Zombies are everywhere these days. The brain eating undead are shambling through pop culture in movies, comics, TV, and even in a Sears ad campaign. The gun culture is especially susceptible to this infection: You can’t swing a dismembered arm on a gun forum without hitting a “What gun for zombies” thread or a discussion on a new zombie related shooting product.
In honor of Halloween this week is “Zombie week” at the Michigan Firearms Examiner. All week I’ll take a look at the intersection of zombie culture and the gun culture.
I’ll start with the central question: “Why zombies?” What is it about fighting animated corpses that resonates so much with the public in general and the gun culture in particular?
I asked the experts at the firearms forum of Zombie Squad for their views on why zombies have caught the imagination of shooters throughout Michigan and the U.S.
“To me Zombies are a symbol of evil, nonredeemable and debased. It is the “bad guy” personified. Something we can strike at and fight against, figuratively speaking. The hypothetical bogeyman that we can all understand.” – Gun_nut_2k1 on ZS.
“Why zombies? Why not? They’re already “dead,” so no ethics involved. They’re usually slow, shambling monsters, which most of us imagine we could defeat a horde of with a baseball bat. Add in the stupidity and the whole “head is dead” thing, and we can all imagine ourselves to be excellent marksmen. They’re simply the perfect metaphor for whatever kind of disaster lets us think of ourselves as potential heroes. It’s fun to think about, and the results come in handy when the power goes out.” – Joe! on ZS.
“Every human, to some degree, fears death. Zombies are the personification of death. A death that is relentless, will follow you forever, always be lurking behind a corner, ever trying to bring death onto you. A modern-day grim reaper. But a grim reaper that can be “killed” or at the very least pushed back for a while. Zombies allow us to kill death and extend our lives, even for only a short time, and even if only in fantasies.” – m ellis allen on ZS
Their responses mesh with my own thinking: For shooters, the zombie apocalypse is a “no guilt” scenario. Zombies aren’t people: They are monsters who want to eat your brains. So, it is socially acceptable to daydream about killing zombies, unlike say, the 1980’s favorite daydream of fighting Russian invaders, ala “Red Dawn”, or the tin foil hat brigade fantasy of shooting blue-helmeted occupying UN troops. In comparision, zombies are a “safe” and socially acceptable fantasy.
(Read a similar discussion in the thread “Why all the zombies?” at The High Road forum and check out the Zombie subforum at AR15.com).
The firearms industry has responded to the zombie meme by bringing a variety of zombie themed products to market. Read my article “A round up of zombie themed shooting products” for more info.
In the meantime, for more info on the zombie menace, read Jess d’Arbonne’s Denver Zombie Examiner column.
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