Purge, the 2013 thriller movie starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey was terrifying enough. Depicting a near-future America in which, for one night out of the year, violent crime of all kinds becomes legal, The Purge has inspired more than a few nightmares no matter its apparent implausibility.
According to a wide range of local social media, however, some are talking of an all-too-real “purge” right here in Louisville, to take place beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday August 15 to 6:00 a.m. Saturday August 16, and police have taken the threats very seriously. Though many would peg the notices as a large-scale, frightening prank, nerves are on edge across Louisville’s social media.
Twitter is a-flutter with Louisvillians’ comments on these threats, ranging from disbelief to humor to fear. Louisville Metro Police see nothing funny and, according to a WLKY blurb by Matthew Thomas, will be on the alert in the early hours of the coming weekend.
As reported by Connie Leonard of Wave 3 News, awareness of random violence was heightened beginning with a wave of violent crime beginning with the March 22 attack on the Big Four Bridge, in which a group of teenagers beat and kicked a man in the presence of his family without provocation. The violence continued seemingly aimlessly throughout the downtown area, captured on surveillance video. After a leaked FBI memo suggested planned gang violence might take place two weeks later, the LMPD placed additional officers at events like Thunder Over Louisville and the Pegasus Parade. No actual planned violence took place.
These threats of all-out violence seemingly began on Twitter with an unnerving flier featuring a still from the film, and have now been seen by thousands of Louisville residents. According to some users, Purge-style violence has been suggested at specific locations like the Katy Perry concert at the KFC YUM! Center this Saturday, the Kentucky State Fair and various high school football games.
EMA (Metrosafe) JCPS and the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) are reportedly scheduled to open the Emergency Operations Center as a precaution. Additional officers will be placed at the Kentucky State Fair this weekend, so if you plan on getting out this weekend, you can be assured of safety resources at your disposal if any part of these threats come to fruition.
Though an extra dose of caution is always in order when under any kind of risk of violence, you can never be too careful in circumstances like these. Make sure to keep on your toes and be aware of your surroundings, and if you start to feel that twinge in your gut, listen to it, whether this weekend or any other.
Update August 16:
It appears that the purge rumors began with a high school student's post on social media. Said high school student says he didn't mean it seriously but just thought of it as a "fun thing." The teen spoke up and responded to the hoax here.
#Louisvillepurge was trending on twitter, with lots of false (and some true) reports of crime. Hundreds, if not thousands of Louisvillians were listening to police scanners and reporting everything that came up, including the absurd.
There was crime last night (there always is!) but the general consensus is that there's usually crime on Friday nights during the warmer months.
Long story short: we didn't get purged.
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