Zombies. Let’s be clear on the what we’re talking about here. I’m not talking about Voodoo black magic zombies of the mindless automaton slave type. No, we’re talking about the George A. Romero documentary variety of undead zombies… the real kind. Some people fear them. Some people loathe them. Many people even harbor indifference, primarily because they choose to believe the walking dead don’t actually exist. To the latter, I stress that the following content is not designed to reinforce misguided denial. To the rest, I submit that to understand your enemy is to gain power over him or it. We are fascinated with them—zombies—because they scare us and they are an enemy that elicits no guilt in the hatred thereof.
Why are we afraid of zombies? They are slow and lumbering and they have no ability to reason, yet they are the embodiment of relentless pursuit and cold malice. The living dead have no emotion. You cannot reason with a zombie because he doesn’t have the ability to reason, he has no motivation. He acts only according to a singular simple instinct: feed. They are tireless, remorseless, persistent and driven by that singular purpose. They exist only to eat living flesh. Why? Does there have to be a why? Isn’t it enough that the Romero zombie only wants to eat you. Actually, he doesn’t even want to eat you, he simply eats you. You can cannot negotiate with a zombie. You cannot wait him out. You can only kill him or evade him.
The walking dead zombie is the victim of an infection, a virus. We don’t know definitively where the “zombie virus” originates. That’s not important. What does matter is that zombies are the result of a virus, not voodoo magic. The viral host eventually dies as the virus kills the brain cells and “reanimates” them as a repurposed organ. The host, now a “brain dead” virus carrier, retains its basic motor skills and sensory abilities. As long as the necessary organs are intact, the zombie retains the ability to see, hear, feel and smell. (Whether or not zombies experience a sense taste is debatable and irrelevant.) Zombies can see you, they can smell you, and most importantly they can hear you. They respond to sound. He’s instinctively drawn to noise. It’s apparently a result of the programming created when the virus reanimates the brain. The zombie is drawn to noise as it is a basic sign of “food.” It will move toward sound, following a source indefinitely until different, nearer stimuli gains its attention.
The zombie is driven by its only directive: feed. Why? The host virus gets no nutrition from living flesh. This is evidenced by the fact that a zombie doesn’t require a digestive tract in order to function. In fact, a zombie can function as long as the brain is intact. Decay and damage may hinder a zombie’s mobility to the point it can’t move or “feed,” rendering it useless as a device for expansion—unless a hapless victim gets too close. That’s why the virus’s programming is focused 100% on expansion. Feed, bite, spread the virus. As long as the zombie’s brain is still intact, it is attempting to feed. Period. Cut off its legs, it will crawl toward you. Tie it to a tree, it will reach for, mindless attempting to pursue—not attempting to escape—and bite the nearest perceived living thing.
Knowing these things, we find ourselves properly equipped with the best defense against the hordes of the undead: knowledge. In the inevitable case of a zombie outbreak, keep a level head. Stay alert. Stay calm. Be quiet. Be ever vigilant in your desire to live. Knowing his natural attraction to sound, you should be able to use this to your advantage. If you’re cautious, you should be able to elude the walking dead indefinitely. However, you will eventually want to reclaim your humanity. Keep in mind that while a zombie cannot be defeated, he can be destroyed. Aim true and shoot them in the head. And God bless.