Sunday, September 11, 2011

Zombie Preparedness

I recently wrote an essay concerning the use of preparing for the zombie apocalypse, so I'll share it with you here.

Zombie Apocalypse

It may sound unlikely now, but the zombie plague is a very serious threat to humanity. Hollywood has long dramatized this threat to the point that no one can take it seriously anymore. Whenever the term “zombie apocalypse” is uttered, people invariably think of various movies, like Day of the Dead, or videogames like Dead Rising.  Regardless of it’s largely cinematic prevalence in the public mindset, zombies are still a serious threat to our society that must be prepared for through personal disaster plans and general public awareness.
There already exists numerous diseases, like rabies [1], that are capable of driving infected creatures violent and insane. Who’s to say that something even more serious couldn’t infect the human population? Examples of “mind controlling” infections are present in abundance throughout nature, usually through parasites like the Cordyceps fungus [2]. The biggest argument against the possibility of a zombie apocalypse that I’ve heard is the claim that it’s impossible. This is a very shortsighted and ultimately dangerous belief. Those who claim that zombies are impossible are assuming that “zombies” refers to the walking dead. This is of course impossible, but that is certainly not the only way that a zombie could be created. A zombie could be a person or animal infected with a disease that takes control of the victims brain, making them seek out other creatures to infect or eat. Limiting the word “zombie” to only the living dead will invariably cause people to ignore this very serious threat. It is not much of stretch to imagine that something like this could enter the human population and cause an outbreak of epic proportions.
Preparing for a zombie outbreak really wouldn’t be that hard. Ultimately, a few preparations per person could save thousands, if not millions, of lives. When hordes of crazy infected people are coming to rip you to pieces, it’s always good to be able to defend yourself [3]. If this infection is truly be a “zombie plague” it will cause people to become violent and zombie like. For that to happen, the infection must alter the victim’s brain. In rabies we observe a marked decrease in the infected creatures motor skills [1] this means that the zombies are likely to have trouble walking and should be relatively slow. Because of this, merely living in a house with stairs could save your life. Owning weapons will also be very helpful. Having an axe or shotgun laying around the house could help to hold off the invading hordes until help arrives. All of these things are very cheap, and could save your life. Are a few dollars really worth the risk?
Even if the zombie apocalypse seems so unlikely that it shouldn’t be prepare for, preparing for the zombie apocalypse prepares you for other disasters as well. For almost all disasters, hurricanes being just one, you want to have a survival kit prepared [4]. You need first aid, food and water. All of these things are essential no matter is thrown your way, whether it be zombies or a giant storm. If zombies were to overrun your town, there would be no one to left to manage water facilities or to maintain the power supply. If the zombie infestation is this serious, your town will likely be quarantined, thus food will stop coming in, and you will be cut off from the rest of the world. It’s a good idea to have something to keep you going until you get rescued. As silly as it might sound, the CDC has even begun running zombie apocalypse scenarios and trying to increase public awareness about preparedness [5]. They claim that preparing for the zombie apocalypse is much the same as preparing for any other disaster.
Ultimately, it all comes down to willingness to take the risk of being unprepared. Even if there never is a zombie plague, you’re still prepared for any other disaster that might be looming over the horizon. There is very little to lose, but everything to gain, being prepared could mean the difference between life and death for yourself and your family, the choice is yours.


1 comment:

  1. Science Man, thanks for the tips on preparedness! Forewarned is forearmed.