Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Walking Dead Should Crawl Back in the Grave

So if you haven't watched or read the Walking Dead and you'd like to be surprised by an old series now is the time to go someplace else. 



I read the Walking Dead comic collections a couple of years ago during lunch at a local Books-a-Million and got through volume 8 or 9. The series, at that time, was well written and beautifully illustrated but made not one damned bit of sense for anyone who is acquainted with the Southeastern United States. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here as some people might not know why that is. The comic follows Rick Grimes and his hapless group of survivors through the zombie apocalypse. The story actually starts in Kentucky where Grimes is a policeman who gets shot and wakes up in the hospital after the world has gone to hell. He manages to make his way out of the hospital and is soon found by another pair of survivors who take him in and catch him up. He then makes a break for Atlanta on horseback after having raided the sheriff's station for weapons and his uniform.

So far, so good.

Here's where things start to go off the rails and where, as a Southerner, I have to wonder what world Robert Kirkman lives in. Rick's travel down to Atlanta is filled with zombies and empty cars without guns in their back windows or crazy rednecks shooting everything that moves from their porches while country music echoes down the valley. And while I'm sure you can scream, "It's the zombie apocalypse they're all dead!" That's where you're wrong. Having grown up where feuds are still a reality I'm telling you that if the opportunity to shoot your neighbor in his stupid face without consequences comes along the South has a gun for that. 

This an area of the country where guns outnumber people and most everywhere you go you'll find someone either packing or having their rifle hanging in the back of their truck cab. In church? Yep. In restaurants? Yep. In banks? You bet. On a date? Odds are they're both packing.

"Oh, but that's just the rural South," I hear some of you say as you shake your heads. Well where do you think Rick Grimes is riding his horse through? No matter which highway or interstate he comes along to get to Atlanta he'll be riding through the rural South. An area of the country where hunting your own meal or brewing illegal liquor isn't a forgotten pastime. He should be passing survivors everywhere he turns as people refuse to leave their homes and instead started loading more shells so they shoot the hell out of the next shambling zombie to step on their property. But not so in Kirkman's South. There apparently everyone forgets their distrust of the government and blindly goes wherever they're told - because that's totally what would happen.


Oh, but let's say that it actually did happen and everyone loaded up in their cars and headed to the quarantine zones. Rick rides along on his horse passing countless cars with dead corn gobblers sitting behind the driving wheel and groaning fly catchers shuffling along after him. During all that traveling he doesn't see anyone with fully automatic rifles that they've made with kits at gun shows that you can buy most any day of the week. And he doesn't see guns in the back of pickup trucks or the thousands of handguns strapped to peoples' sides and hips. He doesn't see any militiamen decked out in cameo smoking weed and talking about how it was all a government plot by Obama to take their guns. Nope, friends, he doesn't see any of that.

You know what he does see? A zombie kid.

Then we get to Atlanta where all the survivors who are left haven't been able to get any real weapons on hand. No bow hunters, riflemen, range shooters, gang members, squirrel hunters, pellet shooters, or hunters of any sort in Georgia. Not a single one from Tennessee or Kentucky made it that far with their weapons either. 'Cause that makes a lot of fucking sense



You know what, fuck it. It's a good read even if it makes as much sense as a two year old high on mountain dew and straight sugar.

17 comments:

  1. I have never read an issue of the comic, nor watched an episode of the show. I freaking hate this 'zombie craze" we are going through.

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    1. The comic is actually really good. It's more about the dynamics of trying to survive after a disaster than about the zombies. That said, yeah, zombies are getting pretty played out.

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  2. I think Kirkman is from Kentucky so he should know this. Perhaps it's deliberate.

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    1. Oh, it's definitely deliberate for the story - but it just completely takes me out of things.

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  3. I haven't read the comic or watched the show ... maybe that is why I'm not burned out on zombies but I do understand what you are saying about the southern United States. I haven't hunted since I was 16 or so and I still have two shotguns in the house. I also hate going on planes because I feel naked without at least a pocket knife on my person. Every time my dad goes out of town, he drops off his box of "important papers" and his guns. The Arsenal, as I call it, is two 12 gauges, a .38 revolver and a .22 rifle. The first time he dropped them off at the house, he said, "the rifle has two 30 round mags ... just in case." I laughed & asked him "In case of what? Killer mutants?" The zombie apocalypse refugees in Atlanta would be armed to the teeth between the rednecks, average citizens and criminals that had made it there. In terms of the South, and really the United States as a whole, the question wouldn't be whether we have sufficient firepower to deal with a zombie apocalypse but rather whether we can overcome our own self interest and put aside our differences to deal with a common threat.

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    1. "the question wouldn't be whether we have sufficient firepower to deal with a zombie apocalypse but rather whether we can overcome our own self interest and put aside our differences to deal with a common threat."

      Absolutely - and that's part of the story of the Walking Dead. By the way, have you read World War Z yet? It's brilliant and focuses more on those sort of issues in how it deals with the zombie thing.

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  4. I might have to check that out. I've gotten lax with my reading over the years. An old Ace Fantasy Books collection of Howard's Conan stories was the last book that I read recently. Technically, it was a re-read but the last time I had read it was when I was in 5th or 6th grade so it was due for a read through with older eyes.

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    1. Oh, the Ace Fantasy collections of Howard's Conan are just fantastic. Love everything about them. Have you tried his Lost Valley of Iskander or the Son of the White Wolf? I think those may be my favorite books he ever wrote.

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  5. all zombie tales rrequire people to forget this basic factoid: people are really accomplished at killing other people.
    How could we possibly deal with an opponet with no ranged weapons, very limited communication ability, and no ability to plan?

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  6. Charles,

    Respectfully I have to disagree with a few of your premises.

    1. Being from the south myself, I've yet to witness cars with gun racks in every window, loaded down ready for bear. In fact, it's pretty rare to see guns in a window ever. Yeah empty gun racks, but most semi-intelligent gun owners don't advertise.

    2. As a shooting competitor, rifle and archery hunter, and proficient re-loader of my own ammunition I've been to more than a few gun shows. I've NEVER come across ANYONE selling any items that would ILLEGALLY alter your firearm to fire in full automatic mode. EVER. That's a federal crime. People I come in contact with just aren't that dumb. Maybe they breed a special kind of stupid where you are, I can't comment on that though.

    3. Currently the episodes are 530+ days post outbreak (thank you Wikipedia), I'd hazard a guess that there isn't more guns for several reasons.... A. Ammo is scarce as there are no longer any manufacturing plants producing it. B. Guns are loud, they draw attention, specifically zombie attention. C. Guns take maintenance, without cleaning they fail, I've yet to see anyone actually do a thorough cleaning, and nobody is using gun lube.

    Yes I've found myself yelling at the TV during walking dead episodes and even face-palming myself. But it's a hell of a lot better than much of the other trash on TV....

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    1. I didn't realize you were from the south too! Where abouts?

      1. My experiences in rural TN, KY, GA are very different then as that's where I've seen such things as common place. Though now that you mention it, that has gotten progressively less common than when I was younger. I blame Columbine for the change.

      2. A good point.

      3. Could very well be.

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    2. Currently Arizona, was in TX for many years.

      Not the traditional south, but more of wild west south. Still retains many of the traits of the romanticized west of tales. Ranches are very common place, people still travel by horseback in the country, and people still say please and thank you, ma'am and sir. It is hot as fuck though...

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    3. "Ranches are very common place, people still travel by horseback in the country, and people still say please and thank you, ma'am and sir. It is hot as fuck though..."

      Change ranches to farms and you have a lot of the south, east of the Mississippi!

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    4. LOL fair enough brother.... something about the mountain west that I just can't give up. Lived in Wyoming for a bit as well, definitely a place I'll think about moving to when I'm longer in the tooth. A lot can be said for a slower paced lifestyle. That and the hunting/fishing is second to none.

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    5. I can certainly understand your love of the mountains!

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