'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. MiamiGetAways

    I have two tickets to Miami and a week booked in the hotel across from the latest Zombie attack. Anyone interested in buying this adventure? I suddenly cannot go.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rstlne

      Why can't you go? Should be no problem – just don't fall asleep!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. diego homans

    You've succeeded: You sound rather crazy.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dowdotica

    double tap? better make it a triple. load up the red hawk!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack

    Bath salt is a hell of a drug.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Me!!!

    Eww. Man eating off another's face. How does someone even do that?

    June 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      It's easy.....Just a little red wine to wash it down!!!! 🙂

      June 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MiamiGetAways

    Is it true Miami has launched Zombie tours?

    June 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Miami IS a zombie tour....with a Latin beat!!! Bring your conga drum!!! A motorcycle helmet with a full face shield would be a good idea too!! Got to protect your brain pan and face!!! 😛

      June 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mar

    Well I do know this.. Most of us live in cities and counties where drugs are a problem..
    So it adds a whole new dimension to how far inside my house i would let a intruder get before I shot them..
    These people also have super strength..
    The new drugs out there make protecting yourself and your family even more important..

    June 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ZombieEthics

    Zombies have no honor. One day it's eyes and face... the next day... heart and brains...

    June 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I tell you, its a slippery slope. You give them the right to eat people and then next thing you know they will be wanting to eat animals and then lawn furniture.
      And if we allow this then why dont we allow zombies to eat multiple people if they wish?

      June 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Amaa

    I've heard of horrible gruesome crimes before.I've just never heard of crimes like these and I've NEVER heard of any drug that can cause this.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Flatsguide

    I wonder when Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson will start with the race thing. If the zombie would have been white, they would be screaming for the publicity. Because both were "non-white", it's not worth pursuing.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lila

    Don't forget all the cooked fetuses and pills made of out of them. Cannibalism has been around around since the beginning of time. Who knows why it's making such a comeback. Maybe because we wiping out so many species of animals, it's the next shocking thing to consume, it could be for internet fame like the Canadian guy, drugs or maybe just full blown craziness.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Stafford

    There has been a Zombie Attack in Maryland, near Baltimore, where a college student ate a fellow student's heart and brains....and in Spain, three women attacked a police officer and started to chew on his arm!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mobadthangood

    BREAKING NEWS FLASH:

    Obama says if he had a son, he would be just like Rudy Eugene.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JO

    Only the Miami face eating guy is a zombie by definition. The drugs he had ingested caused him to act like an automaton. DEFINITION OF ZOMBIE. The man in NJ–psychiatric freak out STAY ON YOUR MEDS PEOPLE. The man who ate his roommate was a serial killer who canabalized his victims. I say victims because most killers have practice murders before actually doing the whole eating part. For some reason I have become some Zombie authority this week. Definitions and facts-eating people does not make you a zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RayJacksonMS

    They take the pink slime out of meat and then suddenly people have uncontrollable cravings for human flesh. Pink slime is people!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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