Purges are fun. Some of my favorite memories have been purges, like that time the neighborhood got together and Purged that sheriff who was trying to get rid of the Purge.

And we know they’re important to prop up this fascistic state and maybe there’s something about releasing tensions—I’m not really sure. What I’m sure of though, is that we’ve gone a little too far. Every year there’s an escalation of more and more extreme Purge spectacles. And honest, hard-working citizens just can’t keep up. While most people have trouble putting together the right kind of booby-trapped fortress, we have certain neighbors (I won’t name any names, but I think we all know who I’m talking about) who are spending ungodly amounts on armored cars with blaring sound systems and rows of machine guns in the back.

I propose reining in Purge nights and bringing them back to what they’re really about—family.

Our youngest daughter is 4, and this was the first year we told her about The Purge. We explained the joy of the night, showed pictures of Mommy and Daddy murdering poor people, and got her so excited to plan the family’s outfit. I’m more of a “let’s see what we can throw together” on the night of kind of guy, but my wife and all the kids got together and spent weeks crafting a killing menagerie made from paper bags, cardboard boxes, and steak knives. They poured time, sweat, and love into this thing. I’ve got a picture of my youngest sitting at the controls, grinning like she had already released all her tensions from the year.

But what happened to that murder menagerie? You’d better sit down, because it’s heartbreaking. Let me set the scene: the sirens started, and she and I proudly wheeled it outside. My wife took pictures before taking the rest of the kids inside our bunker. And I’m glad they went inside. Because the second we took out this handcrafted murder device, the reality of what Purge has become hit us. Every neighbor had flashy toys that were clearly made in some factory, and bought instead of crafted. Compared to that, our little handmade thing stood no chance.

You should have seen my daughter’s face as it was decimated. Sure there was fear in her eyes, but more than that—shame. Is that what we want to teach our children? That there’s no use trying, just throw money at problems? As I ran her back into the shelter, barely outrunning the flames from some 2-Day Priority Mail shipped combusto-tank, I could feel the hope leaving her.

The next morning at school everyone made fun of her for not “Purging hard enough.” She came home, insistent that next year I spend thousands of dollars to keep up with the neighbor’s next Purge. And that was last straw.

That disgusting attitude is why I’m writing this open letter. Because frankly, I think this whole thing has gone out of hand. My daughter loved the Purge. My daughter Purged an awful lot harder than certain neighbors who I won’t mention, but I think we all know the ones with their murder maze on the corner of Hacienda and Amherst, with flown-in musical guests and rented, emaciated gimps. We need to think about what kind of a community we want to be. And who has the money to be spending so much on this?

What happened to our old-fashioned purge values? When I was young, all you needed for a purge was a mask. Now I’m seeing elaborate gangs in costumes ranging from Elizabethan Death Punk, to a massive, mechanized octopus with machete-wielding participants on each leg. Was it impressive? Sure. But don’t you think it’s getting away from the Purge spirit?

So that’s why I’m proposing something very simple. Next Purge, let’s set a cap. No one will be allowed to spend more than $50 on festivities. Let’s go back to hand-made masks that mean something. If you’re being attacked by someone with garden shears, that means it’s being wielded by someone who already had an interest in gardening, instead of just appropriating it for the sake of impressing their neighbors. Instead of choreographed dance numbers from professional dancers (again, we all know who I’m talking about), it’ll just be a family, a little love, and a thirst for blood.

In short, let’s not forget what The Purge is supposed be about: family.

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