In the recent years it became popular for governments to train against the “zombie apocalypse” scenario, where hordes of the living dead threaten the living, who must quarantine and defend themselves at all cost. The zombies are, of course, completely dehumanized, depersonalized enemies; generic targets nobody feels any compunction in destroying. What you might not understand in this picture, is that they mean you.
In a major disaster scenario, regardless of the actual cause which might vary between disease, nuclear war or a volcanic super-eruption, people will be divided in two groups. There will be those who have underground bunkers with abundant storage of food, water, filtered air, medical supplies, and armed guards, and there will be you. You will live your normal daily lives, going to work, having a home with no more than a few cans of food storage, drinking tap water with no water reserves other than the tank for flushing your toilet, no energy reserves because you use gas and electricity from the grid, and no cash reserves because you live from pay check to pay check, and, in the majority of cases, you are in debt anyway.
In case of any serious disaster, you are the living dead. Your process of dying starts once the utilities of civilization, which you take for granted, stop. At this point, your death is a matter of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: is the air safe to breathe? Is the water available and safe to drink? Is there food? Is there warmth? Are there men with guns and clubs who want to take your stuff? Can you detect and avoid radiation? Do you have antibiotics with which to treat minor wounds? Do you need medication in order to function?
If you need medication, you will quickly run out. You will have to drink contaminated water and likely get diarrhoea. Food is not your most pressing concern, because you will most likely be injured during the disaster, and you will be in some state of shock, with open wounds that will get infected. You will be either irradiated, infected by disease, inhale volcanic ash, or simply lost and without any idea what to do, surrounded by other injured, shocked, lost people. In a state of shock, you will initially do all the wrong things – get out and watch the nuclear blast, drink some water of unknown state of contamination because you’re thirsty, act as if things are normal for far too long. However, that would only matter in a limited disaster scenario. In case of anything serious, it’s not a matter of what you need to avoid in order to survive, but a matter of conditions that need to be met in order for you to survive. You need to have an underground bunker with non-perishable supplies, huge tanks of pure water, air filtration, medical supplies, and safety. If you don’t have those, you are at this point the living dead. Your process of dying already started, and you are doomed; you just don’t know it yet. Not knowing that you’re doomed, you will attempt to survive. You will seek access of supplies and shelter. You will be ready to use force if you are denied, because you will desperately need things. Those who have things will have a choice: give you things and thus decrease their own already slim chances of riding through the disaster, or defend against you, the living dead. You doomed yourself by not being prepared, by believing in the fiction of perpetually available tap water and electricity if only you pay your bills, and now you are a factor of the chain reaction of doom: in order to live one more day, you need to eat somebody else’s food, drink somebody else’s water, and use up somebody else’s antibiotics, taking them down with you in your hopeless downward spiral.
The government, whom you usually look to for help, will perform triage: who lives, who can be helped, and who dies. In normal circumstances, if you are wounded or sick, you expect to be helped. In these circumstances, those who are sick or wounded are a fatal drain on the resources, and are cut off, sentenced to death. The most likely people to survive are the armed soldiers protecting the underground bunkers. If you are armed and in the position of power, this power will be further cemented; if you are vulnerable, you will not only lose everything, you will be a danger that needs to be guarded against. You, the living dead, will be shot on sight if you try to approach government installations looking for help. You watched disaster recovery videos and you expect there to be distribution centres where you can get food, water and medical assistance, but that expectation is only valid in a limited disaster, where one area is impacted and others are not. When everybody is impacted, aid is no longer provided to those in need, because the resources need to be stretched out for as long as possible, in order to give at least some, the ones most likely to survive, some chance. There is no longer a “government”, only people with guns and food in protected installations, and the hordes of the “living dead” who want to get in. And at this point, they have been training for years to see you as nothing but inhuman targets, in order to be able to kill you without any compassion whatsoever, guarding their bosses, their personal safety, and their stocks of supplies. Have you stopped to consider why “zombies” are depicted as dirty, bloody and wounded? Because that’s what you, the normal people, are expected to look like when shit hits the fan. Read the descriptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki aftermath; the “living dead” were walking around bloody, dirty, wounded, in shock, dying. You expect your government to be making plans for helping you, if that happens, but you are wrong. They are training their soldiers and personnel to see you as an inhuman threat, to guard against you and to shoot you on sight. What they are planning to do is stay in the position of power, use up all the resources for themselves, and stay safe from you, who paid for all of their power with taxes, and believed in the human rights and democracy bullshit they’ve been selling you.