'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. ak98m1

    Why wouldent a man that is naked, on the side of the freeway, eating another man' s face, be called a zombie? Im confused? What else would you call this? A man eater? A face eater? come on people! ok, he was probably high on somthing, we establish that. But that was some straight zombie crap!!! and to his mother, who says she dosnt want him to be remembered as a zombie....sorry about your luck! this is one people wont forget!

    June 9, 2012 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
    • salavdor

      thats cool ha

      June 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. That guy

    Okay, are you serious right now? This is called mammalian nature -_-, we kill each other, so what. There are other animals out there that also feast on each other. Just, seriously news media? There are more important things than this to be reported about. This is just amusement for those that are not rational.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. serenechaos83

    Wow, I am sorry but to people really have nothing better to do then to believe all the hype of the media. For the love of god turn of the Sci Fi Channel and AMC Walking Dead and go the hell outside. Read a book, go for a walk, something! Jesus people you really think zombies are real or that the apocalypse is coming. Ya know what 12/12 will come and go like any other damn day everything is going to be ok. Stop getting sucked into the damn matrix people. Unplug from the media and hype you'll be just fine!

    June 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kyle

    CDC – Centers for Disease Control – Where in that does it say ANYTHING about tornadoes and hurricanes?

    June 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael watson

    no way is that true. Is it?

    June 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mick9795

    WOW I always wanted to see what it was like but now im not so sure lol 🙂

    June 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hmmmmmm

    zombies... hmmm sound exciting but yet thrilling.. even if this isnt true.. dont you think we all shall be prepared for the apocalypse.. this is how the good movies started.. first they dont believe,,e then happen the attacking then the apocalype began before you knew it..

    June 17, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. ninja433416

    it will happen

    June 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jessica

    #1 there's is other random things happening in this world so the 'Zombie Apocalipse' Is just a normal random thing that happens in this world so be prepared that this may not happen and disappoint you so... This needs to have weapons.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jessica

    Pretext the children. What!? They all ready zombies lol they can eat us all!!! NONONOooooooopoo

    June 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Erin

    Ok congradulations you decide to have the nerve and scare most of the human race its making me a little agrivated because there is a couple that goes to my college and they have built a vault made out of steel under ground packed with all the necessities i for one think that all this nonscence of a "zombie Apocalypes" is just another one of those back ups for the retards who said the world was going to explode and realized it really wasnt so they took advantage of a new reason by the whole rampage of people loving zombies last year so for everyone reading this im not saying people wont go crazy and eat people so just be prepared with weapons and knives but for sure i know the "zombie Apocalypes" will NEVER happen but for a fact again Congradulations you have terrified the human being of our society!!! -_-

    June 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Justaname

    And of course because Talan is a Public Communications professor, he would know if the Mayan apocalypse is real or not. Everyone knows professors, especially communications professors, know everything…like God.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hmm....braaains!

    so funny readin these comments, u yanks r jokes. if any zombie type outbreak occured it will b a bio-wep from YOUR government ... yet u praise obama??.... or is it mr hussein??...(middle-eastern name)....thought u had 2 b american 2 b president if not hav the "GOVERNATER" promoted..... atleast b gd 2 watch n no1 would go to war wiv a terminator LOOOOOOL

    June 27, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. mercenary76

    a 12g shotgun should take care of the zombie problem , a low tech solution that works .

    June 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donny

      Wrong. A 12ga is too slow to reload.

      June 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. skyelin

    they are just saying they are high or sniffing bath salts to hid the fact that a apoclypse is comin LOL

    June 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
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