'Zombie apocalypse’ trending as bad news spreads quickly
The victim and the body of the assailant in Miami's face-eating attack lie on a sidewalk last Saturday.
June 1st, 2012
11:28 AM ET

'Zombie apocalypse’ trending as bad news spreads quickly

The term "zombie apocalypse" has been lighting up the internet all week and has been among the top Google trends Friday morning.

On the Web's Urban Dictionary, here's definition No. 4 of zombie apocalypse: "The End of the World, when people who have died rise again in rotten corpses searching for blood and brains to strengthen them."

While we're certain the dead are not rising, the past week has seen some of the most disturbing instances of human behavior imaginable.

Overheard on CNN.com: Are we all 'zombies'?

A man in Miami happens upon a homeless man on the sidewalk and chews off 75% of his face in an 18-minute attack. The attacker's mother later says her son is not a zombie as portrayed in the media.

Authorities in Canada have launched a massive manhunt for a suspect after a severed hand was sent to Canada's Liberal Party, a foot to the Conservatives and a torso was stuffed in a suitcase and tossed in the trash of the Montreal apartment building where he lived.

A Maryland man admits to killing his housemate, cutting him up, then eating his heart and part of his brain.

A New Jersey man rips his torso open and throws bits of his intestines at police, according to the Bergen Record.

There have been other equally grisly crimes, but there's no need to dwell on them.

Fact is, horrible crimes happen all the time.

"This is all nothing new," said Scott Talan, professor of public communication at American University, with a long work history in public relations and the media.

Bad news attracts attention, he said, and when it happens in bunches, people like to attach a name to it, hence, "zombie apocalypse."

People also like to see others in bigger trouble than they have themselves, Talan said.

"No matter how your life's going, someone's got it worse," he said.

We like to think, "I'm better off than these people," he said.

And that's nothing new, Talan said, pointing out that ancient Roman philosophers used to lament that citizens felt little for the gladiators and what happened in their gruesome contests.

But he said while these stories catch fire quickly in our wired world, they flame out quickly, too.

Unless there's another gruesome crime today, expect the zombie apocalypse to be done by next week, he said.

Even if that's the case, there may be some good that can come of the attention zombie apocalypse has drawn on the Web.

A year ago, when zombie movies were the rage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said if it could convince the public to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, maybe they'd be better prepared for disasters more likely to affect their lives, like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, or a major pandemic.

Or maybe the Mayan apocalypse. Talan points out that it isn't real, it's just a name like zombie apocalypse.

But then again, that isn't supposed to happen until December. There's still time for that to go viral again.

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Filed under: Crime • Media
soundoff (515 Responses)
  1. Courteney

    Not being funny or out but whys every one making a big deal out of it the attacker got tested for drugs and it came back that he had taken something called bath salt tht anyone can buy if there over 18 and the tests that they did after that proved that u do things but forget what you did but eating a guys face OMG!!! That's out of the question what drugs make you do that !
    I've never heed of anything like that I was scared when I got told , thinking Omg zombies are coming then realised there FICTION! Everyone that thinks the worlds coming to a zombie apocalypse needs to get a grip a BIG one !

    June 30, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doesntknowwhattothink

      Actually they got the coroners report back the other day Courteney. Rudy Euegene had no traces of bath salts in his system, or any other heavy drug or alcohol for that matter. The only thing that was found in his system was NORMAL marijuana(not synthetic marijuana like the guy who attacked and ate his dog).

      A quick google search shows the coroners report + news stories that they found nothing but marijuana in his system. If marijuana made you kill and eat people.. It would have already been happening for a long time now.. Also, michelle is right. This isn't the only case.. There have been at the very least 8 + attacks of this nature in less then 2 weeks. And those are just the ones we know of.

      July 1, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Actually last week they reported in an article that the toxicology came back positive for only one drug... Marijuana

      July 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • 216

      you believing that every thing will be ok is why you will not be prepared for whats going to happen... the world is going to be at war with its self no matter the reason..

      July 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. govttestsonpublicnah

    funny that hmmm brains brings up terminator when that is also something else americans should be fearing. Just google the latest robots that DARPA with the help of boston dynamics have come up with. IDGAF who you are, IT IS gonna get crazy, we are going to be struggling for our freedoms and lives. Is zombie outbreak possible? It doesn't matter if it's from a drug or a virus, it happened. Embrace the media, it's how you open your eyes to see past the lies.

    July 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • brian

      Hell yea,u got da right idea homie!

      July 21, 2012 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill S.

    Keep making fun of the Mayans and see what happens.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sean

      What? What will happen if we or anyone "keeps making fun of the Mayans" Bill S.?Please tell me.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tori

    ok ... as for this zombie thing our world is so over populated that "the man " had to figure some way to control it....and yes we need to be prepared..!

    July 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. gina

    does the bible really say when hell is full... the dead will walk the earth? i m sure it is full by now.

    July 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. brian

    Uh-oh,better get ready.its gonna happen&if ur not prepared,ur gonna hav a bad time. Jus sayin.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • josh

      is true i think im

      HElp..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

      August 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bulls23

    if the zombie apocalypse was to happen it would end up like left for dead 4

    August 30, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. trending topics

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    September 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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