'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. chasity

    I think we will see an outbreak of zombies, its a goveremennt experiement.... its population control.

    June 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brett Stewart

    Psshh all those years of Resident Evil, I got this.

    June 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. qwdvmakl;smdvki

    i man eating another man's face while on drugs a zombie does not make

    June 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. zombie hunter

    bring them on i will shoot them in the head.

    June 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. High Hopes

    Signs of the times...

    They're not starving, they're demonic!

    😦

    And, Assad? He's got to be the worst!

    Massacring CHILDREN?

    What's wrong with a world that looks the other way? Answer? ... A world full of Zombie mentality. Nothing is sacred, not even the lives of innocent children. Miami, Syria... it's all the same:

    Violence committed against innocents!

    June 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cooper

    thats not going to happen because people wont do this drug if they die right after it and they wont be real zombies

    June 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Muffin

    -facepalm- You're kidding me right?

    June 2, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Until the world ends

    I don't know what's worse a man going rabid and eating someone's face or guy killing someone and eating some of him and saving the extra parts for later. But think about it people these things happen all over the world every day but no one knows about it. Im pretty sure if you look up past serial killers and cannibalism you'll find a grip of stuff you didnt know about. The worlds a scary place and if it ends in December we'd all be better off.

    June 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      the difference between this guy amd Jeffrey Dahmer is that this guy was "Allegedly" off his gord on drugs. Dahmer was cold, calculating and knew exactly what he was doing. although both acts are heinous and attrocious(sp) the worse of the two comes from the monster with a clear head. imho.

      June 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MissFrye

    Why zombies? I am probably not even half as old as someone who would understand this, but I know that there are such things as cannibals! At least they have waited until the alleged year of the end of the world to come out and eat everybody.

    June 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula Derry

      That's just good planning. I can't even seem to get a quick bite in the morning and get to work on time.

      June 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. goodegyptian

    Al Qaeda's latest kind of weapon: Bath salt. Poison everyone on the plane. ZOMBIES ON THE PLANE! really

    June 3, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. r3p3ntiv3

    I say its all just coincidences, mixed with all the synthetic drugs floating all over. Mostly coincidences.

    June 3, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chuck

    Cannibals maybe but zombies come on! Cut it out people are NOT calling this a zombie apocalypse in fact this is the first reference I've heard. People know there is no undead and the CDC is a bunch of silly asses for making a joke that people are now latching on to. Sure a pandemic word be awful but there can and will never be a real zombie, or vampire, or werewolf. Get it through your heads, these are f'd up humans who will be just plain dead pretty soon when the courts are done with them

    June 3, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      The truth is scarier than zombies. A zombie can easily be identified (if they existed which they don't). most people don't know that major cities do not allow the news to report on bank robberies because it inspires more attempts. Bank robbers know exactly what they are doing and are simply motivated by greed. People who go right off their pickle are already mentally screwed up and only need inspiration and until they act you never know who they are. the best defence against these crimes is a strong community where everyone knows everyone else and making a point of getting mentally ill people off the street and some where safe. It's a known fact that mentally ill people are more often the victims of crime and not the perpatrators. While a face being eaten is gross. Those that routinely prey on the ill and homeless are the true monsters. Why? because they simply don't care. But then.... there are a lot of homeless and mentally ill on the streets. So do any of really care?

      June 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fabio648

    ....and this is why the Taliban hate us....

    June 3, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. south4evr

    Flesh eating bacteria = little teeny weeny zombies!!! 😉

    June 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    Nom nom nom...

    June 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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