Sunday, January 4

#1 - zombie compound


North America is currently in the throes of a zombie epidemic. You are in an abandoned shopping mall with several close friends or family members. At present, the walls of the building are the only thing separating your intrepid band from the zombie hordes outside.

As invariably happens in these types of situations, a lone zombie somehow makes its way inside and some of your company become infected in the ensuing skirmish.

Once infected, a person begins exhibiting zombie-like characteristics within an hour. A zombie possesses the same physical characteristics (speed, agility, strength) as the human they once were, but with an insatiable and singular desire to bite and infect others. They lack nearly all cognitive ability and cannot be reasoned with.

In your quest for survival, would you be able to muster up the resolve to kill one of your infected loved ones? And if so, what stage of zombification would need to be reached for you to take such an action (infected but not yet showing zombie-like symptoms, full-zombie, etc)? You may assume for the purposes of this exercise that guns and ammunition are available (meaning you would not have to carry out the kill with your bare hands).

18 comments:

Sheila said...

First to answer thoughtlab!! YES!
Answer: Yes, I believe at some point I would be able to do so.

Issues/Concerns: I'm sneaking in part of Joe's answer, but the general concept is that, once the person becomes a zombie, he or she is no longer the person he/she once was. But this is where I sort of split off... Pulling the plug on a loved one in the hospital may be much more difficult, even if they aren't acting 'themselves'. My general notion of zombies is that they 'die', then come back to life as zombies. Do these zombies 'die', or just start showing characteristics as in Land of the Dead, etc? If they were to die first, obviously the choice would be easier because I would consider them 'living dead'.

Either way, a loved-one zombie who threatens to end the 'life' of another loved one is not much different to me than, say, a loved one of all their 'capacities' who threatens to harm another. I'm a believer on being on the wrong side of the gun (with the victim, I mean), but in this case, the teeth would have to be the first 'gun' and the zombie must be the aggressor for me to kill it(as in, the zombie would have to be zombie enough to try and attack, not just walk around aimlessly with the potential to harm).

Is this too long of an answer? If so, sorry!

Laura said...

how dangerous are zombies when they bite you? b/c my brother bit me once, but i was fine. can zombies be cured or put in a harness or something to keep them from biting? i guess my question is, is there a way to help them or teach them not to bite or cure them without taking away their life? or is there life already gone and they are no longer themselves and instead the equivalent of wild animal? (i guess that's similar to sheila's concerns).

mikeygee said...

In theory - yes, and immediately after they are bitten. Once that bite happens, you're already dead in my opinion. The zombie has killed you. It's just an unfortunate side-effect of your death that you are actually still alive.

In reality - not sure. Probably I would wait and hope that everything is OK. Once the loved one starts to get aggressive, then I'd hopefully do it before they had a chance to infect someone. I have a sneaking suspicion though that if I were the one making the call, we'd all be goners. This is why you keep people like Ken around who'd have no problem pulling the trigger... :-p

Matt said...

Let me step in briefly.

These zombies are indeed aggressive (not the "wander around" type) and a zombie bite is fatal (meaning, if someone is bitten, they are on a fast track to the zombie lifestyle).

I find the newer paradigm presented in movies like 28 Days Later or Quarantine interesting, in that the infected person does not necessarily die and re-animate, but suddenly starts behaving like a zombie. Does this individual retain any semblance of a soul?

I'm not sure the answer is available to you in this situation, but assume that once infected, a victim will soon become a zombie bent on harming and killing others.

As a note, feel free to ask follow-up questions if you feel you need more information to answer fully. I'm guessing I'll need to make comments from time to time to clear up confusion, though in the future I'll make an effort to head off questions upfront in the main posts.

Jessica Chen said...

haha. I do find these thoughts rather interesting...and revealing about certain personality characteristics lol.

Hmmm. As for me, firstly, I would like to say that this really is all what I would do ideally but for me, it's definitely not always the case for what happens when the actual situation occurs to me (not that I would find myself in a zombie situation).

Answer: Would I, before any zombie gets in to infect the group, have time to first ask all who are in my group, what they would like me to do if they are infected? Sort of like obtaining an unofficial DNR and also saying some last minute goodbyes, etc. I would like to honor loved ones' last wishes if possible before they became zombies.

And if they do become a zombie, of course I would put them out of their misery. Quick and painless. I think it would be very difficult for me to see someone I love suffering and becoming someone that I did not know. In a sense, I agree with Mikey on this point: a person is more than just flesh and bones. What defines a "person" or "human being" has a spiritual/personality component to it. Becoming a zombie, therefore, makes a person, effectively spiritually dead, killing the person and leaving the body that is still able to move. Like a chicken that is able to run around after its head is cut off.

Therefore, in answer to the question you posed in your comment, Matt, I don't think zombies have a soul. Because a soul is what God gave to humans when He created them which means that a soul gives us characteristics that resemble God. I think one of the characteristics that a soul gives us is free will. A zombie exhibits no more free will and therefore, that is one of the ways I would determine that it has no soul. It has become that of an animal.

And so, in a long-winded way, I would be able to kill the zombies. Quickly.

And if there is a length limit to these responses, then I should be banned. lol

Andrew said...

We all seem to agree with each other... that's not allowed! We need a more controversial question next week. :-)

Bindu said...

Since the 'zombie' has the same strength and power as a human, then it doesn't really make sense to kill my family member because they could be contained rather than be killed. If the zombification caused an increase in strength or somehow endangered the rest of the group in an uncontainable manner, then I would reconsider for the greater good.

Pietro said...

Ok. Here's my thoughts, first I've never seen any real zombie movies with the exception of Shaun of the Dead; and if we are in an abandoned mall, which has tons of stuff in it from various shops. I think I'd try to get creative before I start debating whether I should blow the heads off my used-to-be loved ones. Since these zombies don't have superhuman strength or anything, I think I'd try to sedate and isolate before I'd attempt a beheading or stopping brain function.
Maybe I’d lure them into a sporting goods store like Dicks, and try to knock them unconscious with a baseball bat or rollerblades and then tie them up with some climbing rope. I guess I’d be looting the mall, but if it is abandoned and society is already all zombies, I wouldn’t feel so bad. And then if they ever find a cure for it like in the movie I am Legend, then you’ll be able to cure your loved ones. …I guess I lied. I saw I am Legend as well.

Sheila said...

So what if we all just become zombies together? Like just accept our fate? Ignorance is bliss, right? But then I guess our appetites are insatiable...

Greg said...

Please, if they are zombies you have to shoot them in the face. It is the only way.

I would do it with no remorse. In the words of my associate Mikey, "F*ck, as easy as opening a PBR."

Jessica Chen said...

That's an interesting thought, Sheila. Sooo, if we all became zombies (like the whole human race became zombies). Would be bite each other and just annihilate each other?

Interesting ;)

Andrew Stahlke said...

I don't think I would be able to kill my immediate family members. Friends, yeah, probably. But when I imagine my mom or brother's face, I can't do it. Let someone else do it.

Also, I think if it got to the point where all my loved ones were zombies I might not care so much what happens to me. Let the zombies formerly my brothers bite me so that I can join them. If we still have souls, all the better.

Actually, no, I changed my mind. I would still want to live.

Wayne said...

i would bite them first. then I'd win.

actually, considering my family members, i think they would likely isolate themselves from the group earlier in the zombification process, and potentially even kill themselves to prevent the above scenario in an act of self sacrifice. Deciding when in the process of zombification that they are no longer "family" would be exceptionally difficult for me. I'm not sure I would be able to pull the trigger if the zombied family member were to come after me, but if they were to go after another non-zombied family member, then I'd more readily pull the trigger.

Dylana said...

...no comment...

:( i liked reading about jumping on uncrushed dixie cups more...

lol

Christine Yun said...

I, like Laura, have not seen many zombie movies. I think I Am Legend is the only zombie movie I've seen and I'm not sure that really counts. However, all in all, I think realistically, I would not be able to kill a loved one. What worries me is having to see my loved one attacking others. I think in the end, I would like to be put out of my misery so I wouldn't have to witness that, but my biggest concern is that if I'm bit, then I would harm others. So, maybe I would kill to prevent that?

PS- this is a great idea, Matt!

reyn said...

Pop goes the weasel. No question. Soon as it became obvious that someone's going to become a rambling flesh-craving has-been, I ice 'em.

Matt said...

Thanks for a good first week, folks.

This question was formulated after seeing Quarantine a couple of months ago with Mike. The movie may have been a bit different than a standard zombie flick, since the outbreak was presented more as a sickness than an undead phenomenon, but I was nonetheless surprised to see such a high degree of concern for the infected. At one point a mother was desperately trying to protect her daughter who had clearly "gone over" to the side of the zombies and had even viciously bitten her neck just moments before. this caused me to ponder how I might act in such a situation.

For me, I don't think I could kill someone who was infected but not yet a zombie, even if they asked. I think I'd say my goodbyes and then put some distance between us. Once the aggression and chasing started, a sense of self-preservation and fear at seeing them in a zombie state would probably enable me to do the deed.

And I don't view containment as an effective policy. Something always goes wrong.

Derek Timothy said...

"And I don't view containment as an effective policy. Something always goes wrong."

Indeed. But the same is true for the "wait until they are a fully threatening zombie" approach. It never works. The living and non-infected people don't have the guts to shoot the infected until the biting starts, and the death toll just gets bigger.

So, getting into your scenario. I'm in the mall with friends and family, and I'm fully armed. A loved one is bitten, and now has less than an hour before they start infecting others.

1. Assuming the invading zombie has been killed and we are (at least for the moment) safe, we can take our time. The infected can say their goodbyes, et cetera. Then, they can put a bullet in their own brain. If they ask me to do it, I do. If they refuse to off themselves AND refuse to let one of the un-infected kill them, then I lie and agree with them, wait until their back is turned, and blow them away.

2. Assuming we are not safe, such as in the event that the invading zombie is still around to attack, or we're actually running away from an attacker or an attacking horde, I may elect to put a bullet in the newly bitten's brain immediately. In most zombie movies I've seen, being too busy to take care of things usually results in the infected zombifying and taking down at least one other person. Hell no to that, I say.