'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. notme

    Where have all the vampires gone???

    June 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Casey

    One man's face is another man's dinner.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bklynrob

    Folks, does it really matter if the person eating your head is a zombie or not? When your laying on the ground and some dude is tearing your lips off your face are you going to say "It's ok, its just a drugged out human, not an actual zombie, thank goodness!" ?

    Zombie or human, thier behavior is inhuman.

    June 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. unknown

    why do you really believe this? the world wont end(: god only knows when it ends so quit scaring little kids with this.. an how about try feeding your children? so they dont go around eating peoples faces? an if the dead will rise dont you think people would go around digging out graves an burning ashes? so this is just a myth (: an have knives an guns if you believe in it lock your doors an stuff! so zombies are coming the day the world is "supposed" to end? ONLY GOD KNOWS WHEN IT WILL END. i dont wanna get all religious on you really but just saying <3.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George

    I recommend the Zombie Gunship app for iPhone. It will help you feel better.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sonny

    why are you hiding your virus? this is seems like necro-mortosis used with!! a while ago nothing seems like this horrible things happening even people use bath salt or whatever. think about that !! it's looks like necro-mortosis!!! show it to the world what necro mortosis is!!!? people doesn't understand what this is!!! it is not a joke necro mortosis is dangerous some poeple knew that but most of them think like a joke

    June 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dr.Watch

    Seriously guys if it were a zombie, he would have eaten everybody, even the guy who shot at him.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • cosmicsnoop

      Not if you shoot him in the head. Come on now, you have got to get prepared for this. I thought everyone knew about Zombies and how to deal. You've got to bone up on the subject man.

      June 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. El_Infidel

    I'm with the CDC on this. A zombie apocalypse is probably not happening at this time. But just to be on the safe side, I'm loading up a few more magazines. I will mostly depend on my AR-15's, since I can shoot the balls off a gnat at 50 yards with them, and I have plenty of ammo stockpiled for the girls. I will use my handguns only in a pinch, since I am not headshot accurate with them but still better than throwing rocks. My shotguns may come into play but they only hold 7 rounds and are slow to reload. I do have plenty of 00 buck on hand.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • chasity

      lol..

      June 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      "A zombie apocalypse is probably not happening at this time."

      Probably not happening right now? LOL Laughing so hard right now. So there is a possibility it could happen. I KNEW IT!

      June 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • cosmicsnoop

      No, no. You've got to practice hand-to-hand and have swords and machetes. Guns are standard, of course, but these things will attack in hordes and unless your hitting the heads, they'll just keep coming. You've got to think medieval warfare. Watch the Lord of the Rings to get in the mood and you people have to read World War Z and get better prepared.

      June 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • hack

      If the zombie apocalypse were to happen you would last a while but would eventually get eaten, just remember guns will kill for a while but your going to run out of ammo at some point, blades are the way to go. Sharp and light weight, at most needs a sharpen every now and then, but having a gun on hand when to many are around is still a good idea

      June 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • El_Infidel

      I have some blades, and I understand that blades don't need to be reloaded. But I just don't want to go hand to hand with a zombie hoard. It will be a very long time before I run out of ammo, and until then I will do my part to thin out the hoard.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Klark Darla

    What about the woman who ate her babies brain and said that the devil made her do it?

    June 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NJ

    That sounds crazy!!!!!!! GO TO GANDERT MNT. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hank Epanky

    Human is the new white meat . Dude , its for dinner .

    June 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Zombie hunter #2

    In Pittsburgh a defense attorney, John Elash attacked a young man, clawed at his eyes and bit him. This story was in the pittsburgh post Gazette.

    June 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stevens14s

    If it is a zombie attack the media with our goverment will hide it till it spreads to far, it's what our goverment is good at, trust me I work for them lol The media is controled by our goverment so they have to put out what they say so therefore we will never fully know what is going on, unless if it is a zombie outbreak we wont know till half of the united states are canibals

    June 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brittany

    I've heard of other cases like one in Canada about a guy who stabbed another guy to death and cut his head off and ate it, also Jeffrey Dahmer cases. It's scary to think people do these things and it happens period. Well, things are getting worse, and more will happen.

    June 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jack Dawson

    The term "apocalypse" means "lifting the veil" or "revelation". The final book of the Bible is called "Revelations" or "The Apocalypse of John." First off, zombies are braindead creatures that only have a single purpose: devouring living people. They DO NOT possess the intelligence required to have "revelations." Even using it as loosely as people do these days, a "zombie apocalypse" would be the end of the world FOR ZOMBIES, NOT FOR humans brought about by an outbreak which creates zombies. Lastly, being a fan of zombies is like being a fan of janitors. They are at the bottom of the Monster Chain of Command. Vampires (NOT the ones that "sparkle") are at the top. To sum up: zombie fans = Underachievers.

    June 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
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