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Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Steve Cole's thoughts on the zombie apocalypse.

1. I have a lot of trouble understanding how the Army could have been overrun in the defense of the CDC building in Atlanta (in THE WALKING DEAD). Zombies (at least in that show) are incredibly easy to kill, just shoot them in the head. To be sure, head shots are hard at battlefield ranges, but zombie war ranges are as close as you want them to be (since zombies aren't carrying guns). Any soldier can make a head shot at 10 meters and most at 20 or 30 meters. So long as you don't panic, the only way for a hundred armed soldiers to be overrun by zombies is to run out of ammunition while surrounded. Okay, maybe that's what happened. At least that would explain why Rick & Crew didn't gather up dozens of M16s and M4s as they passed through that battlefield.

2. The problem with killing zombies is not killing them (that's the easy part). The problem is getting the zombie to first walk to the place where you want to leave the body, since gathering bodies, hauling them off, and burning or burying them, has got to be intensely dangerous (or at least icky). It's stupidly simple to walk up to a chain-link fence and stab a zombie in the brain, but then what? You have a rotting, stinking corpse next to your fence. Worse, if not hauled away, the bodies become a ramp other zombies might use to climb over the fence. Seems to me that the solution is to use Army five-ton trucks with a squad of soldiers in the back of each one. When the zombies crowd the fence, you lure them away from the gate (easy enough) and then the trucks drive outside the fence. Once outside, you go slow enough for the zombies to follow you for a half a mile or so, then park the trucks where you have clear lines of fire. (That part is tricky, but not overly so.) Once the pack of zombies is half a mile from the fence, circle around so that you can fire into the pack without having your homestead down range.

3. How do you win the zombie war? Well, first, you survive until the zombies are all gone. The trick is, what is the modality for their departure? Will they all just rot after a few months or years? Will they freeze, allowing you to stack them somewhere convenient and chainsaw their skulls? How do you kill zombies on a mass scale? There actually IS more than enough ammunition in the country to shoot every zombie (if you don't waste a lot of ammo) but you might actually burn out your rifles. (Not a problem, there are plenty of rifles.) The problem is not the countryside; the problem is the major cities where a hundred thousand (or a million) zombies are wandering around looking for something to react to.

4. Your best bet to handle a huge number of zombies (100,000 or more) is going to be to set up firing ranges and disposal areas and use vehicles or helicopters to lure "some" of the zombies into the killing zone. This will have to be repeated (a lot of times) before you even notice the numbers starting to fall.

5. The problem with barrier defenses is that when you're talking about defending habitation areas you need a lot of barrier, too many miles of it to build around anything bigger than a very small village. The first thing to realize is you cannot defend farmland (too much of it is needed) so you'll have to settle for defending the housing area and using patrols and outposts to detect any zombies that wander into the outer farming area. Then a patrol can go out and kill them. The best barrier (i.e., the only practical barrier) against zombies is distance. Set up your defensive bastion ten or more miles from any town of 100,000 (and correspondingly further from cities of a million or more). Set up a continual series of patrols (it takes too many people to do outposts) around the farmland to detect any zombies then lure and shoot any of them that try to cross the "dead line." Zombies don't move that fast, maybe one or two miles per hour assuming they have some reason to keep moving and don't just go into a random wander (which effectively keeps them in the same few acres). Remote cameras could replace scarce humans if you can get electricity working to them.