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The Zombies Are Here

Written by McBride, JT

Recently we’ve been hearing more and more about a pending global epidemic of zombies—animated corpses—about to run amuck in our hometowns. Periodic news stories allege that unfriendly forces might be conducting scientific experimentation into virus and bacteria weaponization and they tend to fuel the flames of interest in this topic.

So do many of the popular zombie series and cartoons on network and cable television, as well the many video games, books and movies about massive swarms of “undead” preying upon the flesh of hapless survivors. It is no longer a matter of whether or not the zombies will appear; it’s simply become a matter of when!

Federal officials jumped on the “undead” bandwagon last Halloween when it used the popularity of fictional movie and television zombies to justify a mock military-law enforcement disaster training exercise in California based upon a zombie attack. The military issued at least one publication about the same time to guide personnel operating in “zombie infested environments.” The Center for Disease Control used the zombie threat to promote the need for community-based disaster preparation. Could it be that the zombies are already here?

The answer to that question depends upon how you define the term “zombie.” If it actually requires a viral infection to manifest itself, real zombie swarms may be a few more years in the making. If, however, we expand the definition to include extremely dangerous and irrational criminal behavior, then we all could be playing bit parts in the latest zombie flick.

Think about the offenders who slaughter their victims in bizarre ways. Absent a virus, might not these anti-social monsters be considered “undead” in terms of lacking any empathy or compassion for fellow human beings? If so, the zombie “invasion force” is already in our midst. The dreaded apocalypse has already begun and no setting is safe from zombie-like slaughter.

These zombie-like creatures (Zomboids) pose a substantial threat to public health and safety in Hometown, America. Zomboids can be divided into two primary groups: the hard-core criminals who dwell totally on the “dark side” and will stop at nothing to get whatever they want; and the increasing number of irrational perpetrators whose bizarre behavior is influenced by serious mental health, drug addiction, and alcohol-related issues.

It is likely that zombie-like behavior will increase because there is no “magic bullet” available to stop it. Like fictional zombies, Zomboids will most likely never be rehabilitated. Like the TV zombies, they won’t stop preying upon victims until they are permanently locked up or eliminated.

The “out-patient” approach to mental health treatment (as opposed to the mental health hospitalizations popular a few decades ago) doesn’t work as well as we’d like it to work. More people seem to be “in crisis” and ready to act out violently than ever before. Extensive media coverage of Zomboid slaughter and mayhem might spark others to “go postal.” Our Zomboid-control measures simply aren’t working.

Zomboids pose a significant risk to police personnel as well as to the general public. After committing their horrible acts of slaughter, they will often engage the police in the hopes of killing some of them before being killed themselves. Given the multiple factors involved, the incidence of violent confrontations between the police and the Zomboids is likely to rise. Police will find themselves in more difficult situations because their options are often narrowed by the bizarre behavior of the Zomboids.

We don’t need any more injured or dead law enforcement officers. We do need better trained officers and we can start that important process by admitting that the zombie-like creatures are here in our midst. The second step involves giving our federal, state and local police whatever tools necessary to deal with them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Chief James T. McBride (ret.) is a special deputy with the Lake County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office and an instructor at Lakeland Community College near Cleveland. He is a certified crisis intervention officer as well as a trained terrorist liaison officer. He may be reached at jmcbride@lakelandcc.edu.

Published in Tactical Response, May/Jun 2014

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