The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 12, 2012

Zombie apocalypse is upon us

By Adam Smith
adam@athensnews-courier.com

— It’s not every day you read the headline, “Man shot to death while eating another man’s face.”

It seems like something you’d read on the spoof news website The Onion, but no, this actually happened.

In case you missed it —and surely you didn’t — Rudy Eugene, now known as the “Miami cannibal” got high as a kite on a drug known as “bath salts” and proceeded to attack a homeless man and eat 80 percent of his face. And, in the civilized county we know as the United States, the attack went on for 18 minutes.

I’m no Charles Atlas, but if someone attempted to eat my face off my skull, I’m pretty sure I’d find a way to put a stop to it. Unless that someone was, in fact, a large bear or lion high on bath salts. Then, I suppose I’d be powerless to stop such an attack.

Bath salts are reportedly being sold as a cocaine substitute and can lead to paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions and psychotic episodes. Basically, it’s just like real cocaine, only slightly more legal.

In an interview with CNN, Paul Adams, a doctor at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, gave a description of bath salts that left me questioning why anyone would want to even go near the stuff.

“This is a terrible drug because it takes a combination of methamphetamine, and the paranoia and the aggressiveness, and LSD, the hallucinations, and PCP, the extreme paranoia that you get, combines it into one, and has unpredictable effects on human behavior,” he said.

The Alabama Legislature has taken appropriate steps to crack down on other substitute drugs like Spice, which was sold legally for a spell as a substitute for marijuana. To my knowledge, there’s still no substitute for seven-year, single-barrel Kentucky bourbon. And why should there be?

The Legislature has also taken steps in recent years to crack down on the sale of pseudoephedrine, a prime ingredient in the making of crystal meth.

I believed, perhaps erroneously, that meth was the worst drug on the planet until the cannibalism-in-broad-daylight event occurred. I now view meth as the second-worst drug, below bath salts and above crack.

Sadly, Rudy Eugene’s psychotic episode wasn’t the only recently reported account of cannibalism in recent days. A gay Canadian porn star reportedly killed his ex-boyfriend and decided to eat a few parts, I guess to have something to remember him by.

The parts he didn’t eat were reportedly sent to members of Canadian Parliament, a fact they didn’t find amusing. He was arrested Monday in Germany.

In yet another case, a man in Hartford County, Md., told police there he killed his roommate and ate the victim’s heart and brain.

All this recent cannibalism has forced some to question if the “zombie apocalypse” is upon us. I, for one, believe it’s a very real possibility.

In May of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta issued a blog posting entitled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.”

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies.” At the time, the CDC passed it off as a joke, but perhaps they knew something we didn’t.

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” said the posting. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. … You may laugh now, but when it happens you'll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

The CDC even provided a brief overview of zombies that was strikingly accurate.

“The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen,” states the blog. “In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way.”

Surprisingly spot on!

I don’t think I have to tell you twice, but yes, zombies are now living among us. And it’s scary to think we don’t know what might set them off — bath salts, meth, crack, gay pornography or Kentucky bourbon.

We need to be prepared now, so I offer up the following tips:

• Zombies cannot be killed by conventional means. Carry a flame-thrower at all times;

• If someone tries to eat your face or any other body part, it’s safe to assume that person is a zombie, thereby giving you the authority to incinerate him or her;

• Invest in an iron face mask;

• Avoid bath salts or other synthetic drugs, lest you contract the zombie virus; and lastly

• Avoid anyone who walks dragging one leg behind and who has his or her arms outstretched as if asking for a hug. Do not hug this person; assume he or she is a zombie and incinerate at will.

I would also advise everyone to learn more about how to prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse by visiting the CDC’s blog posting at http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse.

Be careful out there. You never know when a zombie will present itself.