'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. IFeelSafe

    Whew! At least this stuff happens all the time. Nothing to worry about...

    June 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sxj016

    Forget guns...machete and a good knife. Ontario 18" D-loop machete and a leather handled tanto-bladed kabar. Sharpen both with a 1500 grit stone till you can see your reflection in the edge...make a straight razor green with envy 😛

    June 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    I don't care what they say... we're all gonna die!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fugit

    Is it too late to Save Some FACE?

    June 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nolan Davus

    "Unless there's another gruesome crime today, expect the zombie apocalypse to be done by next week, he said."
    Yeah, right, buddy. This new PCP movement is just beginning. Call it the zombie apocalypse or whatever you want to call it. There could be no real "Zombies", but the nude black men covered in blood that slowly roam our Florida neighborhoods late at night bringing their extreme violence to neighborhoods they don't belong in sure can give the illusion that they are zombies.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      are there cases of nude black men wandering the streets of miami late at night?

      June 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scott

    Did you want the last few bites, fugit?

    June 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugit

      Homeless people, the new white meat x-p

      June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Afro Zombie Race War

    It's coming down fast, brothers and sisters. Breathe the Liberation Dust and join us!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fugit

    It's OK Zombies feed on brains...most of us are safe! :-p

    June 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Twisted_Princess

      OMG!!! I've been wanting to say that!!!! LOL <3

      June 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BuckRogere

    There has been no report that Trayvon Martin had PCP in his blood. THC doesn't make you violent. (The Walking Dead is pretty kewl).

    June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bubba™

    Most of the posters on this list are safe from having their teeny little brains eaten. I, however, am going to have to be very careful.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugit

      Bubba, are you saying you have even less to spare?

      June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MoreCowbell

    Rule #2: Double Tap

    June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AC

    Zombie Apocalypse! finally!!! Now we'll be able to put in practice all the stuff we thought we could have done better when watching the walking dead, I'm sure some of us already have a plan, lol

    June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bubba™

    There's only one good way to kill a zombie; that's BEAT 'EM and BURN 'EM! (Dawn of the Night of the Dead: The Musical)

    June 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    This is how it starts.
    By the end of next week, we'll all be in hiding with undead hordes over-running the cities.
    Can;t wait! 🙂

    June 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      "undead hordes over-running the cities" Dick Cheney is their leader. Beware of his glowing, green eyes.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Adam

    Bought a reloader!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
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