'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. UtahProf

    Make light of it if you want but I have plenty of food, water, and ammo .... and will continue to add to my supply. When the economy collapses, and it will, it is going to get bad – people will begin to canibalize because they have to – and it won't take a drug-induced haze to bring it on. Think "the government" can/will help you? Keep on dreaming ...

    June 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyg

      Guess we better not vote GOP huh?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Headshot

    Bring 'em on. I can't wait until fall for more Walking Dead.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 1word

    I also believe something is up. Thank God I got the Holy Spirit in me!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpc65

      Dude, that's like A-1 Steak Sauce to the Undead.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |

      That's what she said.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      Did he enter from behind?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharoom

      Sounds tasty!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      That's just indigestion with a hint of delusion.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Not me, but I got a 35 and a stick of bubblegum.

      June 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • a

      AMEN brother!/sister

      June 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cpc65

    Buy your copy of The Zombie Survival Guide right now! Yes, it is a real book by author Max (son of Mel) Brooks. It's listed under "humor" on Amazon but it's written as a straight-up, serious survival guide to deal with zombie outbreaks. There is also his novel, World War Z, which is being made into a major motion picture by Brad Pitt's studio. A+++!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rob

    This is nothing new... No apocalypse here, in fact, this is pretty tame compared to say...Genghis Kahn and/or many others... So, nothing new in the "What sick and blood thirsty humans will do" department. Too much Internet sensationalism in my opinion.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    I got a 3-foot piece of rebar and 1,000 cans of beans. Bring it on, mofos.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bob

    i once ate a man...

    June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mendacitysux

    Anyone know where Carl is?

    June 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Not Fat

    I blame Zombie Queen Sarah Palin!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrsnck

    This article sounds like damage control and avoids the the most important aspect of this whole thing – WHATS CAUSING IT>>?? CNN speculated that it was Bath Salts in the Miami case even though there is no evidence the man in question purchased or consumed bath salts nor was any parephenalia found on or in his clothes or his abandoned car or the surounding area. I doubt he used bath salts and then in the state he was in went to a trash bin and tossed the package out or the pipe he used to smoke it. Also what of the other cases? There are deemed pyschological breaks but again what causes people who have never done anything near this henious snap and in what seems to be increasing numbers? While the dead arent returning to life – living zombies do occur – both in nature (google zombie ants national geographic) from virus, both man made and natural, biological weapons, chemical weapons, and even poisions. Until they no for sure that there isnt something in the water so to speak I think people should be concerned.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tee

    Lock & Load, Zombie's are everywhere. Zombie's are Brain Dead, So are Progressive Liberals = There are plenty of Zombie's are Out there.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. carl.

    i am carl.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. freethrow

    The question is: If the zombie apocalypse starts in Vegas, will it stay in Vegas?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Add

    Fresh n flash with steak sauce m mm teste I wish to sit with bush and share it

    June 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    God will not save you in an zombie apocalypse and hopefully those that believe so are the first to go, lol.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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