Everybody has a zombie contingency plan. A unique and ingenious stratagem they've spent hours contemplating that ensures they and their loved ones will stay alive in the event of a zombie apocalypse. The only problem? You've got the exact same essential plan as everybody else: go raid the gun store, get out of the cities as fast as possible, find a sturdy base to fortify and hole up in, use a melee weapon whenever possible to conserve ammo and--if the worst does come to pass and you find yourself facing down a crowd of the undead--take your time, aim carefully and make every shot a head shot.
Jesus, you're not going to last five minutes. Here's why:
First things first: You need a firearm. The time for "common sense gun control" went out the window the second grandpa came back from the afterlife to make a sandwich out of your face. No matter what your political stance was before the uprising, you fucking love the Second Amendment now. You want the biggest, shiniest, loudest monstrosity possible. If there's a gun that shoots a thousand bullets a second; that's great. If there's one that shoots a thousand flaming bullets a second; even better! If there's a gun that shoots out other guns that all fire thousands of flaming bullets in mere seconds--like some sort of pyramid scheme comprised entirely of shredding death infernos--well, that would be just dandy. But even if you already have the god-king of firearms at your disposal, you're still not ready. You need to arm everybody in your group, you need spares just in case and you need ammo. In short, you need to get to the gun store.
The only problem being: So does everybody else.
The closest gun shop to your house is also the closest gun shop to a thousand other people's houses, and at least a few dozen of them are going to get there before you. Assuming that the place isn't clean out--probably because the shop is either locked down like a fortress, or because the owners are barricaded inside and would rather like to keep their livelihood and defensive measures, thanks--you still need to get your arsenal. See, owners of gun stores tend to like guns, and people that like guns not only generally want to keep them, but are also quite capable of using them.
"You can have my gun... when you come down to my place of business and ask politely. I've got a lot, take one!"
Now you and a thousand other people are on the outside of a suburban fortress, hurling "pretty pleases" at a half-insane, heavily-armed, trained marksmen inside. Not only are you probably not coming away from the gun store with a shiny new weapon; you'd be lucky to get out of there without an impromptu sunroof installed in your skull.
A major city is the absolute worst place to be in the event of a zombie uprising. The population density alone spells trouble, so the farther you can get away from civilization, the better. At the very first sign of trouble, you need to get right the hell out of there. In fact, everybody does. And what happens when everybody in a city needs to get somewhere at the same time? Like, say, during rush hour? That's right: deadlock. It's just that this time, there's a bit more emphasis on the "dead."
One man's traffic jam is another's buffet line.
Blindly following your knee-jerk flee response has dropped you straight in the middle of Super-Rush-Hour, a hellish place where you sit futilely trapped in a confined space, surrounded by people who may or may not already be infected, but are certainly standing around looking delicious to the zombie hordes. You just wanted to get out as quickly as possible, but now look at you: Stuck in an unmoving meat-line with a thousand other morsels and the only thing your car is doing is keeping the freshness in until the ravenous human can-openers get there.
Shelter, along with food and water, is one of the three main essentials absolutely necessary to human life. Just because there's no more room in Hell for the dead, that doesn't mean you no longer need a roof keeping your head dry. So you'd better get busy either finding or building yourself no less than an impenetrable fortress, and stay there until this thing blows over, right?
Not so much.
Putting yourself in a siege situation only works if there's the possibility that the invading force will stop. But you're not dealing with people here. Holding out against an army of people works because people can be reasoned with, they might have to leave to get supplies, or perhaps they'll just weigh the pros and cons of the situation and leave.
Not like zombies.
"It's been two months, so uh ... you guys need anything? Coffee? Blankets? No? Nothing? Brains? Oh, OK! Brains it is."
Zombies don't get bored or impatient, they need nothing to keep them alive (because they're, you know, not) and they're not really known for their logistic prowess: No cons will be weighed here. Food is a pro. You are food. You are there. So there are only pros here. They will wait for you forever. But you will run out of supplies eventually, and every day you stay put in your nigh-invulnerable bunker is another day zombies pile up outside. Zombies aren't a threat because they thin out gradually over time - they're a threat because they fucking multiply. Zombies beget zombies beget zombies, and they do their best begetting while scrabbling incessantly at your door for months on end because they can hear you crying inside. All "holing up" in a stationary location does is make the zombies want it more.
It makes them savor you.
The zombie apocalypse is a rough and tumble place, and most of us manage to rack up ER-worthy papercuts even at our current passive office jobs. In short: You're going to have open wounds, and exploding heads tends to be a bloody affair. So if all body fluids infect, blood included, then bites are the least of your worries. Consider this: For the sake of argument, let's pretend you don't spend your free time reading about zombies on the Internet and are, instead, a human being at peak physical condition. Now, go outside and find the nearest, smallest wild animal. Good? OK, now dive-tackle that son of a bitch and try to take a bite out of it.
How did you fare? Did you manage to get even a lick out of that squirrel
If yes, then holy shit! You really did that? That was just a hypothetical scenario. You're crazy as hell. Don't waste your time here, man. The zombie apocalypse is the least of your worries. The Devil is probably possessing your scrotum right now; you've got bigger fish to fry.
But if you didn't manage to get a taste of that woodland critter, well, that illustrates the point nicely: Grabbing an unwilling victim with your bare hands and taking a bite isn't easy. Things want to live, and they tend to move around a lot when you attempt to eat them, just like you will when grasped by a zombie. Just avoiding bites is not the problem. However, showering an attacker with your head-juice when it is bashing in your skull with a cricket bat is quite a different matter. That's a fucking cakewalk. Bashing in a head at close range means you're going to get blood everywhere; if you had so much as a scrape, now you're a zombie. It's much better to use up a bit of your ammo supply, rather than risk taking a crimson shower in skull leavings from the infectious undead.
Everybody knows that the only surefire way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain, and we've already established that you want to be as far away as possible when you do that, so at some point in time you're going to be shooting zombies in the head. That's actually one of the only good things about a zombie apocalypse; headshots are awesome! But think about that for a second: Headshots are impressive in movies and video games because they're the hardest of all possible shots. Taking your time and waiting for the right moment is all well and good if you're picking off roamers for a disturbing afternoon's entertainment on a leisurely Sunday picnic, but if shit goes down and you're faced with a crowd of zombies (they do tend to crowd, you see, quite rude like that) your last concern should be surefire kills, it should be getting the fuck out of there, finding a safe corner to sob in, and then finding a change of pants (in that order).
Relax. It became OK for men to cry somewhere around the time you had to blow your brother's undead face apart.
Yes, headshots are the only way to kill the undead, but not the only way to stop them. A broken leg isn't just a figure of speech; it's a fucking leg that is broken. As in, it doesn't work anymore. Regardless of the level of pain you are capable of registering, a shattered femur or severed spine renders anything essentially immobile. So quickly spraying waist-level fire into an approaching onslaught is a far better idea than lining up headshots for bonus points.
Plus, you've got to think: If there's even the slightest tinge of humanity left in these shambling monsters, a nutshot is still going to at least wind the male ones. There's a limit to what death can take away; ball-sensitivity might still be in play.
Have an idea for an article? Think you're funny? Just go here and sign up. No experience necessary.
And check out Swaim's break down of who you'll meet during the zombie apocalypse, in Familiar Faces: A Who's Who of the Zombie Apocalypse. Or read up on some movies that would've been better with zombies in them, in How Iconic Movie Characters Would Deal with a Zombie Attack. Or check out our classic: 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen
And stop by our Top Picks to see some friggin' zombies.
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter to get previews of upcoming articles and trick your friends into thinking you're psychic.