I love zombies, well more correctly, I love the thought of pitting myself against the horde. I mean, who doesn’t? Although I consider myself a “glass half full” type of guy, I cannot however help but be a little pessimistic over the promise of an inevitable zombie apocalypse.
The truth, I fear, is that even if we discount the overall odds against the ultimate “get out of work and pretty much every other commitment free” card… aka the zombie outbreak… the facts suggest that the outbreak would be far less than anticipated - kinda like when I bought my Kindle Fire and ten minutes later realized, “hmmm, it’s really just a slightly larger version of my phone.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still anticipating the great zombie uprise (and hoping they are slow zombies, not the fast kind, as I’ve been remiss in my cardio), but the reality is there are five reasons it will probably disappoint.
1. Like a Home Depot Sponsored Weather Report:
I grew up in New England where winter meant the possibility of Snow Days. Often I went to bed with the anticipation that I would awake to a foot of snow and an AM radio announcement that schools were closed. And so often I awoke to a dusting and a deep desire to strangle the weatherman for building my hopes.
Today I live in Florida. Hurricanes are all the rage, and when we are in season, nothing sells plywood like a 500-mile hurricane cone of possibility. It seems that a lot of those weather reports are sponsored by the “Home Depot,” as they instigate massive expenditures on the stockpiling of generators and plywood. There are other examples, like the Mayan Calendar Scare.
Blizzards and hurricanes are inevitable but zombies not so much. We live in a modern world with a ton of technology and even more pharmaceuticals. The likely scenario is that the outbreak will be small and it will be contained. A few pockets of fun, maybe a day or two off from work, and then business as usual…and a lot of bottled water to finish up. I fear most of us will have to stand by and watch the footage and never actually see a zombie. But let's say it goes a little beyond that and builds up a head of steam…
2. Millions Standing Around:
Half the fun of a zombie apocalypse is being the last survivor and finding a safe place to live out your life peacefully. Now while the out of control population may be a benefit to the virus spread it presents two issues.
The first is that I’m not sure how different the world would be with zombies. I travel a lot, and from what I’ve seen there are millions of people already hanging around consuming resources without adding anything to a productive society. We might be disappointed to discover that a zombie outbreak pretty much looks like your average Sunday afternoon at Walmart.
The second and bigger issue is population reduction which is one of the greatest benefits to an outbreak. If half the world died tomorrow that would bring us back to the same population we had in…wait for it…1972!
Now granted I was only six years old in 1972, but I don’t recall anyone complaining that there “aren’t enough people.” So any outbreak is really going to have to do some work to make the world look like a vacant place. But even if it does, there is still the potential of a third disappointment.
3. Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight:
There are about 270 million guns in the United States. The police have an additional million, and the armed forces have about 3 million. That doesn’t include the more massive toys like tanks, jets, and missiles.
Basically, we have 90 guns for every one hundred people. Realistically this is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Even if you don’t have your own gun, just stay inside and let your neighbors clear things out because 8 out of 10 of them have a weapon.
In the US our most significant concern will be the Canadians crossing the border to scoop up our weapons - they have only 30 for every 100 people. Now granted there will be places in the world that are screwed. Our friends in the UK just have about 5 guns per 100 folks so they’ll be using a lot of clubs and knives. However, the Brits are so polite by nature that I’m assuming their zombies will also be courteous and allow citizens to get a head start and only take small bites.
In the US anyway, this adds up to less concern over being killed by a zombie and a higher likelihood of being shot by Billy-Bob’s wild enthusiasm to shoot something other than boar for a change…um pretty much like it is today.
4. “Dude! Stop Stealing My Kills!:
And a shooting gallery it will be. There is such anticipation of killing zombies, the streets will be a literal shooting gallery. You’d be better off to stay at home. I’m confident that ESPN will start a Zombie Fantasy league. The common family man will be lucky to get the opportunity for one or two kills. I imagine it will be like one of those community Easter egg hunts I went to as a kid - too many hunters and not enough eggs. Or perhaps more like a Black Friday electronics sale.
In the movies you so often see people running from the zombies and screaming for help. Like all things Hollywood, this is the least likely scenario - except in cities where they don’t have guns.
Between all the guns and all the excitement, people will be running towards the walking dead trying to up their kill rate and impress their friends. Which is all the result of the final issue-
5. Remain Calm - Kill Zombies:
This has been a public service announcement: People are just too prepared. Granted things might break down if the zombies are runners instead of walkers. Certainly a loss in electricity will throw a wrench in the works, and of course, those guns are not evenly spread across the US (let's just say I’d rather be in Texas or Florida than California when the zombies rise). All that aside, and except for most populated cities, I think the entire thing will be under control in less than a week.
Sure you may become infected, or perhaps some of your family will, but let's face it, no one is going to hesitate to put you down. We’re just too educated on the topic, and we’re too damn eager to kill zombies. You know those people in the movies who always approach the groaning, leg dragging, covered with blood, zombie and ask, “hey are you alright?”? Yeah, that person doesn’t exist anymore.
We’re not going to have a problem of suspending disbelief. And that’s just the average citizen over the age of eight. It doesn’t even account for all the Dooms Day Preppers. Hell, the National Guardsman will be lucky if they get off a shot anywhere but Washington DC or NYC.
If the zombie apocalypse is going to be all that we hope it is, it's going to have to hit us fast and hard, the zombies will need to be runners and not walkers because there will be 300 million guns blazing.
So while I can hope and can certainly write about it, I can’t help but feel that the Zombie Outbreak will come and go with all the satisfaction of Y2K.
By Raymond Esposito
Raymond Esposito is an award-winning dark fiction author and Amazon bestseller. His articles and interviews have appeared in a variety of publications including Family Circle and Sanitarium Magazine. He has a degree in Cognitive Psychology and has spent over 28 years as a criminal behaviorist.