Wisconsin's Purge Hoax Revisited - Attorney Carlos A. GaminoAttorney Carlos A. Gamiño is a movie buff, and as such, finds it incredibly interesting when movies inspire real-life events. Good events, that is, like people being inspired by Pay it Forward… Not so with The Purge, which scared the daylights out of moviegoers and inspired hoaxes all over the country. Here’s a lawyer’s perspective.

The Purge. A scary movie with so-so acting… and one that inspired real-life terror in many communities across the country.

If you haven’t seen The Purge yet, read some of the 2013 horror’s reviews before you part with your hard-earned money. Here’s a synopsis:

Everything illegal, including robbery and murder, is legal for a 12-hour period in this futuristic flick. It follows one family through a terrifying night where neighbors become enemies until dawn – and then, suddenly, everyone forgives and forgets.

What one high schooler started in Louisville, Kentucky started in August had some Wisconsin residents locking up and battening down the hatches a few weeks later, though. An internet hoax claiming that people would be having their own citizen-style purge—without the consent of local law enforcement, of course—on a particular night and starting at a particular time.

The rumor made its way to Milwaukee by the end of August, and Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay and Madison were supposed to be in on it, too.

While starting a hoax like this isn’t illegal, and nothing actually happened in Wisconsin, similar hoaxes did cause a 20 percent rise in calls to police in Louisville. Police there said that people who posted threatening messages on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook could face criminal charges.

What do you think of hoaxes that really instill fear in peaceful communities? Are you concerned that some people will take them seriously, or do you brush them off as childish pranks that don’t deserve any attention… and what are we going to do about the hoaxes that will almost certainly circle the sequel, which is headed for video now? I’m interested in your take, so please leave comments below.

Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño