Zombie Preparedness – A Halloween Special

Zombie Preparedness – A Halloween Special

It seems like everywhere I look these days I see zombies.  Even the government has jumped on the Zombie bandwagon with the Centers for Disease Control’s  Zombie Preparedness Program and $1,000 per trainee Zombie Apocalypse themed counter terrorism training.   There are zombie TV shows (Walking Dead just began it’s 3rd season), zombie ‘history’ books like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, zombie comic books, zombie runs, Tactical Bleeding Zombie Shooting Targets, Zombie Garden Gnomes, Zombie Foot Dog Chew Toys, Zombie Gun Cleaning Systems, and I even saw a Zombie Family Decal on the back of a mini-van last week.  Ask most people what their zombie apocalypse survival plan is and you’ll actually get an answer…that they’ve thought through.  In this Halloween edition of Prepography we’ll discuss why I think everyone’s talking about zombies and what zombie preparedness is really about.  Zombie CDC Graphic

Zombie History & Social Commentary

Zombies can be traced in folklore back through their Afro-Caribbean roots to Southern and Western Africa, but the Hollywood zombie, not the voodoo cursed zombie now dominates genre.  It’s the movies that have so popularized the zombie genre that you can’t escape them…so to speak.  From White Zombie with Bela Lugosi in 1932 to George Romero’s cult classics (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc.), 28 Days Later (and its sequel) and even into the Resident Evil franchise…  zombie movies are too numerous to list…but of course there’s a Wikipedia page that’s trying (Wikipedia List of Zombie Films).

I think that the success and proliferation of the zombie phenomenon is due to the fact that it’s a safe way for the average Joe to think about a collapse in a relatively non-threatening way.  Think about that for a minute…if the only thing you have to prepare for a are mindless shambling corpses that don’t compete with you for resources, other than your own skin…then the world is your oyster.

George Romero, the godfather of the modern zombie genre has described his movies as social commentary, particularly regarding consumerism.  I believe our collective infatuation with the zombie apocalypse has a lot to say about society as well…but I draw a different conclusion…

Thinking about zombies is a safe way to think about what we know deep down is a dangerous world.  In a zombie apocalypse, you have no organized, intelligent competition for resources.  Yes, the zombie apocalypse is dangerous, but you’ll always eat, sleep and drink well because there’s no way you can exhaust all the resources society has left behind just for you.  A mass zombie outbreak obviates the need to prepare the more mundane items like food, fuel, water, etc., but you still get to do the fun preps…guns and gun gear…and if you’re a teenage boy swords seem to be real popular as well.  Contrast this with the perceived cost, work and operational security (OPSEC) necessary to build real preparedness resources and you can see why the zombie apocalypse is such a ‘fantasy’ for some.

In a real life collapse (not just a temporary situation or most natural disasters) there will likely be intense competition for resources, starvation, disease (not the zombie plague though) and an intelligent, desperate, adaptable and fast moving (like some of the more recent zombie movies) enemy.  From a survivors standpoint a zombie apocalypse may even be preferable to serious world changing event like a Coronal Mass Ejection (lasting 24 hours) a cosmic collision or a deadly plague…each of which could kill a population slowly, allowing the dying to consume resources…leaving no stocked up malls for you to go live in.

The zombie apocalypse is to preparedness what the tooth fairy is to modern dentistry.  Now that we’ve looked at the serious side of Zombie Preparedness…let’s have some fun!  Hey, I never said I didn’t enjoy the genre did I?

Zombie Survival Lessons

The genre is formulaic enough that we can draw some universal zombie apocalypse survival truths:

  • Independent Thinkers Survive:  Sheeple who follow the rules and report to the ‘safe zones’ always end up being overrun and devoured by the shambling hordes.
  • Improvise to Survive:  When Plan A doesn’t work come up with Plan B, C & D.  If you run out of bullets, grab that fire poker or whatever else is at hand.
  • Learning is a Survival Skill:  Those that learn to shoot the walking dead in the head and to conserve their ammo survive, the others don’t .
  • Resources Matter but Resourcefulness Matters More
  • Pick a Bug Out Vehicle With Good Gas Mileage:  Fuel stops are very dangerous
  • Final Lesson:  If you have to end up in a movie style, zombie apocalypse…pick the one with the SLOW zombies.

Zombie Bests

  • Best Zombie Movie Quote:  “…don’t knock it, it’s got it’s own key.” was the line by Roger in George Romero’s 1978 classic film Dawn of the Dead discussing Spam®
  • Best Movie Zombie:  ‘Big Daddy’ (the mechanic) in Romero’s Land of the Dead.  He played the first zombie you actually started rooting for… a zombie with humanity zombanity.
  • Best Zombie Fighter in the Movies:  Tie between Kenneth played by Ving Rhames in the Dawn of the Dead remake and Alice (and her gazillion clones), played by Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil franchise.  Note that Alice got to cheat a little as she has that whole t-virus superhero thing going on.
  • Best Movie With Talking Zombies:  NONE, because everybody knows that zombies aren’t supposed to talk!
  • Worst Zombie Movie…too many to count…I turn off most zombie flicks within five minutes
  • Best Zombie Graphic Novel:  The Walking Dead (probably one of the reasons the TV show is so good…it was all story-boarded very graphically…pun intended)
  • Best Zombie Fighter in literature (Graphic novels count, right?):  Michonne (with her samurai sword) from The Walking Dead…she’s in this newest season of the The Walking Dead television show as well…have to see if we need to make a new category for the TV version after a few more episodes.
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