Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse

Over the last year or so, the term, ‘zombie apocalypse’ has taken the U.S. and the world by storm.  In August, AMC and Thinkmodo teamed together, created a horde of Hollywood style zombies, and unleashed them on the streets of Manhattan to see what the public’s reaction would be to a real Dawn of the Dead invasion.  The responses were not all laughs.  In fact, some people, including children, were scared out of their minds.  I have my own ideas of pulling such a brilliant but stupid stunt, but I won’t bore you with my terse words or opinion.

After watching this, I had to ask myself  “What is the Zombie Apocalypse?”

Would you believe me if I said it has nothing to do with real zombies (or fake ones), rising from the graveyards of the world and stalking the living?  The term was actually created in May 2011 by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as a promo to educate the general population, especially children and teens, about the dangers of real, life-threatening emergencies and how to stay protected in the event of one.  But why zombies?

According to an interview with Maggie Silver, one of the CDC’s zombie campaign’s masterminds, “People were starting to realize they need to work outside the box a little bit and try some new ideas” to get the message of preparedness across.

Unfortunately, people are taking the term literally not figuratively and are not preparing for any sort of  ‘apocalypse’ if one should come.  There are many, many ‘survival’ websites out there that list supplies everyone should have on hand at all times in the event of a disaster or war.  Living in a hurricane region, I know the importance of having the essentials on hand long before the disaster arrives.  If you wait for the disaster to hit, the necessities of life will vanish from the shelves and you won’t be able to get them.  What are some things survivalist sites say you should have on hand in the event of a major disaster/war/apocalypse?

  • Water purification systems
  • Tactical body armor and equipment (people will try to take from you, even kill you, because they didn’t prepare.  This is not fantasy.  It is fact)
  • Tactical medical equipment
  • Emergency food and kits
  • Tactical and weapon carrier backpacks
  • Dark ops knives, scopes and weapons lights
  • Trauma kits

I know the list reads like something out of a fantasy/dystopian novel, and I know a lot of people think this sort of preparedness is folly, but with war and drought looming around the globe, food prices sky-rocketing, and people out of work with no money to fall on, disaster is just around the corner.  And think about it…if the CDC is trying to prepare us, what do they know we don’t?  I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I can connect the dots.

My mom told me the only thing that got her and her family through the Great Depression was preparedness.  While others laughed at them, my mom’s parents saw the signs and began hording food, blankets, water, medical supplies, money, etc.  Because they prepared, they were able to survive the worst of one of the  darkest times in U.S. history.

Lessons are learned if we pay attention to history and if we learn from the experiences of our parents and grand-parents.  While real zombies are unlikely to walk the earth, there are real, tangible threats to all of us, and it never hurts to prepare for them…especially if those few steps can save you or your family’s life.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

(What does this have to do with writing fantasy?  Everything, especially when two worlds are at war.  Remember, the best themes for fiction come from reality.)