I am thoroughly surprised and also extremely excited that no writer has yet decided to take on the bold task of writing for the “YES” side of this intriguing debate topic. And I am sure that by the end of this addition, I will have made some of my zombie mania friends very proud, and some of my empirically passionate friends very upset. Still, regardless of what consequences may lie ahead, I intend on putting up a good fight in this debate about the hypothetical possibility of a zombie apocalypse.
Now, while I know there are those that would disagree, I wholeheartedly feel that it is possible that a zombie apocalypse could happen. For one, I’m an existentialist, so I believe that anything can happen, and for two, have you been following all the recent stories coming out about the various biological weapons and cannibalism causing drugs in the world today?
When you add into the fray, the number of nuclear and radioactive accidents that happen every day around the world, there are just way to many possibilities we can never account for or prepare for. We’ve been lucky up to this point, that most of the world has decent sanitation and bio-cleanup habits, antidotes and poisons stronger than any virus or bacteria we’ve come across so far. Though luck doesn’t mean skill, and even with all our luck, we still have a pretty decent track record of losing to certain viruses, cancers and bacterias.
Regardless of the technologies we feel safe hiding behind, we are still fallible and still vulnerable. And while it’s easy to overlook viruses and bacteria as tiny little things that cannot compare to the awesome power of human technology, those little bugs and bacteria have the ability to evolve as fast and sometimes even faster than we do. They are adaptable, persistent and extremely creative. For every antidote, vaccine or special habit we come up with, two more viruses or bacterial pests managed to crop up.
As I said above, anything is possible. It could be that some mad scientist from a small and overlooked country that 90% of the world has never heard of, will manage to get their hands on some superbug creating technology. Being that their mad enough to mess with that stuff in the first place, it’s probably going to be safe to say they wouldn’t be shy about testing that technology or setting off a few practice rounds. Any scientist can tell you that it’s super easy for an experiment with contagions can easily get out of hand, even in what is supposed to be a controlled environment.
And even if said nutcase managed to make it past practice rounds and testing, that would mean they would be ready for launch. At that point, the only question remaining is what type of viral agent this mad scientist got a hold of. It could be that it was only meant to be a mild influenza virus intended to prove some sort of eccentric point about the power of tiny little countries that don’t even get enough attention to be sanctioned from playing with said biological agents.
It would be all to easy for something to have gone wrong in the process of developing any sort of bio-weapon, as I’m told the process is a lot like trying to tame a wolverine. You have no real way of guaranteeing what you’ve created until the monster has been unleashed to behave as it will. Following that hypothetical scenario, it is possible that something could happen to the virus that causes it to react badly with people. Or it could be that it effects animals in some weird way and once it develops the ability to invade the human body, it reacts even worse with people. Since we all know what the stereotypical zombie looks like and acts like, I’m sure I don’t need to go through the list of signs and symptoms that you’re turning into a zombie.
Another potential scenario, is that of mistakes made during larger scale warfare; the kind we are seeing now as the mightiest of countries throw the big books at the rest of the world. Just last month (Dec 2012), there have been reports of sick Iraqi infants who have been infected by biological agents the US used as a method of attack. Even parts of the EU are up in arms about the rising biological warfare experiments popping up everywhere. It is the World Organization for Animal Health that is fighting the good fight across the ocean, as most viral experiments are begun with animal pathogens, and it appears that those experiments tend to get released much more often. When that happens, not only do people get sick (or worse), but many farmers and food providers loose livestock, which also has effects on the economy.
Even so-called safety-focused scientists cannot keep themselves out of the realm of possibly kick-starting a zombie apocalypse. On Dec 19th, NPR reported that the National Institute of Health has been experimenting with the a risky strain of influenza known as the “bird flu” or “H5N1”. The story talked about how they don’t just want to study the original strain, which mystified them when it jumped from birds to people; they also want permission to be able to breed newer and more deadly strains of the bird flu.
Their pseudo-logic for this research request, is so that they can understand the nature of this strain better. I personally believe there are one too many nutty-professors over there at the moment, and it doesn’t look like I’m alone, as US government has stepped in to question the motives of these researchers, and the potential outcomes of such research; their biggest concern being the potential of an outbreak and ensuing pandemic. Ironically, their concerns would not be concerns, if it weren’t for the last experiment gone wrong – the H1N1 outbreak and following challenges with vaccine side-effects.
There are just too many possibilities and too much evidence of viral-unpredictability. Add in the element of human meddling, and you have infinite opportunities for a zombie apocalypse at any point in time. And since this hypothetical bug must have such a wide reach that it dessimates most of the worlds population, the final question will be: Does effect everyone or is anyone naturally immune?
Obviously the latter answer would be filled with more hope for avoiding a possible extinction event. =)