'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. USA401

    Time to collect guns, gold and water!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Norm

    Where is Zimmerman when you need him...............

    June 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keith H

    What about Carl?
    What about Lori?
    Shane are you sleeping with my wife?
    We're safe on Hershel's farm.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mobadthangood

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

    This is really the funniest thing in the above report. The NEWS MEDIA saying that PEOPLE like to attach names to things like this.
    That is the joke of the day. The NEWS MEDIA is the KING of attaching names and causing racism than ANYONE OUT THERE.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Asianboy19

    Bath Salts and pain killers...So many new things

    June 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Seriously Preparing

    Ordering bulk ammo as I read this.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dark matter

      that is the cause of alien because of adding of the memory of zombies alien this zombies alien are created also the high supreme alien the W ,,, this inot perfect solution or treatment tothose human alien ,,,to remove the memory need to insert in neuclar scanner 4 times or more if this is not dangerous

      June 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyg

      no doubt!

      June 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Max Brooks from Florida

    Don't fall for the media's downplaying of this situation folks. This is a class 1 outbreak.

    Better get prepared while you still have time.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • sgtmac

      That's what I thought too. Now we have a case here in Oregon where an "autistic" teenager repeatedly bit a school bus driver. It's spreading!

      June 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chris adams

    kid around all you want but this proves zombies are a problem-- work on your cardio people– you may have to outrun one!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bloomberg

      See, I was only trying to help. You still want that extra soda now, fatties?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete/Ark

    My dog likes zombies...says they taste just like chicken.....

    June 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. holly

    The case in Texas where the mother Otty Sanchez eating her newborn happened in 2009...

    June 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Effed

    Maybe... Now that gov't dependence is at the 49.5% mark (49.5 % on Americans are not represented on a taxable return)... It's just natural to have a few more zombies running around.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dopadaj

    The author of the article left out that the man who chewed the face off for 18 minutes, was on bath salts, and it was a story on Night-line a few nights ago.. But cheers to the zomby apocalypse, because lord knows were not getting the truth.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dyanna

    I don't belive zombies r riseing so many people trun crazy!its because of bath salt it truns people into cannibaels we need to find a cure for these bath salts

    June 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steverino


    June 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oh my...

    Zombies are people who have risen from the dead... correct me if I am wrong, but NONE of these people were ever dead. Cannibals, yes. Zombies, no. And I hate to break it to everyone, but people have been doing heinous acts of cannibalism for as long as there have been humans. If "gettin yer guns" makes you feel any better, by all means don't let what I'M saying stop you; you will be free to laugh in my face all you want if the "Zombie Apocalypse" *ACTUALLLY* happens, but I don't count on it.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
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