'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. kiki

    It's terrible. It's atrocious. It made the news and should have only been displayed ONCE. Media – let's move on. Those who want to see it over and over again can go to youtube, the rest o us would like some other real news. AS in what's happening around the world, how are we Americans aiding hunger in America, what ar eth ereal unemployment nubers, etc.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. citizenUSA

    It is funny to read all the religious zealots postings, How many Chistians around the world eat and drink the "symbolic" body and blood of Christ every Sunday? I guess there's a little zombie in a lot of people...

    June 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Omar's Pal

    Omar Rules!
    God has never helped anyone... why start believing now?

    June 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JV

    All these wackos or aka "zombies" fit the dem profile, and represent their base..These are the poeple the democrap represent. They are finally showing their true colors. The ACLU will proabably sue the victums because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Josh

    That guy reeally enjoyed his manwich.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sancho

      New Jersey man rips his torso open and throws bits of his intestines at police, according to the Bergen Record.
      THAT TOOK ALLOT OF GUTS TO DO THAT TO A COP.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom Clark

    Humans are not God's best work!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ancaps

      what is?

      June 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • PxS

      That's ok ... God isn't exactly mankind's best work either

      June 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg Kells

      I think you got that backwards. God is not our best work. As for the "zombie apocalypse", I think it's more appropriate to call it what it is a few DlCKS acting like DlCKS.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      God could have at least taught humans to USE the brain he gave them.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Shidona Shingle

    Yes: 12 year olds on mom's computer love to discuss subjects such as "zombie apocalypse"... Along with Spongebob, Power Rangers, etc.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Josh

    The black guy just wanted to eat a manwich.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombie

      you mean bumwich.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Blonde Bimbo

    @kiki – "the rest o us would like some other *real news.* AS in what's happening around the world, how are we *Americans aiding hunger in America,*"

    This is real news about hunger in America..."A man in Miami happens upon a homeless man on the sidewalk and chews off 75% of his face in an 18-minute attack."

    June 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Don

    This is the begging of the end. The world will be full of zomibies within the year. I've been waiting my entire life for this!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      Don I hope you learn how to spell before the end... I'm just saying. I think you wanted to say the "Beginning" of the end and not begging.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. claire

    these crimes are grisly and terrifying, and i give my respects and condolences to those who were negatively affected by them.. but the fact that they were all given coverage within a short period of time is mere coincidence. horrible and shocking situations such as these happen all the time. does anyone else remember the murder of junko furuta? the fritzl case? ed gein? jeffrey dahmer? sawney bean? horrible violence against humanity has been around since humanity itself began.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. IMPACT WRESTLING IS BETTER THAN WWE: T N A T N A T N A

    Still better than watching the WWE

    June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      I used to watch that too... when I was 10 and my Dad let me stay up.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LouieD

    **Bad news attracts attention, he said, and when it happens in bunches, people like to attach a name to it, hence, "zombie apocalypse."**

    Are you kidding me? Bad news attracts attention and happens in bunches, but this is the first time I've heard of so much happening that involves cannibalism, disembowelment, dismemberment, and other staples of horror fiction!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • physnchips

      Agreed, this guy either misses the point of the "zombie apocalypse" comments, or just has no sense of humor. Basically no one - I would say no one, but given that people are crazy enough to throw intestines at cops there will be someone - actually believes there is a zombie apocalypse coming.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. w.g.

    Republicans are creating Zombies ! they're called "Tea Baggers" !

    June 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombie_response_team_NOLA

      You should refrain from all those "teabagger" insults w.g. They are the ones that are armed, instructed on survival skills and will be the ones that will either pop you between the eyes or save your sorry a s s when the zombie apocalypse is in full swing.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • GG

      I don't think so. At least zombies have a purpose, to eat BRAINS. Sad thing is they would be starving in this overweight, under educated country. Brains are not to big here. Lots of big mouths though.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. magneticink

    ...if you're interested in learning what the Bible teaches or if you're just curious you can try http://www.biblios.com

    June 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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