A state of mind 2: who needs the government anyway?

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The Night of the Living Dead has a kind of dark humor for at the end the hero of the movie gets shot by these vigilantes because they think he is a zombie. In the end titling you see vague pictures in the background that show what they do with the bodies. It is a kind of reminiscent of nazi practices as you see the people using meat-hooks to drag the bodies to stack them high to burn them. The corpse of the hero is among them.

In the previous installment of a state of mind we ended we the guys we see above. We see them hunting down the zombies in the Night of the Living Dead. So how about the government? What are they doing?

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Almost any interpretation of the zombie apocalypse has to deal with this. How do you explain away..
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these guys(and girls for that matter)
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or these..
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or this?

Of course anyone who tells a story of a nation like the United State being overrun by undead has to somehow explain how these undead can gain the upper-hand in face of the violence that the United States can bring to bear. Even considering that a substantial part of the men and women of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies are turned into undead themselves.

But an explanation is actually seldom given simply because when one starts to explain, one has then to fight fire with fire, because once one starts to reason one will find that most of what is happening in zombie tales is quite unreasonable. The best solution to this problem is thus to say nothing about it at all and merely mention that the government was unable to deal with the crisis.

And thus one gets pictures like these:

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An abandoned tank in the street. The mighty power of the army culled. A block of useless steel. There is a corpse of a soldier on the tank to underscore it even more.. it will be shown in close up with birds picking at it.. Just in cast you do not get it.
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and there is one inside… but this soldier is not quite dead though.
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Rick is actually a police officer himself.. and when he enters the city a burned out police car and a downed helicopter symbolize the inability of the government to maintain control of the situation. The movie makers love to scatter helicopters about.
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Another picture to show that the government was unable to deal with the crisis. It is curious that the building seems to be blackened as if it has been shot at. One wonders who would have the temerity to shoot at the United States army in the United States? Did you notice the helicopters?
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The law in State of Decay is represented by these guys. Sheriff Carl and judge Lawson. The sheriff seems a bit out of his depth, but then.. it is the zombie apocalypse!
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The courthouse  in Marshall is where the last remains of the local government is holding out. Which is about the only representation of the law enforcement agencies in the game. Incidentally it gets attacked during the game by zombies and the two leading figures, sheriff Carl and judge Lawson, die during the attack. The powerlessness is illustrated by the fact that the two guard towers never seem to be manned throughout the game and you can get attacked even right in front of entrance of the building and nobody comes to your aid even though there are two heavily armored guards  inside the building right behind the entrance.
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The US army is in most movies and stories often just ineffective..but in State of Decay its role is even nefarious.  In addition to throwing refugees out on the street without offering protection, the game almost suggest that the US army was actually the cause of much of the nastiness in Trumbull Valley.
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While it is not exactly told, it is laid on thick that the army was actually aware and probably let this happen. I can not recall the US army being depicted this black(but see below: the stand). A new trend maybe?
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Erik Tan, disillusioned soldier, tells us that the US army blocked off the pass leading out of the valley. Not only are we told about this, we are also told that they left many of their men behind unattended and uncared for. Something which is quite strange for an army that got drawn into a extended battle in Mogadishu because it did not want to leave behind men who were in a helicopter that got downed. In fact there seems to be a point with the US army to not leave (their) people behind. Might just be politics though.. as nay-sayers would say.
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In zafehouse diaries, a text based zombie apocalypse game, the military makes one appearance and is defined as a threat. “New dilemma — Outpost. Players of No Survivors have a new threat to watch out for. A group of ex-military troops may set themselves up inside a location in town, along with a nice cache of weapons and equipment. “
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In the stand the military is responsible for the extermination of humanity by failing to contain a tweaked version of the flu. During the story the army gets to be a symbol of oppression as it goes to extremes to contain the disease and citizen unrest. Eventually the government disappears because they are no longer needed for the story and we are left to watch a rag-tag band of religious fanatics fighting it out with another band of religious fanatics. One is ‘good’ and the other is ‘bad’. The good guys are the ones we see the most, oh and they have the pretty women. Just so you know. Personally I like the bad guy better when he was this black bird.
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In the crazies it is actually cops versus army as a plane-crash turns everyone in a village into crazies, except for the handful of survivors of course. The army tries to contain and remove any evidence of the disaster by any means, including using Apache Longbow choppers. This one fails to spot the police car in full daylight.

Basically the governments  sucks. If they do not cause the disaster, their might is usually ineffective against it  and often more directed against the rest of the population and survivors in particular. Cops seem to be a bit in between, but regardless of their attitude, they are simply ineffective as a force. Instead they become often survivors, if they do not turn into zombies. This climate, this state of mind pervades almost all movies, books and games. It even contaminates political thinking.  But if you think companies are any better….

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The mighty Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil can not control the outbreak of the T virus despite using soldiers, poison gas en a nuclear bomb. Well, the bomb is actually dropped by the government in the game, but in the movie it is the corporation itself that deploys the weapon.

But do not fear! We are about to reveal a secret.

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Irony is that the biggest adversary of the zombies and other rotting undead is never mentioned. It is mother nature.. and in particular this little critter. Producing itself in the millions it will have a field day with all the rotting flesh around.
In a warm sunny climate a rotting body will be gone in a month. The best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is just to sit it out and have the flies do their work. provided the zombies stick to the rules! Of course they don’t.

A state of mind 1: show time

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Zombie stories have been crawling out of the woodwork with impunity this last decade or so(yeah, I know cheap line). The appearance of the Walking Dead series shows that the zombie apocalypse has even intruded into the mainstream mindset. I do not know what makes zombies so popular nowadays and your guess is a good as mine, but perhaps it is all about the economy. It usually is..No doubt someone in the future will be far more able to define the reasons why.

There are many interesting sides to this type of end to civilization as we know it.  When our neighbors turning into unreasonable flesh eating creatures we can simple shoot  them down without any remorse.  Shoot them down? My, we can bash their heads in, burn them at the stake, impale them and do anything else we can think of. Things that in any other context would pass as crimes against humanity, but then zombies are not humans.. well not any more. Which is great because you can do all kinds of things you always wanted to do to that pesky annoying neighbor: Homo homini lupus est.. But this post will be not about wolves.

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The shuffling dead. They are very easy to recognize. And when they are like this we can show no remorse. These came crawling out of the burned coach on the left. Did they decide to return to their seats after it burned out? Odd.
Anyway.. what would the guys have done before they became undead? Does not look like they were from the same background. Undeadness is the great equalizer.. every zombie is the same..
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Rick in an episode of the Walking Dead sees a former colleague shuffling towards him. Lucky he used to be some kind of asshole… so…
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have a nice day, buster.
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And in Stake Land the protagonist Martin discovers this sleeping beauty in a house devoid of life because everyone inside is either dead or…
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…undead.
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Sleeping beauty does not turn int a rabid dog like creature unlike many others of her kind.. instead she approaches the hero as a curious innocent child. She is not evil yet.
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A touching moment almost when she reaches out for Martin but actually her hand goes to the dagger that he is clutching. As if..
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she senses what is about to happen?
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Once you are undead there is no mercy for you. Rick in the Walking Dead has to shoot this child zombie dressed in pajamas and a robe. Now go to sleep, already! See the cuddly bear fly away. Interestingly.. when played backward slowly one sees that the splash of blood is already on the ground. So.., no they did not shoot her in the head really. It is just a movie..
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In Stake Land the destruction of the undead is almost a casual affair. When the protagonists enter this rest stop along the road they pass a group of men who are busy tying a female vampire to this contraption. She is burned, almost like a witch was in days gone by.
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The next day, when the two heroes drive away they pass in front of the rest stop and we see this girl who sang in the bar the night previously. She is young, pretty and pregnant (as we later discover)… in the background to the left is the burned corpse of female vampire  An obvious glaring contrast..And behind the scared remains what appears to be the United Sates flag, much more visible in the daylight.
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Car meets undead. In Stake Land the vampires resemble zombies. In almost all movies, games and books cars are a humans best friend against the undead. If they get them to work that is. In Stake Land zombies do not seem to die as easily by being driven over as in other tales. This walking dead just scrambled to her feet after being run over by the heroes. They are giving it another try.If you do not succeed the first time.. try and try again.
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Fire works great to get rid of pesky undead regardless of how strong they are. It is also a bit dangerous for actors who play them. So you won’t see many Molotov cocktails being used in movies.
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I would say.. missed.. but those actors would have thought.. drat, that was close. Molotov cocktails are great crowd control weapons. Burn baby, burn.
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Tools of all kinds are used against the kind of undead that feature in those early zombie movies. They work well against the kind that are slow and alone. The faster ones that come in groups are much better dealt with with firearms.. or flamethrowers.. or by just hiding and pray that they have forgotten about you.
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The Night of the Living Dead has a kind of dark humor for at the end the hero of the movie gets shot by these vigilantes because they think he is a zombie. In the end titling you see vague pictures in the background that show what they do with the bodies. It is a kind of reminiscent of nazi practices as you see the people using meat-hooks to drag the bodies to stack them high to burn them. The corpse of the hero is among them.

Being undead means you are the great enemy. These stories allow us to clearly define who is the enemy and kill it with any means available. We do not have to feel remorse to kill something that is already dead and is hunting us and the job is a simple straight forward task. Kill, kill,  kill. No more complex society.. just you, it and a weapon. Perhaps that is what we miss. And that is it for part one and in part two we will talk a bit more about the guys you see in the last picture in the next post about A state of mind..

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Zombie movies often contain only a few touching moments like this one. In the first resident evil movie Alice goes through some strong emotional moments when she thinks Rain is about to die and turn zombie. It is curious as in the whole movie there are actually no moments of bonding between them. Later in the movie when Rain does turn zombie and Alice has to shoot her, Alice breaks down and cries. Yet this behavior might actually be very plausible for people who are under a lot of stress.