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Zombie Warfare Preparation: Getting Ready for the Turn
by Christopher Peruzzi
Should we find ourselves in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, we need to know everything about our enemy. What we do know is that against all odds of reality they function. They do not eat. They do not sleep. They do not breathe. They don't even go to the bathroom. All they are, are walking automations with no motivation other than to eat still living flesh.
Which, when you think about it, could be you and everyone you know who has a pulse.
We are already making some assumptions. We assume that zombies are made by a virus. While this is probable, we can not be 100% percent sure that the zombie virus is communicable by bite or scratch. What we know is that their bites and scratches are deadly. What we don't know is what causes the dead to reanimate.
In order to figure this out, we would need to employ the scientific method. We have a control group and an experimental group. We would create a hypothesis then we would test that hypothesis with experimentation. Unfortunately, because we, in this current society have some amount of morals and ethics, can't create an experiment group without finding someone willing to become one of the walking dead. It is beyond our humanity and compassion.
What we need to know is whether or not zombie reanimation is caused by exposure or injury from a zombie or whether or not it is incidental upon death. According to most of the zombie fiction currently available, especially in the case of Shaun of the Dead, reanimation is caused by the former. However, according to the current plot line of The Walking Dead, it is the latter.
Should it happen to us, we'll need to know by watching our casualties. However, for the sake of this article, we will assume that reanimation occurs upon the point of anyone's death during a breakout. Once again, we don't know the cause. It could be viral. Or it could be environmental, perhaps reanimation occurs either due to spores, or possibly it may be due to the amount of extra radio frequencies that humans are currently exposed to.
In any event, when someone dies during a zombie apocalypse, you should be prepared for reanimation. Here are some guidelines for body disposal.
Communication must be clear
We assume that at this time reanimation only happens to dead people. Should you be part of a small party of survivors, every member of your group should have a clear understanding that there's a difference between "you alive" and "you reanimated". In some senses we must move into the realm of metaphysics and either consider the concept of a soul or consider the science of how the brain works.
Should we consider that a person is defined by his character, intelligence, and personality, then we can establish the concept of a soul. It should be evident that anyone facing the undead that these things that are driven to consume your flesh and are no longer human, alive, or have a soul. It is a body without intelligence or signs of intelligent life.
We also have science.
Science, in this case, would say that the higher parts of the brain that define human personality, character, and intelligence are dead. According to the book, The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Stephen C. Schlotzman, the one part of the brain that is working is the brain stem which evolved from our "reptile" self. This essentially means that aggressive behavior and violence is the only thing that remains of our former selves.
At that point, we are no better than alligators.
So when you see a loved one turn, you should know that it really is not them anymore. This needs to be clearly understood. Because when it comes down to disposing of casualties, there must be no hesitation on anyone's part.
Destroy the brain
The reason why there must be clear communication as to "you alive" and "you undead" is that as a zombie, you are a danger to your loved ones. The one way they will be safe is to destroy you. That will require them destroying your brain.
The brain can be destroyed through either a blunt forced trauma or through a projectile. The most effective way can be done through either the eye socket or through the small indentation just above the eyebrows at the center of the forehead. The brain should be destroyed thoroughly.
Reports vary as to when animation happens. It can either happen immediately upon physical brain death (when the the heart stops pumping and oxygen leaves the higher brain functions) or within a few hours. Termination of anyone who experiences corporal physical death should have their brain destroyed shortly after the heart beats its last.
Cremate the body
Once the brain is destroyed, then you can dispose of the body.
Due to the possibility that this could be part of an undiagnosed contagion, it would make the most sense to burn the body. This has the benefit of sterilization and destruction of any virus that could be present within it. With the burning and complete destruction of the corpse it is impossible for any kind of further reanimation of the body, in the event the brain stem was not completely destroyed after death.
There is a practical application to this disposal as well. Given that zombies have surrounded most fortifications, there is limited space for burial. A primitive crematorium does not take a lot of outdoor space. Provided that any burning does not attract the attention of the undead, it is the best solution.
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When dealing with a zombie breakout, it is important to establish a fortification. In any fortification, there is limited space. It is highly probable that as you and your party are doing your best to survive, there will be a casualty.
While we don't know the cause of reanimation, we do know that it happens during a physical death. In this case, it is best to take precautions and destroy any of our dead.
In the event of reanimation of any of your party, you should be physically and mentally prepared to destroy the body of a former loved one. It is not something that anyone would like to do, however, we will need to know that we are mentally prepared to do what needs to be done.
There needs to be a clear understanding that the zombie is not them. Once that it done, the chances of your party will increase significantly.