May 10, 2014
Senate Discusses Zombie Possibility
Let’s be honest, there are some of us who actually want the zombie apocalypse to happen. We are so into zombies, particularly with the current success of The Walking Dead, endless zombie movies, and zombie video games, that we want to believe it really could come true.
I am not saying this is how I feel, incidentally, it is just an impression I get when I hear people talking about how realistic the possibility of a zombie-like virus is. It does sound sometimes like they can’t wait to say “I told you so,” before strapping on a large collection of deadly weapons and going out into the night.
One senator even raised the question as to the extent to which people should be armed in such an event, although admittedly it was tongue-in-cheek. Proposed legislation in the form of Senate Bill 296 would, if passed, give gun owners in Florida the right to carry concealed weapons, without the need for the usual paperwork, during a state of emergency, says the LA Times.
The bill is aimed more realistically at crises such as hurricanes, but Democratic Sen. Dwight Bullard, who opposes the Bill and describes it as “laughable,” sarcastically asked if “An act relating to the zombie apocalypse” was necessary. He went on to point out that a crisis situation is “the last instance in which you want someone who is not a concealed permit holder to carry a weapon.” Ironically, I’m sure there is a movie or TV show waiting to happen that tackles the subject of gun owners losing their shit and taking to the streets in crazed packs threatening the end of civilization.
This is not the first time a zombie analogy has been used in government, the LA Times points out, since “The Centers for Disease Control in 2011 came up with the ‘Zombie Pandemic” survival guide.” The extremity of a zombie pandemic makes it a good umbrella term when referring to any imaginable disaster.
Zombie disasters may be useful for making points clearly in government, and for entertainment, but how real is the possibility of something like it actually occurring? redOrbit spoke to a couple of microbiologists, whose assessments were both similar: they said that a mutation of rabies could result in something not unlike a zombie virus.
As rabies exists now, there are already similarities. It affects the brain, induces a kind of craziness, is passed on through the transfer of bodily fluids particularly with biting, and, I hadn’t realized until I red the redOrbit article, “causes you to change your behavior by reprogramming you to bite other people to spread the infection.” The main difference (or sticking point, if you are one of those people who longs for the zombie apocalypse) is that symptoms take a long time to appear, but once they do, they kill very quickly. This means that the time spent wandering around trying to munch on people would probably be too little to count as a zombie apocalypse, even if millions of us suddenly got a super form of rabies.
But rabies as a superbug — one of the real-life phenomenon whereby diseases become resistant to prevention or treatment — could be further enhanced by unnatural means. For example, scientists working for the bad guys and using a virus as a weapon may wish to develop it so that it didn’t kill us, but rather kept us marauding around to try and infect others.
So, drug resistance (common), baddies trying to think of new ways to kill us (worryingly common) and the ever-presence of zombies in the public mind: all could combine to make something very similar to a zombie virus. Then the politicians might not be only using zombies as light-hearted imagery.
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