'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. Pan3

    Power to the Zombies!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tebojockey

    It's all over but the gnawing! Goodbye social structure, goodbye demanding society, pure chaos here we come! We can only hope politicians are tastier than us regular folk!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elliot

    Don't worry, Zombie Jesus will rise again and eat all our brains and save our souls.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Amen Brother!

      June 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Travis

    As in every "zombie apocalypse" movie, book, video game, and comic, the media are the first ones trying to convince you it really isn't happening. Hmm...

    June 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Arthurrrr

    this news item should deeply disturb you. It should not desensitize you. It should not be the butt end of jokes, because that would mean you are sick. it should make you seek God more because worse things are coming-i guarantee you.

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

      thanks for the laugh.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Every single person from your group that has guaranteed us…has been proven wrong and is now a laughing stock. Guess whos next.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenUSA

      If you please, how do you guarantee your prediction? If it's because that's how society has evolved ever since the existence of humans, then I follow and agree. If it's because of a story you read in a book, You've been duped!

      June 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ♚Mmmmm♛

    so hilarious...we already have an apocalypse...it is called HIV/AIDS...and abortion...

    June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. citizenUSA

    If you eat somebody, you're not a zombie but a cannibal, unless it's your girlfrien... NO! I did not just say that!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ZombieWhere

    The end is nigh, get in where you fit in....wwwzombiewherecom

    June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tony rodolakis

    Why did that man bite the face of a homeless-man in Miami? That man bit the face of a homeless-man in Miami, because he let the devil get the best of him. Amen. So sad. People, wake-up, the devil is real, and he does not take no prisoners. How do you beat the devil? You beat the devil, in, through, and by prayer. Amen. Why should you beat the devil? You should beat the devil, because if you do not beat him, then he will beat you. Amen. The Holy Church Fathers teach us how to beat the devil. They teach us to pray, "O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.", continually and silently, (although you can and should pray this with your mouth as well, whenever you feel the need to, which is probably always, and please do not be afraid to pray this with your mouth, even, no, especially before your neighbor.). What do I mean by this? What I mean by this, is that you must not let no-one, nothing, nor nobody keep you from the Jesus, not even the self of you, especially not even the self of you, because the self of you needs him more than it needs anything at any time or place, and that is forever. Amen. It also helps to swallow your pride, and we all have it, except for the Jesus, who is, was, and will always be, the only prideless-one that ever walked on the planet that we are on right now. Amen. Swallow your pride, or else, your pride will swallow you. Amen. The God bless you-all with the richest blessings that he has for you-all in Christ Jesus, here, now, always, and forever, and unto all of the ages of all of the ages, amen.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotJesus

      Jesus (is) (was) a zombie.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • opethfan

      what is it with every little thing that happens people have to start say repent god this god that save your soul...do you guys really believe what you spew. evolution was proven over a century ago...religion should be the mark of insanity. everyone says people kill people because they dont know jesus.. If i remember my history correctly religious fanatics killed people off in the name of god since written history began. if anyone should repent it should be christians. repent to your fellow man for being such a dangerous aspect of society

      June 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NotJesus

    Another reason for Christians to repent using God to force the will of themselves onto others.


    June 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. suckitcnn

    cnn is so gdam stupid

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

      i seconed that action

      June 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. M@inSaginaw

    The worst thing you say about another contains some truth about yourself- Deepak Chopra.
    It is unfortunate for both men...the homeless man that lost his face and the man on whatever drug that made him dilussional who died. We should not judge but use ALL tragedies to move us towards compassion and action to help our fellow man. As it would seem this man has done a horrible thing, how many times have we sood by and took no action when something bad has happened, is that not as tragic? We are given these examples for us to act on, when we do not act we will be forced to relive these moments again and again.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Futon Torpedo

    Former VP Dick Cheney is NOT a zombie.... He's a CYBORG! Larry King IS a zombie!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. They're Coming to Get You, Barbara

    Zombie survival skill no. 56.
    Never lend a zombie your GPS

    June 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Phil

    Don't worry, the government will supplement affordable flesh for everyone!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Save us Barack-o!!!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
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