'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. Fran

    In the Zombie Survival Guide they do warn when strange "incidents" pop in the media start preparing; I for one am screwed, I live near Yankee Stadium and if they can cause such gridlock at the end of a game, imagine a zombie apocolypes 😱

    June 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Elmo2012

    When there is no more room in hell...the dead will walk the Earth. My favourite movie quote from Dawn of the Dead.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Actually.....

      There will always be room in hell. It is described in the Biblec as a lake of fire where the worm dyeth not.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robin Foster

    These people are mentally ill. There are people like this all over. It's gross.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. oaksdf

    Well i dont see anything wrong with any of that i just did that also to some cops last week and i eat people all the time tastes best when u bake em 🙂

    June 2, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. josh

    you dont sound crazy at all juat be prepared thats all im saying i think i kno a little more then everyone here when it comes to this subject

    June 2, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ignoranceisbliss

    Ok. Seriously. All this cannibalisim within like what four days of eachother...Perhaps its not a damn zombie apocalypse...but something is goingon. I personally think government testing is screwing with people. But also the pcp story is plausable as well. All i know is I think its time for me to buy a gun. & stock up on food.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mr green alien

    America is rapidly deteriorating, eating human flesh is an ordinary news its so early for dec 2012

    June 2, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Theo Jones

    It not the zombie apocalypse, it is love. They love some much they want to eat your brain.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. lyrical

    hehehehe...zombie nation

    June 2, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. RealMan

    FACE......It's whats for supper.......

    June 2, 2012 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. RealMan

    Tastes like chicken!!!

    June 2, 2012 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. KamranGCW

    "The attacker's mother later says her son is not a zombie as portrayed in the media."
    Neither am I, I only eat humans!

    June 2, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. zombielogic

    Zombie Logic is now the only logic. Zombielogic.

    June 2, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ghostfacekills

    i play zombies on Black ops. im ready come get some zombies 🙂

    June 2, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • billu

      yeah, der riese is the best map but i love em all....

      June 2, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Phil Muse

    All this "zombie apocalypse" blather is pure nonsense. Let's wait until all the drug tests and autopsies are in, and then see what this spate of gruesome incidents have in common. Is it "bath salts," or maybe a revival of PCP abuse? Both drugs have the same symptoms for the user: greatly increased blood pressure and metabolism, extreme paranoia leading to violence, and bursts of superhuman stregth such that it typically requires 5-6 sturdy policemen or ward attendants to subdue the individual. But the "zombie" business is purely the stuff of pulp fiction and old-fashioned drive-in movies.

    June 2, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
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