Law and order in Panem are maintained with the help of a gendarmerie known as the Peacekeepers. The main duties of a peacekeeper include fishing out and punishing rebels, political dissidents, and lawbreakers.
The term “peacekeeper” is ironic because the peacekeepers in the nation were known for torturing and brutally silencing anyone who stepped out of line.
3 Different Types of Peacekeepers
Peacekeepers are mainly divided by rank into 3 types:
- Head Peacekeepers
- General Gendarmerie
Head peacekeepers are in charge of the garrison that is stationed in each district, whilst Officers are a special class of the peacekeeping unit who has the power to command other peacekeepers. The Head Peacekeeper and the officers enjoyed greater privileges and were allowed to rise in rank in a way that the general gendarmerie could not.
Peacekeepers undergo rigorous physical training before they are deemed ready for their duties. As such, most of them are sturdily built and physically strong. They are meant to have a uniform appearance much like an army. Therefore, they are given uniforms to wear the minute they begin training. These uniforms are depicted as white or grey in the films, perhaps to reflect the character of President Snow.
How Peacekeepers Behave in The Hunger Games
The behavior of peacekeepers in The Hunger Games is in polar opposition to their name. They are brutal with their punishments, especially with the people of the districts. An unforgettable example is the public whipping of Gale by Head Peacekeeper Romulus Thread. Thread inflicted brutal punishment upon Gale, leaving him within inches of death – all because Gale was carrying a wild Turkey with him. However, not all peacekeepers behaved in this manner. Most of the peacekeepers in District 12, for instance, turned a blind eye to illegal poaching for years on end.
Most of the Peacekeepers turn a blind eye to the few of us who hunt because they’re as hungry as we are for fresh meat as anyone. In fact, they’re among our best customers.
As such, the Peacekeepers of District 12 were a lot more lenient than other districts, such as those from District 11. Notably, while Peacekeepers from District 11 considered 40 lashings for illegal poaching insufficient, those from District 12 thought that 40 is more than enough. The peacekeepers of District 11 were better fed and therefore stricter with their punishments. As Rue narrates, a mentally challenged boy called Martin, who was not dangerous in the least, was killed on the spot for trying to hide a pair of stolen night vision goggles from the peacekeepers.
Further, the behavior of the peacekeepers was highly influenced by the Head Peacekeeper in the district. For instance, Haymitch notes that whipping and the death penalty was common before Cray was appointed as the Head Peacekeeper in District 12. However, under Cray’s rule, these acts became a relatively rare occurrence.
Thus, Katniss and Gale even had friendly interactions with some Peacekeepers of District 12 who had amicable temperaments. Katniss mentions that her favorite peacekeeper is Darius, one of the youngest in the district. Darius used to share a meal with her at Greasy Sae’s on occasion, and even flirts with her at some point, as noted by Gale:
Right after New Year’s. We were in the Hob, eating some slop of Greasy Sae’s. And Darius was teasing you about trading a rabbit for one of his kisses. And I realized…I minded.
However, the amicable relationship between peacekeepers and citizens of District 12 did not last long. After Katniss sparked off the rebellion, the government cracked down hard upon those peacekeepers who were not performing their duties up to scratch. For instance, Cray, the Head Peacekeeper of District 12 who was lax with rules, was tortured and possibly killed for his leniency with the citizens. Similarly, Darius who stopped Thread from whipping Gale to death was turned into an Avox and coerced into waiting upon Katniss when she was chosen as a tribute for The 75th Hunger Games.
The peacekeeper arsenal mainly consisted of conventional ballistic weapons. Most of the peacekeeping army carry firearms such as submachine guns (FN P90 and FNF2000 Tactical) and assault rifles (IMI TAR-21). They also carried sidearms in the form of handguns (such as Vektor CP1).
For occasions where firearms would prove unnecessary or unhelpful, peacekeepers also carried an extendable baton to beat people. They are also provided with whips as and when situations call for them. Flamethrowers, such as the ones that were used to burn down the Hob, are a part of the peacekeeper arsenal.
The peacekeepers have access to water cannons, riot shields as well as stun guns, which are mainly used to break up fights between tributes. Some peacekeepers are provided with studded gloves, which they used to beat people. Cinna, for instance, is beaten to death with studded gloves. Peacekeepers are also provided with handcuffs to restrain people. In situations where buildings and areas have to be raised to the ground, peacekeepers make use of payloads of bombs as well.
Peacekeepers utilized several vehicles for transport including hovercraft and trains. They also maintain a fleet of large armored vehicles by which they could travel without fear of being attacked.
Duties and Law Enforcement
The major duty of peacekeepers is to maintain law and order within the nation. They are tasked with not only looking for rebels, political dissidents, and lawbreakers but also punishing them in a manner they see fit. As such, peacekeepers strive to maintain social obedience within the country.
Peacekeepers also serve as the Capitol’s private security force and thereby protect the Capitol against attacks. Most peacekeepers carried out the duties of foot soldiers and guards in various parts of the nation. Some of them are also trained to become hovercraft pilots and perform the duties of surveillance as well and tracking down fugitives. All peacekeepers are trained in combat to apprehend any form of rebellion against the government.
Who are the peacekeepers in The Hunger Games?
Peacekeepers are the task force of the Capitol whose duty is to maintain law and order in the nation.
Are peacekeepers bad in The Hunger Games?
Peacekeepers are the primary means of repression and control of the Capitol. As such, most of them are villainous.
Who is Katniss’ favorite peacekeeper?
Darius, the young peacekeeper from the Hob, was Katniss’ favorite peacekeeper. She used to talk to him quite often before he was made into an Avox.
Why is the term peacekeeper ironic in The Hunger Games?
The term peacekeeper is ironic in The Hunger Games because the peacekeepers as a task force used violence and oppression to subdue the members of the districts.
Who was the peacekeeper that whipped Gale?
The peacekeeper who whipped Gale was Romulus Thread. Thread was the new Head Peacekeeper in District 12 in Catching Fire.
Who becomes a peacekeeper?
Peacekeepers are usually recruited from the Capitol itself, and District 2. However, anyone can become a peacekeeper whether they wish to serve the government or desire food and compensation for their services.
Why do the peacekeepers ignore poaching?
Peacekeepers in district 12 ignore the illegal poaching activities that occurred in the district to satisfy their own appetites. The people who poached animals would sell the meat to the peacekeepers at a good price.
What happened to Peacekeeper Cray?
Peacekeeper Cray was replaced by Romulus Thread as Head Peacekeeper in District 12. It is not clear what happened to him after this. However, one can assume that he was tortured and executed for his leniency with the citizens of District 12.