The other day my children and I had a very interesting conversation. We were talking about preparedness and what they and their friends thought about it. Interestingly enough all of my children knew someone who referred to themselves as a prepper. This is where the conversation turned interesting. My daughter, who will be turning 16 this year, said that some were preppers and some were doomsday preppers. I asked her the difference. "A prepper", she said "is someone who tries to be ready for bad times. Like storms and sickness." A doomsday prepper, at least to my daughter is someone who is preparing for and even hoping for the end of the world.
At this point I asked them what they thought about the end of the world as we know it. Again my daughter surprised me. She said that she had already lived through some apocalypses. She mentioned the Myan calendar ending and June 6, 2006. I knew about the Myan calendar but had not heard about the June 6, 2006. I had to look it up.
What major events did they think are most likely?
I am actually very proud of my children and their responses. What do they believe most likely? An economic shift or collapse. Both mentioned the national debt and the way our government is acting. One mentioned personal spending and credit card debt. Why do they think this most likely? Due to honest conversations on the state of our nation. What did they think was the second most likely cause of a global collapse? A pandemic. This one was their own conclusion or due to input by their mom. Third was nuclear war.
Of course when doomsday comes up someone is going to mention zombies.
What are Zombies?
Zombies have been sort of a fad and fashion lately. For some reason the idea of roving hordes of undead are cool to think about. So our conversation turned to what could actually cause the Hollywood style zombies?
There are no known parasites that cause what most would consider a zombie, but there is at least one that does infect humans and changes the behavior of it's host. No it does not cause the hosts to become violent, but it does cause a decrease sense of fear, lethargy, and a few others. This parasite is primarily found in cats but can be transferred to humans through contact with litter boxes and a few other ways. The parasite infects mice and rats and causes the same symptoms as in humans, just with different results. If a mouse or rat does not experience fear and moves slower it is much more likely to be killed and eaten by a cat.
Who knows? If there is already a parasite that infects humans and changes their behavior there could be more. For more information on this parasite visit the National Geographic article.
No one can deny that sickness alters our behavior. Something as simple as the cold or flu can drain our energy, make us slow to react, and even put us in a bad mood. There are diseases however that actually take over our body and our mind.
Governments the world over have been messing around with diseases. Many strains of diseases have been "weaponized". You may remember several years back that someone was mailing anthrax to people, pretty messed up. Again according to National Geographic this is possible, unlikely but possible.
What would have to happen for a disease to create a zombie like apocalypse? Let us start with rabies. Rabies is a horrible disease. If you have ever seen it in action you would know it. Rabies attacks the nervous system and can cause hallucinations and aggressive behavior in every animal that has it, including humans. Rabies can be in the human body for any where from ten days up to a year before the first symptoms show. After the symptoms arrive death occurs within a week if not treated. Rabies is a Really bad death.
There is only one problem with rabies being the cause of a zombie apocalypse. It is actually difficult to contract. A person would have to be bitten, scratched, get bodily fluids of an infected animal or person on broken skin, or eat an under cooked, infected animal (yup, that has actually happened).
Now, imagine if you will a world where rabies has been crossed with the flu. (Sorry, I can hear the voice of the guy from Twilight Zone saying that). The flu virus can be contracted easily because it is airborne. The flu virus can live on surfaces or be spread by coughing and sneezing. Both diseases are a virus and with genetic modification technology this could be done. Is anyone doing it? I have no idea. Remember this started as a conversation with my teenage children.
So what are Real Life Zombies?
I would like to float two possible ideas. One is the person who is so wrapped up in their digital device that they are oblivious to everything that is going on in the world that is not on that screen. States have passed laws against texting and driving because people apply all of their attention to their phone. I have been guilty of this myself and I am sure many of you have been as well. I would call this zombie lite. Normally most of these people are still productive members of society and are trying to keep us with work and friends.
The second type of zombie is the one I worry about most. If you were to have to describe a zombie with out having to use the term undead, how would you do it? A zombie is a being that feeds off the productivity of others. They can do very little on their own. They wonder around and are opportunistic, taking advantage of any resource that can be found. In the movies zombies never eat each other, why is this the case? I think it is simply because other zombies are a limited resource. If things got bad enough they would eventually eat each other. A non producer doesn't have anything to devour. Why are they always so hungry? They really aren't. They see an opportunity and feast as much as possible as quickly as possible because they don't know when the next victim will arrive.
I honestly believe that we live with zombies everyday. There are people out there that spend all of their time trying to figure out how to get what you have. Zombies can come in the shape of a serial lawsuit person, someone who expects everyone else to take care of them, or dare I say it a politician that thinks the world owes them a living.
I would love to know what you think about real life zombies let me know either on the forum or in the comments.
Even in the face of zombies we are
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