If you’re like me, when you see someone shuffling down the street awkwardly you don’t assume he’s just drunk or injured, but instead you think, “Uh-0h, a ZOMBIE!  I gotta get home and put my survival plan into action!”

The concept of “zombie” is burned so deeply into the public’s psyche that we should have a clear advantage over the oblivious characters regularly shown in movies. But media expert James Norton suggests that, in a non-catastrophic zombie outbreak, our enhanced awareness may actually cause more harm than good.

According to Norton, a key indicator in the level of panic and resulting societal breakdown in any crisis is our ability to access and rationally process new information.

“If we can’t get near constant updates on the situation at hand, our minds will jump to thoughts of a doomsday scenario. And because we already have an understanding of zombies, people will behave as if the end of the world has come even if the infection is small and contained.”

Highlighting the potential problem, Norton cites a Market Research World study showing that the public’s trust of official government information is at the lowest point in history.  Traditional news outlets rely heavily on the government for updates in a public health disaster, so people will tend not to believe their televisions.

Shoot first and ask questions later may quickly become the rule of the day.

So if you ever hear reports of a dead person waking back up and biting someone, don’t knock on your neighbor’s door to share the news. You may get shot through the gut, just in time to find out that it’s nothing but a false alarm.


  1. Exactly in the first few weeks of the outbreak zombies won’t be most peoples worst threat: the most dangerous threat will be….

    ……other people

  2. This might happen to some people, but most zombie smart people will probably just keep on doing their normal thing, like work, games, and being with friends, though they keep an eye out for more reports. It’s not until the likelihood of what is going on being zombies is around 25%-50% when you see the zombie smart people taking the extra steps for survival, along with them bringing other people they trust into their plans.

    Let’s not forget that a zombie outbreak may be bad, but a zombie still can’t shoot or rape you, well we hope not. it will always be other people that will be the biggest threat, and with most parts of the world with bloated populations, most zedd smart people will keep their supply’s a secret once they hear anything about real zombies.

    • Exactly. In most disasters, it’s people who cause the most damage. Hurricane Rita hit my area in 2005. It caused 7 deaths. A hundred more died in stampedes, car wrecks, and robberies while fleeing. Ironically, those deaths occurred more than a hundred miles from the affected area.

      In 1977 NYC had a blackout. Thousands were injured in the riots and looting that followed. People were killed and hundreds of city blocks were destroyed. The blackout lasted 22 hours.

      Fear the people

  3. i have connections all over the world. if one of my friends sees a zombie or hears a news report of any zacktivity they call me immediately. i also watch and read several different news shows and papers/magazines from several different countries including the U.S and canada. this gives me a broader view of what’s really going on because different people say do and see things differently. and i double check things first. ever see las vegas in the morning? i am aware of when there might be a threat but i’m also aware there’s a good possibilty everythings fine.besides i allready live in a zombie proof fortress.

  4. What are these news organizations that you speak of? lol But seriously, I never did watch tv news shows. Any news I read comes from the internet. Though, most of it is whatever Yahoo news decides to put up on the site.

    How I figure it, we won’t actually know about any outbreak unless people blog about it. I figure that the gov’t and major news orgs won’t even use the “z word” to describe what they are all thinking.

    I also figure that should zombies ever actually appear, it’ll be posted here. And since I check this atleast a couple times a day, I’ll see it.

  5. two things I’d like to point out is that first, school closings wont crash the internet. when 3:00 on a Friday afternoon rolls around and all the 80 million kids get home from school whats the first thing they do? they grab a hot pocket, and check their facebook. while it might cause a lag in the internet, it will be hardly noticeable, especially for people with a high speed connection which is just about everyone. so the internet wouldn’t crash, but we’d pretty much be boned in every other way imaginable. and second, you’d be surprised how many people are still so naive about where the major news corporations get their info. no matter what, people will always over-react to the news. otherwise do you think everyone would be shitting themselves over this swine flu crap? while the news is completely manipulated by major corporations and government, the majority of Americans will always let the news do their thinking for them.

    • Good points, Anthony.

      Re: Internet- I think the point is that all adults will be frantically checking the net for information, and then if school closes 80 million kids will be added to the mix. That total number would cause the crash. At least that’s the argument.

      Re: News Media- The people who are “zombie aware” might also be aware enough to not trust the media – leading them to the internet, etc. You can see the cycle.

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