'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. GSxR

    Try to eat my face off and i'll shoot you right in the face!

    June 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Death

    You're all going to die. I've got the zombie virus and I'm heading straight to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Enjoy what's left of the weekend, corpses. 😉

    June 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. vince

    But of course, zombies really do exist.. they are known as Obama Voters. In fact, the walking dead have been voting in great enough numbers they recently elected a dead man for governor of Missouri.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. craig

    Its sad that news has become this TMZ sorta headline reporting to get people to
    read it. 24 hour news cycle...yikes....remember when news just came at the end of the
    day without opinions from the newscasters?...they'd just report it....and now, this...

    June 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AZ

    Now its tough to choose a roommate too. You never know he might be a cannibal.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    It's all in good fun, and part of the pop culture. I don't think anyone actually believes it. At least I hope not.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • master bater

      Exactly, no one takes that seriously. But when more then a few cases start popping up, i'll question it again LOL

      June 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Equality

    This is it........the Zombie Apocalypse is nigh!!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. clay175

    Psalms 92:7 When the wicked ones sprout as the vegetation
    And all the practicers of what is hurtful blossom forth,
    It is that they may be annihilated forever

    June 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James Vidal

    How about the German Armin Meiwes who posted an ad on the internet for someone he could kill, cook, and eat. He met a man who agreed, they dined on the man's genitals, and then Meiwes killed him and ate some of him.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Oh, is this the way the world comes to an end? That's so cool!

    June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. belinda

    The woman eating her baby happened in 2009.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dr.Watch

    Hey Zach, something like this happened in Canada too.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. s kel

    I thought that steak I ate in of Elkton MD ( thats in Hartford county)tasted diffrent..................oh well human or not it was well seasoned and good!

    June 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • j-cools

      elkton is in cecil county not harford

      June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. zombie killer

    this stuff is crazy

    June 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marc

    Kinda makes you think about throwing the "eat me" insult.... You might get taken up on it in a bad way.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
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