works repairing public property, and businesses out of operation leaving a high rate of unemployment. This would cripple a country’s services, economy and productivity rate and a reason why a purge would never happen.
Okay, so let’s face it, whatever government is present, there will never be such a system as the purge. It just won’t happen. But that’s not saying that something similar can’t happen, as we saw in Brazil. Instead, what is more likely to happen is lawlessness during a crisis. So how would you survive a purge scenario? Here’s some simple tips.
Don’t be there – No matter what the circumstance, get out of dodge and go somewhere safe and well ahead of time. Doing this early ensures that you don’t get caught in the congested traffic with everyone else getting out, or that you are blocked by criminals eager to start early. Instead, leave at least a few days, if not a week, early and have the supplies to last you an extended amount of time longer than just the set period.
If you have no option but to stay during a purge or chaotic society, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of survival.
Stay indoors – In an event where criminals are in the streets doing whatever they want, your best bet of survival is to hide and stay indoors. The priority is to make sure your home is secure, but not so secure that you have high fences, barbed wire and security cameras all the way around, as that just creates more of an incentive for criminals to see what is behind all of that security. Instead, using more ‘grey man’ home security techniques, as well as reinforcing any entry points to your home from the inside will work as a much more efficient type of security.
Hide even further – If you have a hidden attic, basement, or a wardrobe that is hard to find, hide in that. Having that extra level of invisibility when criminals are doing a quick search of your house could be enough for them to conduct a search and deem the house as clear.
Have something to defend with – If it’s a person carrying a weapon, you can’t fight it barehanded. Simple home defense items are kitchen instruments or garage tools that are able to cut or bludgeon an intruder.
Stay away from the safe places – If you have to leave the home, don’t go to a place you think would be safe. Essentially, safe places such as shelters, schools, police stations and food halls will be fishing nets for criminals waiting for desperate people to come. The best idea is to avoid any type of public place or place where people gather, altogether. Instead, move further out of town or away from central areas and stick to the back roads and quieter areas.
If a purge was to happen in the country, it would signify to me that it’s time to buy a one-way ticket and leave that place until the government sorts itself out. Thankfully, we can all remain assured that an event such as the purge is only going to stay in the movies.
But as we have seen in the Brazil Purge, similar scenarios can, and do, happen. So if the purge was real, do you think you would survive?