Posted in Freedom Friday

The Butt Call

Something happened the other night. I thought for Freedom Friday I’d share it with you all. Soon after dinner, while sitting at the kitchen table reading something or other on my phone, I received a FaceTime request. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s like Skype, but for iPhone. Someone can open a video conferencing conversation with you and you can chat until you turn blue. It’s quite fun, but annoying if you have matted hair and haven’t washed before answering the phone.

Pocket dialing
Pocket dialing

Anyway, I didn’t know the person who called, but I thought, “Hey, it could be one of my friends.” So I answered it. Well, I didn’t think a situation like this could happen to me, but it did. The person on the other side of the camera unwittingly had called my number by mistake. I’m thinking it was a slip of a digit or some other far out reason they couldn’t get the number right on the keypad.

Next thing I know, I’m watching a feed of a man walking through a hospital, taking an elevator, and roaming around the halls. The sound was unclear, there were all sorts of video dropouts, but for three minutes, he had no idea he was broadcasting.

Now, before you go off thinking, “Hey, Jack, why didn’t you hang up?” Two reasons: First, I didn’t have a clue who or where this was taking place. Second, the video was harmless in the sense that it didn’t give away any private moment, personal details or anything funky like that.

It was just a guy roaming the halls of a hospital looking for, what I’m assuming, someone to visit.

Butt call
Butt call

Which brings me to my question: Had there been an intimate conversation or a privacy concern would any one of you have hung up? I’m asking this in light of the recent ruling by a Cincinnati federal appeals court that states accidental pocket dials or butt calls are not private. Judge Danny Boggs compared the situation to someone leaving the drapes open and expecting passersby to ignore what was going on inside.

You can think about that for a minute. In the meantime, I have something else on my mind.

I was viewing a video on YouTube the other day, and I watched how someone could easily plant snooping software on someone else’s phone without anyone’s knowledge. I’m not going to reference the video, but it left me wondering how difficult would it be to do the same thing on someone’s laptop, given the history of operating systems and the vulnerabilities they present?

With that in mind, and the butt call incident, I went around the whole house lacing masking tape over the cameras and microphones to all our devices. I don’t need anyone seeing me with matted hair and PJ’s while I eat my bowl of cereal in the morning. Besides, I now feel much safer knowing my roaming around the house will not make it on someone’s YouTube channel.

How about it? Do you think I’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion? 


Does knowing your camera can become an accidental window for the world to view your life bother you? Like me, have you taken the drastic measure of covering all the cameras in your home?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Zombies and My Beliefs

My wife recently received an appointment as Children’s Ministry Coordinator for our church. Her enthusiasm for the scriptures has given her an opportunity to serve in a way she didn’t expect. She’s currently aiding with the program’s Sunday curriculum and presentations. I have to say, I’m extremely proud of all that she’s accomplished in the short time she has served in the kid’s ministry.

Writing about zombies
Writing about zombies

With that on my mind, I’ll make today’s Freedom Friday post a short one. I’d like to talk about my beliefs and how I reconcile the fact that I write about zombies.

Before I go on, let me get something out of the way first. I’m writing this post with the intention of not offending anyone. I’m sure I will, but I don’t mean to. I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, I shouldn’t say whatever’s on my mind. But because you’re my fans, I’d like to provide an added dimension to who I am–not only as a writer, but as a person.

Right. Moving along.

I get this question a lot. When I say a lot, I mean über-times. The question I receive is this: How can I write about zombies if I believe in a higher power? More specifically–how can I write about horror if I believe in God?

My answer is always the same. I write about sin. Rather, I write about the effects of sin in a godless society. This is where you as the reader either stop reading, or continue reading with the goal of trying to understand what I just said. I’m sure whatever you decide to do, I will know by the response I receive at the end of this post.

I write about zombies as a type of sin that has spread throughout society. Given sin is the breaking of God’s law, lawlessness left unchecked will produce a society where sin corrupts and kills the good. Similarly, zombies as typified sin, spread their corruption, in this case their undead state, to others by means of close contact. Without salvation, all of humanity will die. Hence, the only thing to redeem humanity from sin is the shedding of blood.

My definition of a zombie apocalypse is not about how gory the story can become, but about good versus evil. In other words, how far has sin progressed in the story that the hero–the savior–can appear and redeem the remaining few who have chosen not to allow sin to enter into their lives?

To me, zombies also represent people dead in sin. I’m talking about those folks who roam about shackled to a life of bitter slavery. They have no concept of an existence beyond themselves, and their idea of living is waking up every morning to continue a life better left unchallenged. Eventually, zombies will rot until there’s nothing left and sin will have prevailed over their souls.

Do you see now how I don’t feel guilty writing about zombies?


If you’re a writer, do you allow your belief system to inspire you? If so, how far do you allow it to take you?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: The Aftermath

I haven’t read many zombie books to know for certain, but I know my movies, and I would have to say I haven’t seen this issue explored—what would society be like after a zombie apocalypse? Zombie movies typically concentrate on the time when the undead take over the world. But, what of the aftermath? Society would need rebuilding.

Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J31347 / CC-BY-SA (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.)
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-J31347 / CC-BY-SA (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.)

Today’s Monday Mayhem will explore what would society need to do to rise from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse. Of course this is all speculation, and for the most part, for entertainment value. However, I will assume some truth lies therein, and I’m rather opposed to revealing what that truth is. I’m sure you’ll figure it out—eventually.

First thing on the agenda? What to do with all the bodies of the undead once a cure for the zombie virus hits the streets? I will presume a zombie virus antidote will render the survivors immune to the virus and kill everything else undead. Even more so, let’s take that assumption to include zombie traps that would disperse the antidote to the undead masses like a net and relieve them of their zombiehood. So, again I ask. What will happen with all the dead zombie bodies?

Gas stations would need gas. If there is gas in gas stations then tractors can have gas in order for survivors to use the tractors to dig ditches. The survivors can then use the ditches to bury the dead bodies.

The other solution is to burn the dead bodies and bulldoze the ashes into the fields where former farmers could fertilize their crops. Morbid? Yes, but it’s a positive solution for a negative event.

Next, as it happened after World War II, a baby boom will take place. Those left will have nothing else to do but to procreate the next generation of survivors with the hope that generation will build a society void of the threat from the undead.

With all the children born, a number of things will need to happen if society wishes to survive another generation. Not necessarily in this order: The survivors will need a leader to instruct them in the way of civility. Laws will have to come into effect to address quarrels among families, individuals and other areas of the land. With growth also comes farming, education and healthcare. Who will do what? will be the big question on everyone’s lips.

Lastly, as with all great emerging societies, comes the sanitation question: What to do with all the human waste once society gets into a rhythm of birth, growth and death?

So you see, even though we may have won the war against the zombies, we’ll still have to win the bigger war—the war of rebuilding after the undead are no longer a threat.

To me, that is the greatest challenge of them all.


What do you think the world would need to do to rebuild from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies and the Law

An interesting article appeared in the Huffington Post recently. The gist of the story goes something like this: would zombies be legally responsible if they ate your brain? I laughed at the suggestion as well. Yet the question lends to some deep thought. Who would be responsible if a zombie ate your brain? Welcome to Monday Mayhem.

Zombie Justice
Zombie Justice

Lawyers Ryan Davidson and James Daily specialize in the legal ramifications of comic book hypothetical situations. In other words, these guys are cool. They take simple comic book scenarios and view them in the strictest legal sense. Their next endeavor is zombies. What zombies do, how they do it, responsibility, tort, etc., all that stuff. Featured in The New York Times, Marketplace, the ABA Journal and others, the site Law and the Multiverse have provided enlightening ideas on the zombie genre.

According to Davidson, a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t only be a mess for humanity, but also for the courts. The law views individuals as either fully alive or fully dead. There’s no in-betweens or undead. The argument attributing responsibility to zombies for property damage or crimes against humanity takes an even more complicated turn when introducing awareness to the equation.

Here’s what Davidson had to say:

“It depends on how the disease works. If zombies are effectively unconscious, then they would be incapable of performing voluntary actions and thus immune to criminal liability (or civil liability, for that matter). The zombies in the most recent I Am Legend movie appear to be fully conscious, if perhaps a bit aggressive, so they could potentially be found liable. But in most others, probably not.”

28 Days Later
28 Days Later

Then the question of rights comes to play. Would zombies have rights? He continues:

“If zombies are re-animated corpses, then no. The dead have no rights. But if zombies are living people infected with some kind of virus, like in 28 Days Later, they still have all the same rights they did before infection.”

Of course, if former zombies hire good lawyers, they can get off on an insanity plea. At least this is something the courts would have to take into consideration, should the defendants find their minds again and be fit to stand trial. Davidson was clear about this issue:

“If the crimes were committed while they were a zombie, and if the zombie condition causes legal insanity (basically defined in many states as not knowing what you are doing and not knowing that what you are doing is wrong), then they would have an insanity defense, even if they were later cured.”

He was quick to clarify those individuals suffering from mental illnesses today are not zombies.

To add to the discussion, the last portion of his interview delves into the “what if” scenario of capturing a zombie and placing it on trial for capital crimes and the like. Not only would said zombie be deemed unfit to stand trial, it would also have difficulties working with counsel. Not to mention the court would have an arduous task finding a jury of its peers.

Does bringing a zombie to trial seem feasible? What other problems may exist should a zombie find itself in court?