Oh boy. I’ve only written out the title, and already I get the feeling this is going to be a looong piece.
So, at the time this is being written, you may have heard of the mass killing in Orlando (if you’re reading this later, just sub in the most recent one). And everyone that knows about this has an opinion. I would hope that the majority can agree that what happened to the innocent people at that bar was a horrible bit of history.
So here’s my take. This is my opinion, which could be wrong. And I honestly hope I am wrong about this: mass killings like this are only beginning. This is, in part, humanity’s Apocalypse.
hy do I call it that? First, let’s look at the (informal) definition of zombie: ” a person who is or appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unresponsive to their surroundings.” For the purposes of this article, I’ll adapt this into a definition of my own: “a person who is apathetic to and has malicious intent toward others, and is functionally incapable of being reasoned with”. The thing about zombies is that people tend to dehumanize them, but in literally any pop culture reference out there, or even real life ones in Haiti or the Caribbean, the zombies are all physically still human, and had human characteristics before they were zombies. Whether it’s the undead and shambling like in The Walking Dead, the angry and fast like the ones in Left For Dead, the mutated juggernauts in Resident Evil; that’s what people generally picture.
The problem is that the above examples are fantasy; we live in reality. And the reality is that those that mean us harm are a lot more human than what you would see in the movies and in video games. They are in fact completely human, act human, respond like humans, etc. And in many cases, you don’t know they are zombies until they are killing people. I don’t speak for you, but in my opinion, that’s the most terrifying kind of zombie of all, because they’re the ones that you not only don’t see coming like in Resident Evil, but could be right there in your camp, or your house. They could be your coworkers, the crowd at your local bar or autoshop, the people driving the bus you ride in, your fellow tenants. The zombies aren’t just people that used to be human, they ARE human.
Now let’s look at the definition of apocalypse, specifically this one: ” an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale.” You could use the one that describes the complete destruction of the world like in the Revelations section of the Christian bible, but reality is a lot more fluid than that and with anything human related, there is no concrete certainty. To be fair, all homicides are at a historic low right now (again, at the time of this writing). But while homicides of all kinds are down, the rise of mass shootings and mass killings are skyrocketing, with no sign of slowing down. And people, unsurprisingly, aren’t taking this lying down. They are trying to advocate laws against the weapons used with and stockpiling their own, while ignoring the root cause of the problem which has, in my opinion, the unfortunate side effect of only making the problem worse.
So where are these “zombies” coming from? People have different opinions that I don’t necessarily agree with, but mainly I believe they are those that don’t have any guidance in their lives. Little, if any, decent upbringing. A huge lack of social skills, a mindset that you’re alone, or that you’re unlike everyone else. A social disconnect with humanity as a whole. And, what I believe is the major reason related to all of the above: loss of purpose, agency, and identity (interpret that last one as you will). And if you look at any of those, these issues have gotten exponentially worse among humans in recent years; I feel safe in saying my opinion is that these are the causes.
You take all of this together; the sharp rise of”zombies” that, for whatever reason want to end a bunch of lives with no regard to their own, along with the sheer incompetent response we have in addressing this, we are heading toward a full blown human dystopia. And I don’t say this jokingly; I say this in the hope I am wrong, and things improve. If I’m right, all of the politics, the social attitudes, and laws we seek to implement are going to drive this problem to a near epidemic level. Not to the level as, say, a civil war, or a medical pandemic. But this, meaning mass shootings, or knifings, or the risk of being blown up in a theater, all of these will end up being a part of everyday life. A risk you’d have to deal with going to work, getting groceries, sending your kids to school.
And that’s the scary part. The apocalypse won’t be a black and white, good vs evil movie we want, where the good guys (you) have guns, morals and the law in your favor, while the enemy is easily identified lethargic target practice. The bad guys and enemies are also humans, can also wield guns, knives and bombs, look and mostly act like you, and are also protected under the same laws you are. You can’t just gather all of your buddies in jeeps and hunt down all the baddies, because they’re likely just working their jobs, playing with their kids, and fucking their spouses at the time. You can’t screen them out of your compound because they speak your language and bleed just like you. And when they finally do snap and decide to kill a bunch of people, unless you know them personally you won’t have any warning until you are staring their blades and barrels in the eye.
There’s no crusade that can just shoot these people until they don’t exist anymore. For that matter, there’s no quick solution at all for this. In my opinion (I’m saying that a lot today), the people that perpetrate this are already here. And even scarier, they’re breeding more people to keep this going, not for that purpose, but because they didn’t have the guidance growing up themselves and therefore may not be able to raise a child properly. Hell, I could be speaking to you, the next mass murderer, right now. And that’s the problem.
This is not going to go away anytime soon. You could ban any weapons you think will be used; they will be modified to kill multiple people anyway. You could try to stop people you think are mentally ill, only to be shot by Ned Flanders. Issue every citizen a bulletproof knife resistant flak jacket and make them wear it; watch a bunch of people in an office die of food poisoning. This won’t be stopped with one single action. You want this to stop? Address the cause of people wanting to kill a bunch of people in the first place. Take away the reason and motivation for people to accept suicide as an acceptable cost to make their point through mass murder. And while I will say I don’t have the expertise to tell you what to do, I will say that the usual methods society uses, like convincing them to invest their money here, or have children so they have a stake in their future, don’t work, because many of these zombies had these and DIDN’T GIVE A FUCK ANYWAY.
To the layman reading this: this will be a reality. It sucks, I know. It makes social settings scary, and since social settings make life worth living, it fucks up your standard of living. And its not going away in your lifetime(please, Time, prove me wrong. I don’t want to be right for once here). But you, like the human zombies who want to kill you, will have to adapt, and learn to vet the people you choose to hang out with, and sniff out the people that are trouble. That is a lot of work that could be the equivalent of a bachelors class in a real college, that you will either have to teach yourself through trial and error, or a course I may make here!
But there’s no sanctuary anymore, not here in the U.S. at least. We’re all in danger. The best thing we can all do is educate ourselves against this. To help each other, learn to socialize with everyone we come in contact with. To offer help when we can. To actually raise the kids you bring into the world with these values of social benevolence. To treat those you meet, especially those that may be ostracized and misanthropic, with kindness and understanding. People killing a lot of people, after all, are caused by the people’s desire to kill them. You can try to limit their ability to do so and watch them adapt to your tactics, since their also human. Or you can address them as human and help them deal with the issues that make them want to kill everyone they possibly can before they kill themselves.
That choice is up to you. Which will you choose? Because the apocalypse is already here. This is already happening. People are already dying in droves, in events called mass shootings. And humans are the ones doing it! What will you do about it? What actions will you take? I’ll leave this open as a question, because I don’t have the answer, and I don’t have a snarky remark to an answer you may have. Let me know what can be done, because from the little I’ve seen of The Walking Dead, it fucking sucks. There’s no bacon. That’s not a future I’m not willing to live in, for Christ’s sake!