'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. fugit

    And above all do not stand next to Dick Cheney if he has a gun!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth4God

      Ther are only 2 who can stand by Dick Cheney, Satan and Bush....or is that still only one

      June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ala-kat

    The term 'zombie apocalypse' is NOT new, nor will it 'be done by next week'.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    I bet Milla Jovovich is getting alot of friend requests...

    June 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. salinesolution

    It is not the zombies fault. I Blame society for not excepting or tolerating the differences that zombies have from us. If we would just take a moment to sit down and talk to them I think that we would find alot of common ground between us. So in my reelection campaign I promise to make zombie rights a key component of my strategy so that all zombies can live free and equal.

    B. O bama

    June 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugit

      I agree Salinesolution! Zombies should not be afraid to come out of the closet...or from under the bed!

      June 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apocalypse No

      @salinesolution: you conservatives are so obsessed. Must you make everything that ever happens anywhere in the world some sort of nonsense about President Obama? Seriously? Dude, get a life. Sounds like zombies ate your brain.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      As opposed to telling us what to do with our bodies, and what to eat, drink, what work is befitting of us commoners, no rights as workers, and having the wealthy treat us like serfs.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Lol You got to love those who think fighting for civil rights is a BAD thing.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I guess they would have brain rather then beer fest.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Baggs

    Look, some of them have even learned how to type.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • YoBabyYoBabyYoBabyYo

      @Baggs: LOL

      June 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • cooper

      there still humans but there high

      June 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justaname

      Very funny. I like that. 🙂

      June 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leigh2

    I think there is something more than a wee bit off and supernatural going on. However, to me, this doesn't fall into the realm of a 'zombie apocalypse'.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tha Chikin

    The sad fact is: the living do way more horrible things than the dead. I am blown away every single day by what I see in the news. I always find myself asking "what is wrong with you people?!" It also doesn't help that I am a Floridan. It's a virtual cesspool down here.

    And really Talan: "expect the zombie apocalypse to be done by next week"? Not likely... zombies have been a part of mainstream media since the 1969 release of Night of the Living Dead. Even beyond because zombies have been feared since ancient times. Just wait till the Walking Dead starts up again and the release of World War Z. That said... **zombie walk** BRAIIIIIINS!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tha Chikin

    Definitely the face eating incident. Only in Miami...

    June 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio Alvarez

      that barely ever happens here in Miami to begin with! I think it's a Hatian thing

      June 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. glades2

    The problem is that as with the Nazis during WWII, human life to the x-generation is cheap – legalizing abortion made this become a reality, because to the public life was deemed disposable and is why we have approached the 50 million mark in the number of human that were literally disposed of. True, atrocities of this kind have happened many times over the centuries, usually during wartime, but to have it happen so frequently in the public eye is incredibly disturbing – but again most anyone under 40 seems to believe that evil and the devil is nothing more than a creation of Hollywood – it is very real and as the Bible says, lies in wait to devour anyone who approaches it...

    June 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • biblethumper

      and how many people did god kill in the bible???

      June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      @ glades2
      What you have is called nostalgia syndrome. The irrational belief that any given time in the past was someone how better, simpler or having had higher morals. Do a little reading and you’ll learn human life has never been more valued WORLD WIDE than anytime in history.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scelina

    Zombie Apocalypse is here?! Headed to the store now, must stock up on TWINKIES!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      The most important things to remember in a zombie apocalypse: Twinkies, cardio, limber up, double tap, check the back seat, avoid cities. Everything else is gravy.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. svann

    The center does not hold

    June 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sean

    Can someone please confirm that the victim in Miami isnt running around the hospital eating the other patients.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      I tried, no one is picking up the phone at the hospital. Must been an outage.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Dude in Atlanta

      Can't confirm that, but I DID hear that after firing several rounds of large caliber bullets into this guys torso, he was untazed.
      It took a HEADSHOT to take this guy down.

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

      Drove by the hospital after getting nothing but busy signals....half the windows were broke out sheets hanging out of windows...evidence of explosions on two seperate floors.
      and two ambulances smashed up with blood all over the entrance walls....
      I think it's begun........

      June 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Drove by the hospital after getting nothing but busy signals....half the windows were broke out sheets hanging out of windows...evidence of expl os-ions on two seperate floors.
      and two ambul ances smashed up with blo- od all over the entrance walls....
      I think it's begun........

      June 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dangerkittie

    I really shouldn't be opening the link to the guy ripping open his torso and throwing his intestines at police, but really...I can't help myself...I know I'll be sorry.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul

    Not to make light of a bad situation, but dude if you got to go out cutting your own stomach open and throwing your intestines at the cops is pretty much up there.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Spidey-Man

    As long as I got My Lady Michonne beside me I'll be just fine.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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