Saturday, September 22, 2012

Don't Be a Zombie Hunter

It's fun to think about Zombies--a vast shuffling horde of undead humanity mindlessly seeking to eat people and their brains.  It's scary to think that major portions of the population could be transformed into mindless killing machines by a virus or some other biological mechanism.  A sea of Zombies could overwhelm anything in its path.

Fortunately, it's a horrific fantasy!  Zombies aren't a good justification for stockpiling vast quantities of arms and ammunition.  If you are into shooting and gun collecting, that's great!  Recreational shooting is a blast.  Firearms for self-defense are a necessity in many places.  But, don't cite Zombies as your reason for stockpiling munitions.


A Group of Zombies (Photo By Joel Friesen [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Shooter Stereotypes:  The Zombie Hunter -- Another Shooter You Don't Want to Be 

There are lots of stereotypical shooters in this world from mall ninjas to cop wanna-bes. But, if you are going to enjoy recreational shooting, don't be a zombie hunter.

Recreational target shooting is a blast. It's an enjoyable pastime that combines sport, skill, technology, and history. You'll find lots of enjoyment at the shooting range, but you'll also encounter some stereotypical shooters in this subculture from mall ninjas to cop wanna-bes. But, one shooting stereotype you don't want to emulate is the zombie hunter. Zombie hunters are shooters that buy firearms and stockpile ammunition in order to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse. Seriously.

It's one thing to shoot at a zombie target or joke about zombies. But, if you are going to prepare to fight zombies, you should know that Zombies are fictional monsters. In literature and popular culture, they are dead people who animated to rise from dead and shuffle across the earth eating the flesh and often the brains of the living. They originated in Caribbean folklore and were originally the product of mysterious voodoo ceremonies and spells. In fantasy literature, they are often animated and controlled through evil religious rites or magic spells. But, in western popular culture they are often created as the result of a disease or epidemic.

Zombies are also often used as a metaphor. For the government disaster preparedness agencies, zombies are a popular stand-in for less imaginative disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist acts, or epidemics. The government believes that if you are ready for Zombies, you'll be more ready for more mundane, but serious, real-life calamities. The Centers for Disease Control and Federal Emergency Management Agency have both promoted preparedness for the zombie apocalypse in a tongue-in-cheek way to increase disaster awareness.


It's fun to shoot at paper targets that feature zombies. Some ammunition companies are even in on the joke. For example, Hornady Manufacturing makes Zombie Max ammunition for fighting against zombies. The Hornady website adds a strong disclaimer to ensure that people understand it is all in fun for recreational shooters:

Hornady® Zombie Max™ ammunition is NOT a toy (IT IS LIVE AMMUNITION), but is intended only to be used on…ZOMBIES, also known as the living dead, undead, etc. No human being, plant, animal, vegetable or mineral should ever be shot with Hornady® Zombie Max™ ammunition. Again, we repeat, Hornady® Zombie Max™ ammunition is for use on ZOMBIES ONLY, and that's not a nickname, phrase or cute way of referring to anybody, place or thing. When we say Zombies, we mean…ZOMBIES!
 
People sometimes semi-jokingly cite the Zombie threat when buying stockpiles of guns and ammunition. However, in the prepper (often called survivalist) world, Zombies can also be a euphemism for the vast hordes of unprepared people who during may try to overrun prepared homes during a disaster in order to steal their supplies. Instead of talking about fighting off hundreds or thousands of their desperate, hungry, countrymen, it's just easier to talk about killing Zombies. It's a convenient code phrase. It's also easier to think about killing Zombies because they are already dead.

When people buy real guns and real ammunition to fight Zombies, that's where the Zombie metaphor becomes dangerous. You have to wonder if Zombie Hunters are delusional. Zombies aren't real, but people are. Preparing to kill dozens of your countrymen in the aftermath of a disaster because they were caught unprepared and have become desperate isn't consistent patriotic. Instead of preparing quietly to defend against the hordes, your time might be better spent helping your community to be better prepared for mass casualties, displaced people, and real human tragedies during a disaster.

While guns are a fundamental tool in maintaining freedom and defending your family from criminals, they are just a tool. A more pro-active approach would include reaching out to your local Salvation Army, volunteer fire department, Red Cross Chapter, Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) or food pantry to ensure that your community is prepared for an influx of refugees in the wake of a disaster. Constructively helping to reconstitute civilization and civil authority in the wake of a major disaster is a civic duty. Civilization is what separates us from animals.

Zombies are great entertainment and an interesting mental challenge for disaster preppers. But, zombies shouldn't justify excessive spending on arms and ammunition. That should be justified by an abiding passion for the hobby and sport of shooting. Don't seriously try to become a Zombie Hunter.

Sources:
"Government Zombie Promos Are Spreading," ABC News Health Medical Unit Blog, September 7, 2012
Zombie Max - Hornady Manufacturing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shaun of the Dead - Cricket Bats versus Zombies

I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie:  "Shaun of the Dead."  It's an understated British comedy about a zombie apocalypse.  I like the way that many in the cast don't notice the Zombie outbreaks because every commuter looks and acts like a zombie in the morning.  At any rate, Shaun and his friends find their neighborhood overrun with zombies, gather their family and friends, and make their way to their local pub to make a final stand.  It's a light-hearted take on Zombies.  However, there are plenty to zombies to whack.  But, since the U.K. has strict gun control laws, Shaun and his mates turn to cricket bats as their primary weapon.

Cricket Bat:  By Lionel Allorge (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Uncle Sam Wants You To Be Prepared for Zombies!

The U.S. Federal Government wants you to be prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse!  Actually, they want you to think about a Zombie Apocalypse and prepare your family for more likely disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.  It's just that Zombies are a lot more fun to think about!



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Zombie Battle Royale on The Walking Dead

The Season 3 ending battle in AMC's The Walking Dead was exciting and chaotic! It also gave the show's survivors a push that will put them in new situations. As fun as it was, I could help but think that the survivors could have handled many situations better this season. Here are some of the lessons that I drew:


Survival Lessons from Season 3 of AMC Television's The Walking Dead


Image By Frédéric DUPONT from Yerres, France (Run ! zombies are on their way...) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Zombie Fight at the Farm - The Walking Dead

Sunday Night - March 18th - there is gonna be a showdown at the farm between the survivors and the zombies. It doesn't look like it's gonna be pretty either!

Why?

Because none of them ever took the time to rent the classic war movie - Zulu. The survivors are all strung out across the country side and their idea of a fortification is a somebody sitting in a lawn chair on top of an RV. It should be an interesting finale to this season of The Walking Dead.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Zombies are fun, but guns are serious!

Zombies present an interesting, but fictional, survival challenge. They present a mental challenge an exercise of your disaster preparations. The preparations you make for "zombies," may help you when a tornado, hurricane, or other disaster strikes your neighborhood. However, some preparations are deadly serious. Such is the case when it comes to firearms. Sometimes, you can never undo a mistake you make with a firearm. So, if you are considering gun ownership, you should think about your decision.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Zombies!!! 2nd Edition Board Game

While it's fun to plan bug-out bags and compare chainsaws, there are a lot of just plain fun activities going on with the Zombie craze! For example, you can always enjoy the Zombies board game with your friends!

By Matěj Baťha (vlastní dílo / own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Military Surplus Rifles for Fighting Zombies? Rifles with Style.

If you've gotta deal with zombies, get a rifle that accurate and stylish like this military surplus Swedish Mauser.

There are lots of classic military service rifles available as Military Surplus.  Sometimes military surplus rifles can use obscure ammunition, but in other cases you can buy surplus ammunition by the case load as well!

Here are some advantages that a military surplus rifle offers when fighting zombies:

1. Mounts a useful Zombie killing bayonet.
2. Heavy wooden stock and butt can be used as a club.
3. Fires powerful high velocity skull penetrating ammunition.
4. Highly accurate at long, stand off, ranges.
5. Very Rugged.


For some classic surplus rifle ideas, check out this article:

My Favorite Military Surplus Rifles

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lighting Up the Zombies

Since we solved the problems of seeing zombies at a distance, we should probably solve the problem of seeing zombies at night. Some how zombies that come scratching at your door in the middle of the night seem a little more terrifying than zombies that arrive for high tea or supper.


There are two approaches for seeing zombies at night. One is night vision equipment and the other is a good old fashioned flashlight. I've tried a fairly rudimentary Russian night vision monocular, but frankly, I don't think it would be comfortable to use for an extended period of time.


One alternative would be a traditional flashlight like the venerable Maglite. Some police departments reported switched away from Maglites because they allegedly caused brain injuries when applied upside the head of various perpetrators. If this is true, that alone would make the full-sized Maglite a perfect choice for fighting zombies.


Finally, both night vision monoculars and Maglites would burn through batteries over time. This could cause difficulties when batteries are in short supply during a zombie apocalypse. I would suggest rigging an alarm around the perimeter of your compound. Small bells spaced at intervals on a taut string should do nicely. Alternatively, soda cans filled with a few pebbles could rattle nicely on the same line. When you hear rattles, you could illuminate the zombies briefly and dispatch them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Importance of Binoculars in Zombie Prepping

Is that . . . is that . . . is that a Zombie?


If the world is ever filled with shuffling hordes of zombies, you'll need to be able to distinguish them normal humans from a distance. That will take quality optics. If you are preparing for a zombie apocalypse, you'll need some binoculars.


The binoculars that I use are Steiner Safari 8x22 compact binoculars. They offer excellent optics at an affordable price.  They also come with a belt pouch and can fit in a coat pocket easily.  You can buy a similar pair of binoculars here:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Great Collection of Zombie Stories!

I'm reading a great collection of Zombie short stories now.  The book is called "The Undead:  Zombie Anthology" and it is an excellent set of zombie stories.  The stories have unique perspectives and many feature interesting plot twists.  If you love a good zombie story, you should definitely buy this book!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Low Cost Prepping

You don't have to spend a lot of money to get prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.  They don't care what kind of camouflage you wear, how your backpack distributes the load on your shoulders,  or what kind of fine optics you mount on your rifle.  Zombies are simply content to relentlessly march towards you, rip you apart, and eat  your brains.  However, you do need a kit of emergency supplies.

Washington, DC, July 7, 2006 -- A Red Cross "ready to go" preparedness kit showing the bag and it's contents. Red Cross photograph

To prepare, you simply need to set aside a sensible set of supplies.  You'll need food and water.  Oh, and a big ol' bat!  But, seriously, you can build up a supply kit by investing as little as $10 per week on the things you'll need for any emergency. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is Your Apartment Zombie Proof?

 Take the Quiz!

With the success of AMC's series, The Walking Dead, zombies continue to terrify America. They are an interesting, if unlikely, survival challenge. What if legions of putrid, rotting, zombies were shuffling towards your apartment or condominium complex? Would your complex offer any protection? Could your neighborhood defend itself? Could zombies get in and wreak havoc? Take this quiz to assess your communities readiness for a zombie horde.

Walls and Fences.
If your home is your castle, your castle is only as good as the walls surrounding it. Is your complex surrounded by brick or stone walls? How about iron fencing? How about chain link fence? Give yourself 5 points for stone, 4 points for iron, 3 points for chainlink or aluminum fencing, 2 points for wooden fences, and 0 points for lawn or parking lot.

Gates. A fence isn't much good unless its coupled with a serious gate. When that moaning mass of undead humanity reaches your complex, will the be greeted by a stout, locked, iron gate or something they can push aside? Give yourself 5 points for a stout iron gate, 4 points for an imposing aluminum gate, 3 points any gate that has gaps but can be made secure with a chain and padlock, 2 points for any gate with insecure gaps, and 0 points for any complex without a gate or a simple swing arm that blocks cars. Zombies don't drive much!



Building Height. Once the shuffle onto the grounds, your next line of defense is your apartment building itself. If you live in a ground level apartment, the zombies can come scratch at your front door. If you live on a higher floor, you can see them coming and fight them at the stairs. Since zombies can't figure out elevators give yourself a point for every floor level in your building up to five.

Access Controls. Do you need a key or passcard to get in your building? If yes, give yourself a point. Do you have stout steel or wooden doors? If yes, that's another point. Do you need a key or passcard to get onto your floor? If yes, that's another point. If you live in an open garden-style building, that's a big fat zero.

Self Sufficiency.
The Zombie Apocalypse won't happen in one day. It's a long, protracted, struggle to survive the near collapse of civilization. If you have a garden on your balcony give yourself five points. If your complex has a community garden, give yourself three points. Since water storage will be important, give yourself a point for every pool, lake, or creek in your complex. If your building has a guttered roof that can be re-routed to cisterns, give yourself two extra points. It's not enough just to have a pile of weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse. You need other supplies for the long haul.

 
Skilled Residents.
A community that organizes, builds a sense of community together, and has residents with useful skills has a good chance of fighting off the hordes. You can earn up to ten points buy having the right kind of neighbors. Give yourself a point for every building maintenance person, police officer, paramedic, medical professional, military person, or hunter that you know of in the complex. Of course, your group will have to employ the right tactics to survive Zombie attacks.

Assessment: If you scored 24 points or more, you have found a good place to ride out the zombie apocalypse. If you scored 18 points or more, you may have to work to secure your complex, but you'll make it. If you scored 10 points or more, you may have a tough go of it. If you scored less than 10 points, you are zombie bait and would probably be better off living in a van down by the river. Of course, a zombie apocalypse is pretty unlikely, but if your complex is zombie proof, it is probably a pretty safe place to live.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Get Packed! The Zombies are coming!

Happy New Year!  Have you made your resolutions in regard to a potential Zombie Apocalypse?  Do you have a bag packed?  Do you have the supplies needed to hunker down?  If you had a kit, it would probably come in handy in case there was a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or other major disaster.  When the zombies come scratchin' at your door, it's a little late to run out to Publix.


 By Ana Maria Dacol Dacol (originally posted to Flickr as DSC_0223 b) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons