Zombies, Rodney King, and Muscle Decay

A few days after Rodney king drowned to death, I was talking about his case with a friend of mine who is a former NYPD officer. While I am quick to defend the police when they are using justifiable force, as I believed they were at first, I made the argument that the beating quickly escalated into something that could not possibly be defended.

“Sure, the guy was resisting arrest and the cops had to do something, but after a while they should have just cuffed or tased him. At some point, it just turned into a bunch of guys beating up someone who couldn’t defend himself.”

For the umpteenth time in my life, I had spoken with complete assurance on something that I was clearly not knowledgeable about. The tone in my friend’s voice as he answered suggested that he had heard this argument before from people who had never walked a mile in the shoes of a police officer.

“You don’t understand,” he’d told me. “When these guys are all whacked out on PCP, there’s nothing you can do to restrain them. I’ve seen it a bunch of times. When they’re on that shit, they can fight off a dozen cops. You can taser them all you want, you can even shoot them, and they just keep coming.”

“PCP might make them strong, but it doesn’t make someone a good swimmer,” I said, and we both had a good laugh. On a quick side note, Rodney king was on a radio show down here in Florida, the Bubba the Love Sponge Show, and they asked him if he would take the beating again for another 3.8 million dollars, which is how much he was awarded by a jury after the first beating. His answer was an emphatic yes, providing he’d know that he would survive.

What does this have to do with zombies? The fact is, I’ve never had to fight off a zombie, just like I’ve never had to restrain someone who was on PCP. I can only speculate as to what it’s like. There’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat in zombie movies, books, and television shows. I’m the first person to say that we shouldn’t over analyze these things and look for reality in fiction.  However, I do think it’s dangerous if, when the zombies come, people think they can go out and fight them by hand. Remember, the zombie will be more like an animal that looks like a person. It will be acting on rage, adrenaline, and instinct. It won’t be like fighting a man with similar physical attributes, but more like fighting that same man when he is under the influence of PCP. You can lift all the weights you want and train in some martial art day and night, and the only thing that will likely happen when you take on a zombie without a weapon is you will wind up dead. You know that one scene in every zombie flick where a person is holding back a zombie that is inches from their face trying to bite them? Yeah, that won’t work. That person would have their face eaten off like that homeless guy in Miami.

How long will the zombies be this dangerous? It’s hard to say how much of the body of a zombie will function. If we have zombies like we see in most movies, the undead won’t be a problem for very long because their muscles will be pretty useless. When we die, we start to decay from the inside. All those zombies we see with their flesh literally rotting off wouldn’t really be able to walk across a room to kill a person. If their flesh is that decayed, their muscles would be completely gone.

graphTo illustrate my point, here’s a graph that I found on the internet. I don’t really know what it means, but it looks very impressive and sciencey.

So, by my estimation, zombies will actually be much more dangerous than how they are portrayed in movies, but only for a very short period of time. Again, we don’t really know how a zombie’s system will work and all of this is speculation. Maybe more of the brain is reanimated than just the brainstem and they’ll be slightly more human than we’d expected. Maybe their hearts will still pump the oxygen-rich blood that the human body needs to stave off decay. We won’t know until they get here. When they do, please don’t attempt to fight them by hand. More than likely, this will be a mistake that will cost you your life. Also, please don’t give the zombies PCP, because a zombie on PCP would be really fucking scary.


Written by Ian