'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. sxj016

    It's a virus...not bath salts. Did anyone mention this guy worked at the CDC?

    June 1, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Juni

      Proof? Links?

      June 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil Spectre

      Idiot. It's the new PCP. Why don't you ask Zimmerman if Trayvon was snarling and growling when they got into the fight. Florida is burning and no one seems to want to help.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • me


      June 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • kindafreakedout

      ...he worked at a car wash

      June 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Oneself

    Zombies are coming!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Razi

    Please, I've been ready for Z-day for a good long while. This is old hat.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. spyderc85

    Sucks for all those anti gun liberals lol

    June 1, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. 23 from Texas

    Do you, or do you not... have tattooed on your bottom: "Jesus is coming, look busy?!"

    June 1, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Disgruntled_girl

      Why don't they give us THUMB UP or Like buttons here?!

      June 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twisted_Princess


      June 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama


    June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sail Frog 69

    It's not zombies. It's the PCP problem that is tearing the black community apart. A new type of PCP is being imported from Cuba and Florida is taking the biggest hit. The media wouldn't cover any of the PCP stories until the Trayvon Martin shooting, then more followed.. Florida A&M, the woman who killed her kids, the Miami Face Eater, and more and more of these stories are going to be surfacing in the future. Just get ready for it. I believe the New Black Panthers are trying to create an Afro-zombie Race War. This new PCP turns black men and women into absolute animals. Think twice about going to Florida or anywhere east or south east this summer.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • omg

      This new PCP won't have much work to do. Judging by the news you see every single day they are already at that point.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    When the #%^* hits the fan and all these zombies are all over the place, Im heading straight to WalMart and loading up on supplies and lots of ammo. May the force be with you!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I am still waiting for a Charles Dickens fad to reoccur.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sarah

    Not according to NASA. According to NASA it is over 4 billion years away.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee S

      thats galactic cannibalism.

      June 2, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Scones

    When they shot the face-eater, did they shoot him in the head?
    If not, check the morgue. Also keep an eye on the victim, don't want him gnawing on the hospital staff.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weereallgonnadie

      Yes they shot him in the back 2 nd 1 in the head

      June 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mercenary76

    lay in a good supply of 12 gauge rounds and .45 acp

    June 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Or, perhaps Henry David Thoreau

    June 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Duane

    Got my beer and my shotgun, let's rock

    June 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. toldUso

    Zombie apocalypse- it's about damned time!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spec5

      yep been stockin up for it myself

      June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Hells yea

      June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
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