It is the end of the world as we know it, let the murders and rapes begin?

It seems to be a given in post apocalyptic and zombie apocalypse fiction that when the world ends, the survivors will quickly turn to pleasure killing and rape gangs(except for our protagonists of course, they will be the last bastion of morality).

Do you think that would really happen? That isn’t to say that murders and rapes won’t happen at all, of course they will they happen now with a functioning society and criminal justice system. But I don’t think the first thing people will get up to is settling scores with any surviving enemies or random thrill killing or raping.

I guess I’m on the side of people are basically self interested but not sadistic sociopaths.
(It really isn’t a spoiler for the plot but The Road features a group of women kept and raped and then when they get pregnant and give birth the babies are eaten, just for one example).

Bit of a hijack, but wouldn’t it take more food to keep the women alive through pregnancy than you would get from a baby? Like, a lot more? (See also: The Matrix)

In the absence of civilized society, yes, I believe men would revert to their worst impulses.

Look at what war does to people.

This is not a hypothetical question. For starters, go look at Africa.

Africa is also a good example to show that the rapes will probably not be “thrill rapes” but will actually be a part of settling scores with your old enemies. See also Bosnia.

There are two things I’d look at in this context. First off, it doesn’t take very many people to rape and terrorize a population if there’s no organized resistance to them. Second, while there may be a small number of “natural-born rapists” there are a large number of people who will participate when they’re pressured to do so (pressure being overt threats or just the desire to fit in with the others).

Or American soldiers in Iraq.

If you want to know how people will behave without authorities controlling them through threat of imprisonment, look at apes.

Apes don’t have imprisonment, but they definitely have punishments for social misbehavior. To begin with the Boss Ape will shove you around. If you persist, then the whole family of apes will shove you around. It doesn’t take much of that to convince an ordinary ape to shape up already.

It also doesn’t take many people to organize a resistance to a couple of A-holes.

I think people will naturally organize together for mutual protection and general company. They’ll shortly figure out who the leaders are and probably settle on some formal and informal rules as well. It may not be as civilized as what we have now, but I don’t think it would be every man for himself.

I think the people who are by nature good will not do evil. The people who are by nature evil or just act good during civilized times would commit crimes. Whether one believes the majority of people are good or evil is from Adam Smith. Imho, I think most people believe most people are evil. I think most people are good, therefore there will be many criminals but many more good people to stop them.

Raping isn’t always about settling scores or “thrills”, sometimes it’s a matter of controlling resources, specifically, young/fertile females. After all, sexual slavery and child brides occur even in these so-called civilized times. When all restraints are off there will be a certain number of men who will “capture” women for the use of those men without regard to what the women want.

No, I don’t condone this in any way, shape, or form.

Which apes specifically?

Obviously not those rapist chimpanzees.

Probably not any syphilitic orangutans either.

Having syphillis is not a crime.

It might be in a Orangutanian court, have you read all their lawbooks?

Get your hairy laws off me, you damn dirty orangutan lawyer.

Depends on the scenario. In a Zombie world, people would not turn against each other. They’d band together to fight the common enemy.

In a “The Road” scenario, people would turn on each other. In a world without enough to eat, they’d first fight over the remaining food, then (some of them at least) would start to eat each other.

Not in the Postman. They would still band together into towns and try to rebuild the government.

I saw a Steve Carell movie a while back called, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.” The scenario is that an asteroid impact is expected in three weeks and it will mean the deaths of all humans. When I was watching the movie, it occurred to me that random violence like rape and murder would be common. (If everyone’s going to be dead in three weeks, there are no consequences.)

On a more serious note, IMHO I believe the Decamaron describes the most likely scenario in times of disaster.