'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. Kip

    I think the incident with the guy chewing off the guys face while he was alive is the winner in the effed up category. But the other guy killing then eating his roomie is awful close by comparison. At least he was dead before he got eaten.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • midds

      the craziest is the guy throwing his intestines at the cops by far!!!

      June 2, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
    • lynn

      not even close dude. Its the woman who eat her babies brain and a few toes.

      June 4, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Lunchtime yet?

    June 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Oh Jeff, leave it to you. lol

      June 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |

    I better start pouring my concrete parameter tonight

    June 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Some Dude in Atlanta

      It's too late.They are coming for you.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      While a 'parameter' won't save you from the flesh-eating ghouls, a 'perimeter' might.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Matador

      perimeter* Parameter means something else entirely.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dominic Carone

    There is a good entry at the MedFriendly Blog today called Why All of the Recent Human Cannibalism?

    June 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Germana Desaint

      Oh I see......so this is the media's fault now?


      Read the Bible, Revelation, repent for your sins before its late

      June 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rig A Mortis

    *Special Message from the President of the NAAZP (National Association of American Zombie Pocolypse)*

    Brains, argh, nom, nom, nom, grahh, nom!

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

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

    There will be NO Zombie Apocalypse!
    I know this for a fact, because the government told me so.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. flat

    "no matter how your life is going, someones got it worse"... tell that to the man who got his face chewed off!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Yellow Journalism

    "My son is not a zombie."
    Yes we know, but how else would CNN compete against the National Enquire, Weekly World News' "Hillary Adopts Alien Baby", or even ignore the massive vacuum left by News of the World. Its Yellow journalism at its bottom feeding best.
    "Champaign for everyone! This was a great week!"

    June 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're a Moron.

      It's spelled champagne you moron.

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


    Kidding, of course. This is a joke. Glad to see people taking it seriously.

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

    This is what I interpret

    a BLACK man chews off a WHITE mans face in FLORIDA. Racial Crime and Racial Insanity. I dont trust black people period.

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

      Good one sally! Now have the nice orderly give you your meds.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • kyle

      maybe white people taste like chicken?

      June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Courtney in Florida

      To Sally,
      Way to go on being a strait up racist! I am a white women and my thoughts on this story are totally opposite of yours. By the way, the victim does not look white. People of all races and genders do grotesque and sick things all of the time. Just remember what white people in the South did to blacks during the Civil Rights Era.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann-ne

      I don't either and I am one ( black minority) . F with them and they'll bite your damn face off! LITERALLY!!!!!LOL

      June 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann-ne

      in response to Sally
      I don't trust black people either and I am one ( black minority) . F with them and they'll bite your damn face off! LITERALLY!!!!!LOL. I did recently get my rabies shots and carry my record with me just in case I get a hot @$$ and have to start bite'n LOL

      June 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • greenace

      sally i bet you would trust the homeless guy wouldnt you!

      June 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kindafreakedout

    none of you actually believe in zombies...right?

    June 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Hell yes!!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jason S

    I don't believe it's a zombie apocolypse, I do believe somethstrange is going on.

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

    Hide ya kids, hide ya wife!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC603

      And hide yo' husband.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul


    June 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AC

    That would explain Romney.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
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