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Sometimes I peruse Amazon.com for melee weapons. I think about the trusty blades I'd want to have by my side in the zombie apocalypse. I don't tend to dwell in those fantasy hellscapes where my antagonists are living humans. They would likely have guns, and my kickass pair of kukri knives wouldn't do me a whole lot of good. In the actual post-collapse environment, assuming you want to survive as something other than some warlord's slave, weapons may be a consideration, but the team you're on will be a more important factor.

But if The Walking Dead is to be believed, that will be true after the zombie apocalypse as well. If the zombies are going to get you, it's likely to happen early. If you survive the first few months and create a secure living space for yourself with access to food and clean water and get to know the ways of the undead, your biggest concern is avoiding the armed gangs who will make poor house guests should they discover your little stronghold.
I used to love that show, and the comic book that it is based on, but now I watch it grudgingly, mostly because I'm the co-host of a podcast about zombie media. I still resonate with the zombie apocalypse imagery, but the human brutality on the show seems really over the top. The premise of all human interactions in that universe seems to be that peaceful, cooperative, techno-industrial society is sprinkled with would-be Ghengis Khan's who are just champing at the bit to lead bands of psychopaths on a never-ending joyride of rape, murder, torture and enslavement across the post-apocalyptic landscape. All they need is a breakdown in civil authority, and they're ready to rip.

I just don't think that's the case. And seeing Robert Kirkman and crew present that scenario over and over again is really wearing on my willing suspension of disbelief. But I have concocted a fan theory to account for this. The zombie virus has infected everyone. That's cannon lore on the show. No matter how you die, so long as you don't suffer severe trauma to your brain, you will re-animate and seek the flesh of the living.

Here's my theory which makes the show easier to swallow: the same virus that has infected everyone and causes people to become cannibalistic revenants also activates latent psychopath genes which are quite common though rarely expressed in behavior.

So, that takes care of The Walking Dead. That rationalization should keep me going at least through the second half of season 7. But what about the real apocalypse that may or may not arrive sometime in the foreseeable future?

I live in Vermont where lots of people own guns. I could get one, find people to train with, and maybe get halfway decent in their use and maintenance. But, again, weapons may come in handy from time to time, but in tough times what really matters is the team you're on. My plan... and I call it a plan, but really it's just a fanciful justification for doing what I'm already doing, is to make my face and voice known quantities in my village. I shoot video at municipal meetings. I do a weekly radio show. I hang out at the local community access TV station. I am insinuating myself into the social fabric of this town so that in a crisis situation where your fate depends on whether you are part of the in-group or the out-group, I'll be in the in-group.

And I'm taking out extra insurance by driving an old, beat-up truck and not making any vulgar displays of wealth (not that I have the means to do so). I don't want to be the focus of anyone's envy or resentment or set myself as an attractive target for the local psychopaths who are quietly biding their time, waiting for their day to come.
666 words

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