What’s the deal with all the zombies?

Guest post by David.

Zombies seem to be everywhere.  I thought it was bad enough when the Center for Disease Control came out with information on personal preparedness in the event of a zombie outbreak, but now that you can get special zombie packaged premium ammunition I started to wonder what is going on.

image by cogdogblog

Ridicule is a powerful tool used to deny the legitimacy of a belief system, birthers, wingnuts, and survivalists, are all names given to groups in order to keep from having to discuss the their arguments based upon their merits.  Many preppers I know hate the rise of the Zombie culture because they believe it makes us look stupid, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

As a prepper I am quite used to being pigeon holed into a category with conspiracy theorists and assorted antisocial crazies.  It used to bother me, but I have been doing some reflection, and I think there are some positive aspects of the Zombie culture that bear discussing.

  1. One of the worst reasons to prepare is because of fear of a single type of disaster.  I remember the Y2K craze, and how much panic buying came from it.  New Year’s Day 2000 did not come with relief, but left many with the feeling of being the victim of a con.  I fear the same with the Mayan 2012 calendar devotees.  But since I have a feeling that no one actually believes in the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse, it’s a great way to introduce the idea of an All Hazards plan without being bogged down with WHAT you are prepping for.
  2. Preparing for disasters is a very serious activity.  Performing a risk assessment and opening yourself to the idea that bad things can happen, and that no matter what you do, you can never protect yourself from everything.  Zombie hunting adds a little light-heartedness to a very heavy topic.  It keeps you from taking the subject too seriously.  For me, it helps to remind me to relax and take time to spend with my family instead of being Mr. Preparedness 24-7-365.
  3. Zombies are a euphemism for the unprepared individuals that turn angry and violent in their desperation.  As a new dad, I hate to see my baby cry.  When he gets hungry and starts to cry I sometimes cannot help but imagine what I would do if there was no food to feed him.  As long as I am alive, my boy won’t starve, and I bet every dad feels the same way.  If you are prepared enough to fend off the brute force of a mob of zombies, then you are starting to realize what needs to be done to fend off a horde of desperate individuals.  Prepping for zombies is a lot friendlier on the psyche than thinking about shooting real people.  Desperate people aren’t necessarily evil.  But neither were zombies before they reanimated into the living dead.  I have a duty to my family first.  I will protect my family before I take any action to help anyone else.  Zombies ignore that at their own peril.
  4. Zombies are an introduction into the world of disaster prepping.  It can start as watching a movie for entertainment, progress into lighthearted what-if, get a little more serious, and then blossom into a full prepping lifestyle.  Zombies allow you to talk about prepping with your non-prepping friends without preaching.  A little “Hey, did you see last night’s Walking Dead episode? I sure would hate to have drink out of a nasty stream like they did,” could open the door to mentioning how to purify water in a disaster.

In the end it is about credibility.  While some people dismiss the validity of prepping, and use any excuse to try to make preppers look stupid, we have the strength of the truth.  Prepping is a positive activity.  It is about saving, learning skills, using our resources wisely, and being as independent as we can be.  This saves valuable resources so that people who need help don’t have to compete with everyone else to get it.  As an educator and prepping activist, I cannot afford to pick and choose the tools provided to me.  If I can use something to show disaster preparedness in a positive light, I will do so.  Yes, the whole zombie thing may be a little off the wall, but one of the most popular shows on TV is about zombies, and there are many parallels to a large scale catastrophic disaster.  That makes it useful.  Remember, it’s not stupid if it works.

David is a full time emergency manager, trainer, and the author of “Understanding the Use of Handguns for Self Defense” as well as the upcoming guide “52 Prepper Projects for Self Reliance”.  You can see his other articles and DIY prepper projects at his website www.tngun.com



There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

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  1. Alison says

    What about the drug crazed “zombie” that bit off a man’s ear? Maybe the real zombies are humans on phycho-active drugs. The truly scary thought is to consider that as a form of chemical warfare.

  2. Roxy2711 says

    Good timing on the article! I was just talking with my in-laws about this very subject a few days ago. They were wondering why zombies were everywhere these days and then they wanted to know if it offended me that people linked zombies to prepping… I told them it is a fun, lighthearted way to get people to start thinking about survival scenarios and prepping. And I’m all for anything that gets people to start thinking!

  3. Rebekah says

    I read an article once about how vampires are an analogy for aristocrats. This led me to think of zombies and the commentary they are on society. In a very real way I think as a society we are very zombie like: mindless consuming hunger (shopping for more and more stuff), there are more zombies then non-zombies (more consumers than producers), to kill zombies the survivors have to destroy their brain (dumb the people down – ignorant people seem to consume unnecessary things more). So, in some way the zombies are already here, a trigger just needs to happen and it’ll become obvious. Makes me think of the Rwandan Holocost described in Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

  4. Lindsay says

    This is spot-on. I agree 100%. In fact, for all the reasons listed, we have chosen to call our disaster preparedness class for families including babies and young children, “Zombie Apocalypse Patenting.” This gives us an amusing talking point to introduce the class to customers in our store who might be interested in taking it. It also gives us an easy way to keep the class from being too depressing. We laugh a lot, and everyone learns important survival skills and prepping techniques to become more prepared for a host of possibilities.
    Thanks for this post!

  5. says

    Great article. Sadly, it is easier to think of zombies as the enemy. I can out think a zombie. It would be much harder to take on a thinking, armed individual. I would rather face a zombie horde of 5,000 than 50 armed soldiers.

  6. charley says

    I love this article, and so on point. Every monday morning we talk about Walking Dead at work. It’s a great oprotunity to engage in ‘what if’ and ‘what would you do’ and ‘where would you go’ discussions. It’s a chance to throw a tad bit of prepping towards someone without their even knowing it. And if something sticks….great! All the talk makes people think and hear other ideas. If something ever did happen they would have those thoughts already in mind. Also had the chance, when someone mentioned ‘opting out’ to pull from your great video blog from the other day. After pointing out about leaving his family to struggle on their own he thoughtfully said that he could never do that to his mom. Zombies simply represent anything or anyone who may be a threat to your safety and the safety of your family. “We don’t kill the living.” took a backseat when the living posed a threat to the group. And those ‘drug crazed’ zombies that are high on bath salts, they are doing more that just biting off ears. People on that stuff are unstopable and it’s a growing problem.

  7. Sarah says

    I nearly tore my hair out when Herschel said, “I’ll stock some food in the basement that will last a few days if need be.”

    ARgg! What the heck else have they been doing with their time then?? The world is overrun with dead people, the stores and houses are all sitting around with food in them and nobody has yet thought to stockpile a bunch of it nearby? It’s not like zombies eat food or anything. They pretty much ignore the stuff. And don’t get me started on the cows and chickens running around unprotected – the zombies DO eat them!

    *rolls eyes* .. television writers

    I admit to being fully addicted to that show though :)

  8. says

    Very good article! I have found myself on the receiving end of ridicule many times for my beliefs in preparedness. You’re so on mark about people dismiss the validity of prepping, and use any excuse to try to make preppers look stupid. I just went through this a couple days ago, talking with someone who actually laughed at me and asked if I was afraid of the zombies.
    Thank you for the good article.

  9. says

    The joke’s on us. We’re all turning into zombies. From NaturalNews.com

    Are we now witnessing the rise of the zombies? Humans who subject themselves to fluoride, aspartame, psychiatric drugs, vaccines and street drugs end up lobotomizing their higher brains. Vaccines, for starters, cause extreme neurological damage, and some vaccines are actually made of aggressive viruses designed to “eat” targeted regions of the brain, resulting in a biological lobotomy.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035990_zombie_apocalypse_Miami_police.html#ixzz29pyXykDs

  10. Scott says

    This is not an accident, it is fully intentional. It is the preparing of a generation to commit murder on an industrial scale. In the not to distant future there will be hoards of people in all populated areas dying from famine. These innocent people will be be at the mercy of the military establishment who will be acting under the direct command of the U.N. The military will be given full authority to slaughter the starving population of “Zombies” as they will be called in slang language by a well-fed military. The military will be given full pardons to slaughter 100s of thousands if not millions and it will be deemed “Mercy Killings”.

  11. Mikie says

    Most people understand that Zombies are a metaphor for any and all disasters. Zombies do allow us to speak about prepping with sounding paranoid, just a little humorous. Government stats say that more than 50% of the US population now lives in an urban area. With only 2-3 days of food on the shelves of stores, those populations are going to be in a world of hurt in a very short time. And if water pressure is lost, a goodly portion will be dead before the food runs out.

  12. Victoria says

    I was just having this conversation last week. It is a fad, just like the whole vampire thing was for a few years. I personally like the zombies a lot more than teenage vampires, but that’s me. Sure, most of these people will drop this zombie fascination when the next best thing comes up. But when that hurricane / earthquake / tornado comes and the government is dragging their feet to pick up the pieces, that silly zombie kit will come in handy. And if they are anything like my family was after hurricane Katrina, they will most likely see no government aid at all. I think this zombie obsession is a great thing for our county as ridiculous as it sounds.

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