Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Strategies

How important is strategy when fighting zombies? I’m sure most would say zombies’ lack of intelligence gives humans an edge against them. However, if fifty zombies trap you in a room and they’re pounding at your door, some strategy would go a long way. Perhaps running into a room with no way out wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Zombie playing chess [Photo Credit: Unknown]
Zombie playing chess [Photo Credit: Unknown]
Writing this post from the perspective of a chess game, let’s see what strategies a potential victim of a zombie attack can employ to defeat the undead for my Monday Mayhem series.

One of the strategies prevalent in a good chess game is the sacrifice. To be specific, giving away a piece on the board in order to obtain an advantage of the enemy later in the game. As I explained in my Zombie Animals post, the zombie virus hops from human to human without infecting animals in a process called zoonosis. What better way to distract a zombie horde than to give away your future dinner. It’s a good idea to carry around a chicken to use as bait for zombies to chase while your group takes the high road. If chickens are not around, then I’ll refrain from suggesting the obvious.

Another chess strategy is castling. The way this works is the player tucks the king away behind an impregnable wall of pawns with a rook used as the anchor to the move. In a real-life zombie situation, the term “hunkering down” may prove to be the best option with a crowd of zombies knocking at your door. The caveat being, whatever happens no one stops shooting. You’ll need plenty of ammo and lots of patience to execute this strategy successfully.

The Snare
The Snare

Up next, the pin. The general idea behind a pin lies in trapping a piece on the board so it can’t move from its position. Same goes for zombies. Trap them, then scrap them. Bear traps work great for those persistent undead who just won’t leave you alone. Holes in the ground with sharp sticks at the bottom can prove to be a survivalist’s weapon of choice. Let’s not forget the snare made from netting and a trip wire to set it off. A good strategy is a planned strategy, at least that’s what I say.

The last tactic involves the king. When the king has lost all of his army, his main goal is to keep alive for as long as possible. In the game of chess, the king has fifty moves to avoid a checkmate by its opponent. Part of this tactic includes attempting to force a stalemate where both sides can’t reach a realistic conclusion. Similarly, in a zombie apocalypse, when all hope seems lost, never give up. There’s always hope. No matter how bad things seem, there is that one chance the zombies will mess up and you can get away. This means maintaining a positive outlook, looking forward to a better tomorrow and remaining filled with the optimism that things will work out.

How different is it from the way we should live our lives today?

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Are you a chess player appreciating strategies that may one day save your life? If not, what strategy would use to defeat chasing zombies?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Animals

Why aren’t there any zombie animals in The Walking Dead? I’ve wondered this since the first episode. I have yet to see a zombified dog, cat, horse or goat, let alone a zombified pig, donkey or squirrel. And as anyone who follows my Monday Mayhem series would know, I can’t let go of an idea until I’ve exhausted all possible solutions to the question.

Zombie Ant
Zombie Ant

During my first stop of the show’s folklore, I looked at the virus that’d infected the walkers. For those unfamiliar with the show, walkers are what become of humans who contract the deadly virus ending human life, spawning a zombie life—or rather an undead life, if that makes sense. I noticed those who’d fallen victim to the virus caught it from a bite delivered by the infected. The other form of transmission affects victims after they’re dead, lending credence that the virus always existed in humans but a condition occurred to awaken the dormant strain. The typical effects of the condition varies: Pale skin, fainting, dehydration, chills, soreness, loss of hair, portions of scalp missing, fever/hallucinations, dilated pupils and coughing blood.

Once I’d learned about the virus and its effects on humans, I next investigated its transmission to animals. Apparently, if a walker encounters an animal it will do what it can to eat it as the animal breathes its last. This rule of thumb goes for all living creatures a walker meets. The caveat to this scenario rests on the expected behavior of the animal bitten by the walker. Like humans, animals should rise from the dead after the bite. They don’t. Therefore, walkers can bite human and animal alike, but only humans will spawn as the undead.

This is where I tossed my preconceived notions and allowed myself the benefit to indulge in some interesting speculation.

West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus

To begin, the general makeup of a virus dictates its effectiveness on its target. It is common for a virus to affect only humans. However, when a virus hops from one species to another (eg. human-to-human, animal-to-human), this process goes by the name of zoonosis. The West Nile Virus falls into this category. Birds transmit to humans, but humans can’t transmit to dogs and cats since these animals possess the immunity to fight the bug. The opposite stands true when humans carry the virus spreading it to animals, called reverse zoonosis or anthroponosis. In The Walking Dead, the infection bounces from human to human making it a zoonosis-type virus. Therefore, the possibility we haven’t seen zombie animals on the show lies in the fact the infection itself cannot spread to animals.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s a dry explanation, but good, nonetheless. Don’t you think? But what if science or medicine has nothing to do with the lack of zombie animals?

Another theory came to mind. Growing up I read the story about Noah’s Ark. I read how God became so angered with humanity’s penchant for sinning that he brought a flood upon the earth to wipe everyone out of existence. You might call it divine retribution. In the story, God commanded Noah to build him an ark to house all the animals of the world. Too bad mosquitos survived. At least we have our delicious turkey for Thanksgiving. Anyway, this demonstrates God’s love for animals. Perhaps we don’t see zombie animals in The Walking Dead because it’s God’s way of protecting them from his anger directed toward humanity due to the disobedience of his law, much like he had done during the time of Noah.

That makes sense, too. Right?

Wrong. It has nothing to do with zoonosis. It has nothing to do with God’s wrath. There is a reason, though. Avid fans of the series probably already know this. Some of you may have even skipped to the bottom of this post to read this final paragraph. Are you ready for it? Are you? Okay. The reason The Walking Dead does not feature zombie animals is that the original comic book illustrator Charlie Adlard “loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much,” Robert Kirkman, the creator of the series said on Conan, Mar. 7, 2013. That’s it. Nothing scientific. Nothing divine. It’s a personal preference. And here we’re thinking it has to do with some grand scheme.

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Did you think the answer would have been a complicated scientific explanation?