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Zombies:The Rundown- Should We Feel Guilty for Killing Them?

Natalie Ansley, Journalist

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What is the definition of zombie according to science? Based on the ideas created by television and media, zombies are the scary, slow, brain-eating, undead phenomenon that have taken the world by storm. But what is the real definition of zombie?

According to scientists, zombies can be diagnosed according to the symptoms they display in film and television. Scientists say a zombie’s odd behavior suggests brain damage to the frontal lobe and cerebellum.

The frontal lobe is the area of the brain directly behind the forehead. It concerns areas with behavior, learning, personality, and voluntary movement. The cerebellum is in the back of the brain. It regulates muscular activity. Damage to these parts of the brain would explain zombie-like behavior.

What real life events could cause a zombie apocalypse? Though the chances of the dead rising are slim, there are neurotropic viruses that can cause aggressive or bizarre behavior. Neurotropic viruses are not uncommon.

Rabies is a neurotropic virus. In the popular movie, World War Z, the zombie virus is first misidentified as rabies. Rabies, like the zombie virus, is transmitted through biting. The virus travels directly to the brain and makes one go insane and want to bite more people. “ More than 55,000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die from rabies every year, which is one person every ten minutes” says the World Rabies website.

How would a zombie virus come about? One situation could involve two viruses joining together to form a hybrid virus.

Another situation could be caused by a glitch in the genetic copying machinery of an existing virus. Therefore, the idea of a zombie-like plague isn’t really that far-fetched.

What precautions should one take in the case of a zombie apocalypse? It is extremely unlikely that a zombie apocalypse will take place but that doesn’t mean that no precaution should be taken.

The Center for Disease Control has posted guidelines telling people what to do in the case of a zombie apocalypse. “There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” wrote infectious disease specialist Dr Ali Khan. “Take a zombie apocalypse, for example.”

The CDC suggests putting together an emergency kit consisting of water, food, medication, battery-powered radio, a utility knife and vital documents.They also suggest having at least two meeting spots for family and friends.

The CDC also states on the website, they do not suggest killing the zombies. Attempting to confront the zombie and kill it puts a person in unnecessary danger.

           Should someone feel guilty for killing zombies? After all, zombies are still people. These people are just ill. Many say when it comes down to it, they’d rather the zombie die than themselves. But what if it was the person’s mother who was infected?  

What if the person’s mother was about to kill them? Would the person be able to kill his or her own mother as an act of self-preservation? Some say yes, but in reality, would they be able to kill a friend or family member or would the person be struck by emotions and not be able to pull the trigger?

Even if the zombie wasn’t the person’s friend or family member, the zombie was someone else’s friend, husband, father, do they deserve to die. They do not want to kill anyone. It’s a sickness; they are not in control of their own thoughts or actions.

According to, only 11% of those surveyed think they should feel guilty for killing a zombie. That means an astounding 89% believe ruthlessly killing the zombies is acceptable and no one should feel guilty for self-preservation.

In the case of an actual zombie apocalypse, would it be acceptable to kill zombies? Should anyone feel guilt for saving his or her own life?

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Student run newspaper of Lake Oconee Academy.
Zombies:The Rundown- Should We Feel Guilty for Killing Them?