'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. Pleaseflameme

    They are calling this the Zombie Apocalypse. Everyone I know is horrified and bemused at the same time. Cannibalism vs Zombies? Okay! Call it what you will! End of times? We have been progressing towards it ever since we crawled out of the ocean. I am terribly sorry for everyone that is involved and regardless of the coincidence of the nature of these events, My heart still goes out to them. However, the general public, for the most part, is making light of this and calling it a zombie apocalypse....anyone who says that they are not, is totally full of it.

    June 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. south4evr

    Thanks CNN, I can't remember the last time I had this much fun on the internet!!!

    You think this is going to go away? Not on a bet. I'm having way too much fun!!

    BRAINS, MUNCH, MUNCH!!! Double Tap.....BANG, BANG !!

    June 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jjpileggi

    Movie loves are having a wonderful time with this.

    John Pileggi

    June 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mmmyrraaa

    havnt you people noticed that theres been more and more wierd behaviors from people?? uhh if you even read what i read. its due yto the polar change. it affects peoples behavior. im not suprosed. and were gonna be seeing alot worswe things happening. and have the government just lie to us even more. aliens and universe all the way

    June 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Antonio

    I do not see Whitney Houston or Trayvon Martin rising from the grave and eating people. Come on ya'll. Not being disrespecful to Whitney or Trayvon, but we as a people have got to start looking at things as Mind over Matter.

    June 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tj

    if it bite you will you turn into one and i would suggest get all of bathsalt and ship them all up and put into a safe place and onley the top 3 shod now the kode to it

    June 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. its real

    june 3 7 pm we are in chicago, there are entire neighborhoods with zombie like helpf........................

    June 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jade

    Absurd! sects and people whom have failed to predict the "end of the world" is whom is behind all this. they are jealous because they will never know when it will be that day... But of course all kind of things happen int his world..they(sects government, crazy people) just want us to feel fear which prevent our DNA to evolve. What is the goal ?....many subjects.

    June 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lauren

    can I just say, is anyone going to stand and do anything about this, everyone say's that 2012 will be the last year before the end of the world, i dont want to be ate by any person, and has it been proven that these people have took any drug or are people just saying that to make us feel better about it, i dont think so.. i think black ops has defenetly became real lol, someone better do something about it or i can see riots happning all over the world untill we get told the absalute truth.

    June 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • A random guy

      Well when I first heard the news about this attack I was just as you really scared that it was really a zombie outbreak going on but it isn't. I am somewhat of a zombie fanatic so I know lots about this stuff. If it was a zombie that attacked the homeless guy he would have been reanimated about 24 hours after the attack and my sources tell me they he's still alive but hasn't risen and started eating ppl so it's all good!

      June 4, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • erikdw

      defenetly, absalute, JFC. I think it's high time for a Zombie Apocalypse with such bright minds populating our world.

      June 4, 2012 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • ccd

      everyone is a clueless zombie, and has been lied to about our savior, the letter J wasnt even added into the alphabet untill 1458 way after "jesus" was born. jesus isnt his name...

      June 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. KMAC

    Too much news is turning us all into zombies.......be afraid!!!!

    June 4, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. vet2640

    I have my "zombie" equalizer at the "ready". It's the politicians that you really gotta watch and track.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Noe

    I would say this just nothing of a zombie sort but i do believe that something big might happen. you got to take the fact that the Miami case sounds more like zombie thing,eating someone alive is zombie like and the part cutting yourself up and throwing your guts at the police. some of you people think drugs came into this,but i high believe that's incorrect because how many cases have you heard that included cannibalism? Yet even if we try we will never know when the end of the world will happen.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. JES

    Kinda irratating when major news organizations use the word "zombie" in an article to describe a wack job job who lost their gord and did harm to others. To me using that term makes a joke out of a horrific act and they should be ashamed for doing so.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary

    It is not the End of the World, JESUS is coming, Be Prepared, repent and believe in Him and he will give you Eternal Life

    June 4, 2012 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
    • wilson

      I rather take my chances with the zombies. Besides, wasn't Jesus a zombie too?

      June 4, 2012 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |

    tooo much crazy,it's sad you don't even want to leave your home,, to many crazy people, and to much crazy news stories,,,just call me shut inn

    June 4, 2012 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
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