'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. vet4life63

    Another zombie attack. Shopping list > get another 20rd drum mag for the Saiga 12 shotgun, better pick up some 15 pellet magnum OO buck, maybe a few slugs. I think Hornady makes "Zombie " Ammo for the .45...... Ok, ready. Hmmm gonna need bait. I know Just put out some Bath Salts, all the low lifes will come running to get their "fix". Then they can get "fixed". LOL.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. irock

    I got home late last night and my wife gave me the cold shoulder....

    June 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • dashikirona

      is ur wife a black zombie?

      June 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      1st sign of zombie-itis....be careful around her!

      June 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin Morgan

      ba dum bum!

      June 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zombi King

    Dont believe CNN its just a cover up of really something interesting

    June 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Z_2k

    bath salts...so good.....make you wanna chew the face off yo' Momma.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann-ne

      Z_2k I chewed it – no bath salts needed!!!!

      June 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lewis Keseberg

    Human flesh is a delicacy. Ask any Catholic – they eat it weekly.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann-ne

      Lewis – I am a recovering catholic – we used to eat people 3 times a day – it was weekly, usually on Sunday we drank blood and Fridays we would cleanse ourselves by only eating vegetables. get it right!

      June 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Zombie Apocalypse NOW

    Zombies don't surf!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      They only ride skateboards!! 😛

      June 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    The author obviously did not read the CDC statement as it SPECIFICALLY talked about how the same techinques could be used for normal disasters. What a terrible piece of fluff that read more than an I-Report than a trained journalist.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Journalists are trained? Who you kiddin'?

      June 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. irock

    I think if I was to eat anyone it would be Taylor Swift, Looks yummy!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • midogs2

      Excellent choice, irock.....................

      June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kubricksmind

    I have a bat and a machete.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. midogs2

    I don't want to be eaten, literally........lol

    June 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. caesarbc

    The next US President is going to have to learn how to stop people from eating each other.
    I never thought I'd have to say that.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PEDO BEAR

    CNN is headed by a zombie. Why else would they be saying the zombie apocolypse is fleeting. Nonesense, this is only the beginning. People need to start stockpiling on food and water, double check that your guns are in good working order. Order repeaters and reloaders. Dust off that old Louisville Slugger and for god's sake....DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!!!! 😛

    June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cnnlicksit

    This cannot be a zombie apocalypse. 1) The bath salts and drugs effect eventually wears off so the so called zombie will come down from their zombie rage. 2) This is not contagious. A person bitten up by this guy does not become a zombie themselves. Therefore no zombie apocalypse. OK sorry about the extreme geek out. haha.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • also...

      zombies are bodies that have risen from the dead...

      June 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sugar Mama

    Where does it say ANYWHERE that this guy bit off the victim's genital, except in your fantasies????

    June 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Well there is no evidence of bath salt used by this person just slandering say so. Although I don't believe in this new drug. Now if CNN wants real investigative reporting. POW and POW reloaded considered one of the strongest, is manufactured in METAIRIE LA. by "Robshop" headshop and distributed and the state knows about it even though it's been banned. Wait in Alexandria La there is a head shop I never knew of because no such place I thought existed around here. Anyway this place sells it and allowed to. All the convenient stores are upset that there is preferences around here. Around here it's a territory thing. Crystal,bath salts, etc. All this I got from simple research on the net and actually speaking to store owners, then seeing for myself in the Alexandria head shop myself. I didn't buy anything either just browsed. The local government here looks the other way until it interferes with...."territory". Have fun CNN. this is real news.

      June 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      "Eat more chikin!!!"....Truett Cathey, Chick-Fil-A founder and CEO

      June 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      true lol so true I'm eatin chiken

      June 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      Haven't you heard of some people "Thinking w/ their other head" ?

      Zombies then can't be faulted for searching for tasty brains in that other member.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Burners

    About frickin' time! Expect more to come out after dusk!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
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