Mask-wielding assailants screamed “Purge!” while assaulting a Virginia woman on Halloween, WTVR-TV (Richmond) is reporting.
At about 12:15 pm on October 31 (Halloween), an unidentified woman said she was walking through an alley near the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
Discover Paris! has had the pleasure of working with Virginia Commonwealth University on its study abroad programs since 2012! pic.twitter.com/zuGiSxJ7pK
— Wells Int Foundation (@wellsint) October 28, 2016
Two assailants approached her from behind, screamed “Purge!” and then punched her in the head and kicked her after she fell to the ground. They stole her wallet, grabbed the victim’s ID and about $100 in cash, and then threw the wallet back at her. She described her assailants as wearing dark hoodies and silver-colored masks.
According to WRIC-TV (Richmond), VCU police are stepping up patrols in the area near where the robbery took place.
The fact that the assailants were wearing masks and screamed “Purge!” while assaulting the victim, and the fact that it took place on Halloween, points to a trend of Halloween violence inspired by the 2013 movie, The Purge.
In the movie, which imagines that the United States is in a period of robust recovery following an economic collapse, there are 12 hours each year when all crime is legal, and all emergency services – fire, police, paramedics – are suspended. The streets descend into anarchy as those who can afford expensive defense systems hunker down for protection for the night. The poor have to take their chances, either by finding a hiding place or staying on the run. Meanwhile, wealthy individuals, who can afford weapons, wear masks and purge – that is, kill, maim, rape, and otherwise hassle anyone and everyone they can.
hangin at the capitol building just in time for the Purge, jk I mean Halloween???? pic.twitter.com/QfqUQNEcJ2
— bailey (@bdarggg) October 31, 2016
The annual Purge is presented as a chance for Americans to work out their frustrations, and America is relatively safe and crime-free the other 364.5 days of the year. Similarly, the annual Purge is seen as a chance to rid society of the undesirables – the poor, the homeless, etc.
Even though the movie is fiction, it is believed to have inspired violence – or at least, rumors of violence – in some situations.
For example, as The Daily Mail reported in June of this year, an Indiana man named Jonathan Cruz allegedly shot and killed three men during a four-day killing spree in May. Police say that Cruz texted his girlfriend, “I purge every night now.” Police say that he also referenced the movie during at least one of his alleged killings.
Death Penalty Sought For US ‘Purge’ Killings – Jonathan Cruz, accused of three murders of random men in Indiana… https://t.co/J4QEAOYwcM
— Andreas Berg (@sechser1969) July 26, 2016
Similarly, rumors of Purge-inspired violence conflated with the ongoing creepy clown sightings trend of this year to spawn rumors of a Creepy Killer Clowns Purge, as reported by the Inquisitr. The rumors began, as these things almost always do, on social media. Anonymous users threatened that creepy clowns on Halloween would purge and go on uninhibited crime sprees. The Greenville, South Carolina Police Department, however, urged calm, saying that rumors of a creepy clown purge were just that – rumors.
“There is no credible threat. As we do each year there will be adding extra patrolling to ensure the safety of the public during Halloween. We ask that everyone be vigilant and if you notice unusual behavior contact 911 so that officers may respond to investigate.”
Needless to say, no such purge happened, and Halloween came and went with no noticeable increase in crime, whether by creepy clowns, people inspired by The Purge, or otherwise.
[Featured Image by Efired/Shutterstock]