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August 14, 2014

Dear Jacksonville, Please Don’t “Purge”

by Sam Ranard

There is apparently a “Purge” being planned for the night of August 31. Wait. What? If you aren’t familiar with the movie The Purge, let me explain. The Purge is a film that takes place in the future. The movie is based on an annual event called the Purge. This event allows for any crime to be committed, for a specified 12 hour period once per year, without any legal repercussions. In other words it is a terrifying night of violence, crime and mayhem. Sound scary? Well, it gets more scarier. There is a social media movement to have a real life purge. Now, with the help of social media, this movement is growing. The cities who have the most activity surrounding this terrible idea are Jacksonville, Fla., St. Louis, Mo., and Cleveland, Ohio.

At first I was reluctant to post anything about this, as I did not want to add to the passing-on or virality of this message. I decided that it was important enough for people to know about what is going on in their community.When I initially read this, I thought it was ridiculous – no one could possibly believe that this is a real thing, or want to participate in such an event. But I was wrong. Apparently there is a real possibility that people are going to, and want to, participate in this craziness.

First Coast News reported that its facebook followers are quite concerned. One facebook user said, “Don’t want my name out there but this is all over Facebook and people are actually thinking it’s real. You have any idea what this is about?” The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is aware of this possible event and is taking it seriously.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office made an official statement saying, “(We) take all threats including those posted on social media seriously. We are aware of The Purge posting and (we) are looking into this. Obviously, we will not discuss tactics, but as with any perceived threat, we appreciate the assistance of the public in passing that along to us.” The Sheriff’s Office also acknowledged that any tips via social media are helpful and appreciated, “Commenting on our Facebook page (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) or tweeting @JSOPIO with these items many not illicit a response publicly, but rest assured we are reading your posts. For information about contacting JSO via email, please visit us at http://www.jaxsheriff.org.”

To give you a better sense of what exactly a “Purge: is, here is the official movie trailer of The Purge:

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