'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. Jim

    "When there's no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth"

    June 4, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. angel

    its drugs!!! these type of drugs turn people into otherly things! bath salts is meth+pcp+other lethal junk they find in the house to put into this stuff-your brain on drugs is an understatement!!!!! yes, people turn into "zombies" -this is the worst stuff-these are the type of drugs that the DEA should be going after -not marijuana-they should legalize it-this makes people mellow, and hungry but not for human flesh!!!!!! ice cream maybe, but not humans!!!

    June 4, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. AlfredZ

    Jesus wasn't a zombie, just a friendly ghost, like Casper. Now If the movie "The Crazies" have thought us anything, its' that the Government will cover anything up and infect "test subjects" with unknown toxins to see if we can engineer mass destruction using people as weapons. 🙂

    June 4, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. 2el8

    Based on the Mayan calendar and taking into consideration of leap year, the end of the world should have been months ago.
    It’s then end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ummmm

    Proof that we are lost as a society. Utterly lost.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. brett

    I guess when the foodstamps run out you'll eat anything. How much is human per pound?

    June 4, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    "i dont want to be ate by any person"

    Yeah nobody wants to be ATE. Geezus how many times did you flunk 3rd grade?

    June 4, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Gee Bob, too much caffiene? A little harsh brother....

      June 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      OMG! Did I miss-spell caffeine???

      June 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grumpster

    None of this has anything on Ed Gien....I'm waiting for the next fasion line of zombieskin accessories.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • shannon chappell

      that's what im saying, I mean yea that would be scarring to see first hand, but it still has nothing on the Manson murders,ed guein, or Jeffrey dohmer, idk cannabalisim is considered a custom and part of culture in some countries as well. As for zombies its not possible in this case, one the attacker had to be dead(which he wasn't), and the victim would have returned to life as a zombie as well. I've never seen so many people this exited over the end of civilization, i for one would rather not live my last days hiding out in a 'safehouse' to be later eaten by some one...

      June 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      Ed Gein! The original! Love those lampshades. He was one crazy farmer.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brit

    Ever hear of pepper spray?

    June 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Lowe

      Ohhh I'm sure it was just used as seasoning.

      June 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lea

    "Or maybe the Mayan apocalypse...But then again, that isn't supposed to happen until December..."

    The Mayan Calendar never took account for Leap Year. Julius Caesar created that in 45 B.C. If you follow the Mayan Calendar in its exact notion, the "end of the world" was to have happened nearly nine months ago. You really should pay attention to your history lessons.

    As for the "Zombie Apocalypse" happening; not likely. Like what Talan stated, it's just a nickname people placed on gruesome crimes. Grant it, I don't think it'll die down as quickly as he stated (within a week), but it will eventually die down. Now, if bodies were missing from graves and were turning up as murderers/cannibals and the National Guard became involved; Zombie Apocalypse would definitely be the correct term to describe that.

    June 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      Yeah, I agree not likely to happen HOWEVER; Like the CDC said- if you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse then you are prepared for any disaster, So I am preparing the same as I prepare for any disaster- by stocking up...with beer and ammo. Better safe than sorry!

      June 5, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Hbutt

    Yikes..... What has happend to our peacful society?!?

    June 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Seems to be long gone my friend, which is sad.

      June 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • holden bentley

      Unfortunately, WE happened.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MiahName*

    No man nor woman knows when the world will end.

    June 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • holden bentley

      In the bible, Jesus clearly states that no man, "Only the Father" knows when the world will end.

      June 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. #1mommy041587

    All this zombie talk is just crazy don't u think it sounds a little to much like the movies

    June 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. omg

    LMAO at all of you who actually thought there was a REAL zombie attack. You people need to get off the internet immediately.

    Actually, in second thought, please don't go. If you all leave I won't have anyone to laugh at any more.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Merlin

    No, definitely not zombies, but deranged maniacs? Possibly.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
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