Garrison Ebie

Mankind is faced with countless imminent threats that can potentially wipe us off the face of the Earth. Nuclear holocaust, civil unrest, mass starvation and global warming are all some serious threats that usually get the most attention. But as bizarre as it seems, I feel like I need to bring up another very real, very possible Armageddon that no one ever takes very seriously. I want to talk about a zombie apocalypse.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “Zombies? Are you kidding me? That’s completely unrealistic.” But look, if people are willing to take global warming seriously based off scientific accounts they didn’t conduct themselves, the possibility of an outbreak of the undead really shouldn’t be entirely disregarded. After all, is Al Gore really that much more credible than the clerk at a comic book store?

The popular conception of a zombie outbreak in the movies goes something like this: For whatever scientific reason the viewer hardly understands, walking corpses that are oblivious to dismemberment, shotgun blasts and all other forms of pain, begin to roam a community and are out on the prowl for living humans. These humans in exile are usually barricaded behind strong doors and are stacked up with a fair amount of artillery. Then some dummy walks out into the street and gets bit by a hostile zombie and soon enough, turns into one as well and joins in on the carnage. As you can imagine, the relative simplicity of transmitting the zombie “virus” can turn into a huge problem in densely populated areas.

If ever there came a time where corpses actually would rise from the dead, I will admit it seems unlikely that they would be craving human flesh. But consider a brand new epidemic sickness out on the street. It’s a virus that has mutated from inside a petri dish at a confined laboratory into a full-scale infection, finding its way into the human body. It kills its victim within minutes of transmission, then resuscitates the heart and turns the body into an empty shell without a consciousness that wanders about aimlessly and completely ignores all external influences.

This scenario, however, does not seem to carry the weight it takes to really cause the destruction of all civilization. To keep my argument intact that a zombie holocaust is worthy of concern, I think we’ll have to suspect that these things are going to be violent.

Still, an unknown mutation of a virus sounds probable enough for me to take seriously. And apparently, real life scientists are taking it seriously, too. According to the BBC, researchers in Canada have concluded that “…if zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilization unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.”

These scientists didn’t actually break any new ground on the realistic nature of zombies. In fact, most of their real-life applications tend to deal with more non-life threatening problems like fungal infections. But again, no one has ruled that we’re totally out of the woods.

What we are left with, though, is a perfect example of the unpredictable nature of a potential spread of the zombie infection. No one would have any idea what to expect – and this is exactly why I feel comfortable comparing a zombie apocalypse to any other theory on how humanity will end.

One fear-monger might say, “Well, all these nuclear weapon stockpiles might spontaneously launch at random targets.” And another might say, “All those greenhouse gases are going to drown us one day when the polar ice caps melt.”

Well, I’m saying that all these biomedical shenanigans in laboratories these days might bring on some disastrous viral infection that turns the whole human race into the living dead.

It’s worth a thought, at least. In the meantime, watch some big-budget Hollywood films about the end of times and take notes. Be it zombies, killer robots, asteroids, planetary alignments – it’s all there, and all just as likely or unlikely as the last.

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].