may be showing my early geek side, but there is an “old dwarvish”
saying that says “Look to the Left of your Tools”. What
this means is that each of your tools serves a primary function but
you should never ignore their secondary uses. The forge hammer becomes
the war hammer, the woodsman’s axe becomes the warrior’s
blade and even the simple walking staff can become a stout defensive
weapon. Many nations of the world have plans in place for natural disasters,
especially those nations geographically predisposed to exposure to them.
However, time and again when these nations experience a necro-mortosis
outbreak their populations crumble, basic services fail and their people
are left to face the walking dead with little to no aid from their government.
Earthquake, tsunami, tidal wave, large-scale necro-mortosis outbreak,
hurricane; what do all of these things have in common? Each can devastate
a wide swath of territory in a shockingly small amount of time. Each
impacts not only people but property and structures and never for the
better. Each is incredibly expensive to clean up after. Each can cause
widespread fear and panic responses from simple price-gouging all the
way up to riots and looting. Each can not only destroy the lives caught
in their path but change the lives of thousands of others by association.
That’s the bad news.
So what’s the good news, you ask? Each of these disasters can
be prepared for to minimize their impact. Experience and technology
has allowed us to develop plans and strategies to aid us in both preparation
and the aftermath. And, each can be survived, provided the proper pre-planning
is coupled with intelligence, common sense and a strong and proven aftermath
response. A necro-mortosis outbreak shares many of the common traits
of a natural disaster when viewed in terms of preparation, crisis management
and clean-up. Unfortunately, the average person tends not to see the
similarities when Uncle Edward is rising from the dead or they see a
dozen figures shambling from the dark, moaning and reaching for their
flesh. Everyone who lives in areas prone to them fears hurricanes, but
it’s an abstract fear. The wind doesn’t have a face. The
rain wasn’t at your last birthday party and the lightning isn’t
your child’s godparent. A necro-mortosis outbreak breeds a special
kind of fear. This particular disaster is an intimate one and a wide-spread
one at the same time.
I have talked before about our need as not only a nation but as an entire
race to quell or fear of necro-mortosis by logic, reason, education
and planning. Once you get past the human factor, a necro-mortosis outbreak
is no different than any other natural disaster. Plans for any such
disaster are almost always a safe bet if applied to a necro-mortosis
outbreak properly. To illustrate my point, let’s look at last
year’s Miami outbreak
as opposed to, say, Haiti
and its struggles.
Haiti has been the scene of rolling outbreaks for the better part of
two years now. Being a relatively poor island nation, their disaster
planning, management and clean-up can be considered poor in any disaster.
The human element of necro-mortosis disasters was and still is the largest
obstacle for them to overcome. Many Haitians still refuse to see the
undead as the by-product of a plague even after the plague has caused
so much devastation to their homeland. They don’t see a reanimate,
they still see Uncle Edward. Add that to inadequate transportation networks,
ill-conceived or even non-existent evacuation plans, a decided lack
of leadership and vital supplies and a host of other common Third World
issues and you have a recipe for a prolonged negative outcome from a
Now, compare the Haitian situation with the Miami outbreak. Yes, we
still encountered the human condition in Miami, with residents worried
not only for their reanimated loved ones but in many cases worried over
their legal immigration status. There are more than a few folks in Miami
that don’t want to be found by the authorities in the best of
times, and here they were, trapped in a marshal law situation with soldiers,
police and emergency services workers coming into their homes to pull
them away for evacuation. Now, add to that the general population of
Dade County and the surrounding areas. The only reason Miami fared as
well as it did was because local, state and federal authorities and
agencies were able to fall back on time-tested disaster management strategies
and procedures. Evacuation routes from the city were already in place.
Emergency services workers mobilized and were organized quickly. Law
enforcement agencies were prepared with the proper equipment, training
and planning to stem looting, rioting and assist in the original eradication
sweeps. State and federal authorities were quick to dispatch the National
Guard and the CDC en masse to aid in all areas of the disaster management
process. Communications networks and even the power stayed on almost
the entire time, allowing for a much smoother overall management and
This brings us to the recent outbreak in Russia. Russia is still one
of the largest nations in the world. But, like China, much of its wealth
and power is derived from a few key, heavily populated industrial areas.
The rest of the nation is typically quite rural and poorly developed.
If there had been just one good, solid road to be had anywhere near
Biysk, the evacuation
and containment of the outbreak would have been far easier, quicker
and would have taken a much smaller toll on human lives. Additionally,
poor census records and the utter confusion of the situation means that
there is a very real possibility that there are reanimates that have
yet to be discovered or could be roaming the rough lands surrounding
the town, further risking a secondary infection or even spreading the
contagion into other areas of the country. Had there been even minimal
disaster planning in the area, much of this could have been alleviated
before Reanimate Zero ever appeared. The situation in Biysk could have
been a flash flood, a wild fire or even an outbreak of a more common
disease. Aside from the obvious yet relatively minor differences associated
with the undead the people of the region would have faired no differently.
There still would have been no road, there still would have been no
plans for emergency shelter, food, water and medical care. If the area
was unprepared for these “normal” disasters, who is really
surprised that a necro-mortosis outbreak left them completely paralyzed?
Every natural disaster has its unique needs, but at their base they
share enough common factors that they can be planned for. Every nation
in the world needs to analyze how the Miami outbreak was handled. It
is for the most part a textbook example of how already-conceived disaster
management plans can be applied to a necro-mortosis outbreak. The plague
is a relatively new natural disaster with a human element that while
can’t be denied absolutely must be controlled. Much of the world
already has the tools to deal with disasters. Now, it needs to look
to the left of those tools to see how those plans would be of use in
an outbreak situation.
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Arthur Helms is a syndicated columnist who has dealt with a host of
social and political issues. His previous syndicated column, “Logic,
Please?” offered commentary on a host of world-view issues as
seen through the cold yet bright light of plain logic, demonstrated
fact and simple common sense.
the academic and political elite often dismissed his commentary as “too
simplistic” for our complicated times, his books of collected
columns and hundreds of national speaking engagements each year attest
to his connection to a readership yearning for simple answers to complex
issues. Helms recently ended his syndicated column to sign on exclusively
with Zombie World News, providing a fresh, logical,
plain-English view of the plague and to bring some common sense to what
many perceive to be a senseless situation.
opinion about this article? Respond to:
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