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Columns : In My Sights

Responding to a Code Z

Are you ready for a zombie apocalypse?

November 14, 2011  |  by Dave Smith - Also by this author

Illustration: Sequoia Blankenship.
Illustration: Sequoia Blankenship.

The other day I was sitting at a cigar bar in South Carolina talking to some crimefighters about modern problems facing law enforcement. I've heard it said that every generation sees signs of the apocalypse and thinks, "Today is the worst time ever!" And so it was we were lamenting the fall of the Republic and the bad times to come. In the middle of the conversation one of my fellow cigar aficionados simply lowered his smoke and asked, "But what I want to know is, what do you plan to use when the zombies come?"

What followed was a lively discussion of the proper use of force and weapons for serious zombie stopping, as only emotionally undeveloped males can do, involving stabbing, chopping, and shooting. When it was over we all sat back and finished our cigars with a much better outlook on life. It is said a Spartan captain was told the Persians had so many archers that their arrows would block out the sun, to which he replied, "Then we will fight in the shade!" Which was the Spartan way of saying, "And when the zombies come we'll kick their butts, too!"

Whether the threat to a civil society is a criminal, a protester, a tornado, or a zombie, the law enforcement officer will always be the tip of the spear to save the day, solve the crime, rescue the victims, maintain the peace, and restore civilization. The problem is that modern society and its chattering classes often seem to root for the zombies and spend a great deal of time criticizing the heroes of our story.

Zombies have become one of today's hottest subjects. A plethora of TV shows, movies, and novels explore all types of the undead or living dead. Future generations will no doubt attribute this fixation to one or another of our social ills, and one certainly has to admit that there must be some strange social collective fear that has made these critters the subject of so much attention.

For crimefighters, speculative zombie slaying permits us to acknowledge that the times are tough, and permits us a chance to use our imagination and humor to escape, if for a moment, the real issues facing us today. So, dear reader, let us begin. You go to briefing and your sergeant reads a notice about a strange flu going around that seems to be having some odd effects on its victims so any calls involving brain eating will be dispatched as a two-officer call.

An hour later you are facing your first zombie. It's a solo living dead guy who seems preoccupied with getting some of your brain. You would: A) Call your sergeant. B) Use your iPhone to post a Facebook photo of the perp. C) Double tap the poor creature with your carbine. D) All of the above.

Correct answer: D) All of the above. This is too good to keep to yourself and your sergeant is going to get a kick out of this too. What's that you say? You're a shotgun type of zombie hunter? Sure you are, but you need the practice with a carbine! I know some of you are thinking about taking some of the more exotic movie options on duty, but I think your average domestic will be a lot harder to handle when you are walking around with that samurai sword.

Now some of you are thinking all this is pretty silly, and you're right. But in the moment the Spartan captain said his men would fight in the shade, his men laughed and all thoughts of the dark times to come were banished for a time with that one image. Warriors have always used humor to cope, to heal, to prepare, and I think that it is in these jokes and silly exercises that we escape for a moment the horror of fatal accidents, shootings, storms, and social unrest.

The zombie has become a symbol of the mindless tragedy and crises that haunt the modern world, and it is the job of law enforcement to race to the rescue in these moments of chaos and create order. So I think it is a good exercise to, just for a few minutes, escape to the world of the zombie hunter and choose your weapons. Good hunting.

Dave Smith is the creator of "Buck Savage" and a retired law enforcement officer from Arizona.

Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

Caroline @ 11/15/2011 12:45 PM

WONDERFUL!! I think the other wonderful part about this "zombie" attack, is it will be the first time in history where we will be praised for a good job, and for protecting ourselves and other, rather than criticized for it!
On a side note, a good read for any crime fighter is the Zombie Survival Guide, it's a funny read and a break from the norm but it's good info for dealing with the "just in case" situations. At the end of the day we all know that truthfully we have seen such strange things on the job, is a Zombie attack that weird?! HAHA!
Thanks for sharing Dave! :) "Watch the hands and TEETH!"

Wendy Weidman @ 11/15/2011 1:03 PM

As always, you are the best!

Rob Smith @ 11/15/2011 1:09 PM

Nicely done Dave.

Diane @ 11/15/2011 1:36 PM

My son was with you in that cigar bar...we have had many talks about you and what is to come, zombies and all. Glad to know humor will help!! We have lots of firepower...what else will be needed? Garlic? a cross? a silver bullet? I'm serious - I need to know.

Chad @ 11/15/2011 1:42 PM

Gotta have fun with the work, especially nowadays. So Just what would J.D. "Buck" Savage do with the zombie hordes? I'd pay to see that training video. Love ya Dave.

Kyle @ 11/16/2011 7:22 AM

Brilliant! We too have had spirited debates over the topic here in my agency. The real deciding factor in determining your loadout will be what kind of Zombies we have. If it's 1968 George A. Romero "Night of the Livign Dead" slow moving Zombies, high caliber pistols and sawed off chotguns would likely be the order of the day. But, if we get the Zombieland/28 Days Later/The Crazies type of fast moving Zombies, we are going to need to plan for taking them out at distance to avoid them closing on us and having a potential bite situation. In the latter, scoped rifles and patrol carbines are going to be preferred.

Tim @ 11/16/2011 7:44 AM

All I can say is AMC The Walking Dead.....

Turbo @ 11/16/2011 8:43 AM

Tim is right about AMC's The Walking Dead. Supremely well written, 2 of the main characters are cops. The choices that they have to make in the show are great for debate. If the zombies come, I pray they are not like the 28 Days Later type. Too mean, too fast, too smart. Going to need a LOT of standoff distance from them. And bullets. Lots of bullets.

Great article, Dave!

Trnapartpap3r @ 11/16/2011 12:16 PM

I recommend for anyone a good read, Adrian's Undead Diary! It's a in real time diary, of a intrepid hero from the military. Really good read!

Matt @ 11/17/2011 8:05 PM

We've had this discussion many times at work. Our general concensus is to invade and take over the local Walmart. That should keep us supplied for quite a while. Just gotta kick out the Walmartians first....

Bchin @ 11/21/2011 6:59 PM

It's all fun and games until those damn lawers from the ZCLU show up and start talking about zombie rights.

Barry @ 12/3/2011 8:16 PM

Ive got a box of Hornady ZMax waiting for the zombie apocolypse...

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