Sometimes an event makes the news and it inspires reports on other similar incidents around the country. The incidents might be quite common, and only suddenly newsworthy because that first event piqued the public’s interest for one reason or another.
And then sometimes an event makes the news and is quickly followed by other similar, yet uncommon, newsworthy events. These subsequent events may or may not be related to the original one. They might simply be serendipitous (or anti-serendipitous) coincidences. Either way, the result is the same: we hear about something in the news, and then suddenly we start hearing about an ongoing string of similar events.
Events in the recent news have a theme: face eating, dismemberment, and generalized cannibalism. The question it raises is this: is there some sort of outbreak of zombie-like behavior going on; or is this something that actually happens now and then, and we’re only just now hearing about it?
A man in Florida was shot and killed by police when, in an alleged drug-fueled frenzy, he refused to stop eating a man’s face.
A man in Canada, who the press loves to keep mentioning was a gay porn star, is accused of dismembering a person and mailing body parts around.
A Maryland college student reportedly admitted to killing his roommate and eating his brain and heart.
A Swedish man is accused of cutting off his wife’s lips in a jealous rage and eating them.
A New Jersey man, during a standoff with police, reportedly cut into his own abdomen and threw his intestines at police. The police wisely backed off until they could take the man to the hospital. Somehow, he didn’t die.
Going back a few years, a Texas woman was accused of killing her 3-week old son and eating his brain.
I suspect that if I did some Googling, I could find more stories in this vein (pun retroactively intended), but I think you get the idea.
Is this the beginning of a zombie apocalypse? I posit that no, it is not, and I present two arguments as to why.
1. There is no clear line of transmission of any zombie infection.
If we look to popular conceptions of zombie lore, there are two ways for a person to become a zombie: (a) get bitten by a zombie, or (b) die and wake up as a zombie.
New reports give no indication that the people in the above-described incidents were already dead when the alleged attacks occurred. We then turn to the bite theory, which requires the conclusion that infected zombies are selectively biting people in an area ranging from Texas to Canada to Sweden, with no additional damage. Zombies are usually not that disciplined.
2. Zombies are not real.
They only exist in movies, television, and occasional literature.
This is not a zombie apocalypse. There are just some very sick people and sick situations in this world.