Zombie Apocalypse Survival

Wednesday, 8. December 2010

(Flickr / Darkpatator)

Faust was kind enough to include me as to a zombie survival topic, he’s got some sound logic as to his arguments however despite anything his group of survivors pull off; my initial jist of course is that given the situation, most Americans are outright screwed for a variety of reasons. My primary thinking of this is a couple reasons. 1) a gross lack of primitive skills 2) Generally poor physical conditioning and 3) little to no preparedness. Getting food is one of them (and a -very- important one at that.) but the problem goes far deeper than that really.

The system here in the states functions particularly efficiently because it’s become hyper specialized. Assuming you’re employed, most likely you are doing some rather specific sets of tasks, research or whatnot. That in turn generates income and if you’re like most other people you take that income and turn it around to buy food, gadgets and other things you need to survive or generally want. Such systems work rather well until you have systemic disruptions. What happens when the net goes down, the power goes out or the water stops working? Mostly.. we’re screwed essentially until it gets fixed. There is little redundancy for operating outside of the finely tuned system.

Skills play a major part here. 80 years ago, this was mostly an agrarian society. Now, it’s less than 3% of the people specifically producing food. Likewise, similar destruction of skills have occurred such as in mechanics, construction, general medicine and mostly “basic” skills that would’ve been possessed a generation or 2 ago.  People still have these skills in limited or specialized capacity but the widespread usage of them no longer exists.

Faust is correct in assuming that adaptability is one of the most important traits out there in surviving anything. However, those core skills I talked about take time to hone and sharpen to do them quickly and efficiency. For instance, anyone can grow food to some degree of success. Some are a lot better at it than others. However, in order to successfully produce enough food to live on takes a lot of time and practice and even then it’s still incredibly difficult. Likewise, I don’t doubt that anyone can do something basic such as welding or repairing a car. Can you do it quickly enough and precisely enough in a time specific situation to be of use however? Those zombies might be slow, but they won’t wait forever.

Likewise, we’ve been so successful that a good portion of people are pretty sedentary. It’s hard to get in shape as it is, is it something you want to pull off while trying to escape guys that want your brains? I’m in decent condition from martial arts, but I’m not in what I’d call in good enough condition to really make it easy if the going gets tough, zombies or otherwise. Most people fall into an even lower category I’d suspect. Remember though, you only have to be faster than the guy next to you!

Preparedness is another issue entirely as well. Remember the systemic disruption thing I was talking about above? Wouldn’t it be great not to have to scramble about trying to procure food, water, gas and other supplies you need to live? You mean you have no backup power, limited backup lighting, nothing for water aside from what the city can do and a thin storage of food? If you’re not setup to where you can go for a week or at least long enough to rationalize a good plan of action.. you’re screwed.

For all the reasons Faust says the primitive skills guys are hosed (Not knowing what a zombie invasion is for one,) I say the modern guys are hosed for a completely different set of reasons. I think this is partially why the movies resonate pretty well in modern society, most people know subconsciously they’re hosed. Get training and stocking up people, those zombies are coming!

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6 Responses to “Zombie Apocalypse Survival”

  1. christian Says:

    I’m hoping that it will be less crowded at the beach. As far as I know, zombies can’t surf. but you never know…

  2. faustusnotes Says:

    I think the point I was trying to make is that modern specialization requires a base of education that is actually very broad and non-specific, and qualifies us to understand things outside of our own specialization to an extent that didn’t exist, say, 80 years ago. So we all do a bit of machine shop, a bit of woodwork, a bit of home economics, etc.

    As a trivial example: 80 years ago a group of male survivors probably wouldn’t know how to sew. This wouldn’t happen today because at least one of the survivors would have done some home ec classes. Consider also the rapid raid on the supermarket in the early days of the apocalypse: knowing the best foods to get requires nutritional education and people 80 years ago wouldn’t have had it. In fact, 80 years ago the lack of non-perishable foods would have meant that most of urban society would have starved with even a few days shut down – and this is what happens in a lot of third world countries now which, paradoxically, are more agrarian than developed nations but have a much more fragile food supply. The ability to farm is meaningless for the first 3 months, because you need a season to produce food and you need to be scavenging for the first season while you grow stuff.

    Christian, the beaches will be less crowded but you won’t necessarily be able to guarantee that the girl holding your towel is still alive when you surf in. Imagine your horror if you emerge from the perfect pipeline to find that your admiring onlooker just loves you for your brains!!!

  3. Grey Says:

    Plants vs Zombies say otherwise! I think it’s a good place to start though, preferably from a nice Yacht!

  4. Grey Says:

    There is definetely different types of knoweldge available, mostly more specialized in a modern time. The survivors of the time would probably know how to mend, particularly if you include women into the group. There was a similar division of labor at the time because they had to. Hire it done was an abstract concept to most people with the exception of major work. If your car or house broke, you fixed it unless it was way over you head. Likewise for getting, preparing food and other misc tasks at the time. I think you’re not giving the old farm boys enough credit, perhaps as to how I’m shorting modern society.

    I would argue that the best way deal with rapid raids on food is simply to have some stores to make them less necessary until regular supplies can be restored. (Or, you can grow food.. zombies dead, winter gone, etc) Granted, assuming you had to raid having a good knowledge of caloric values is helpful. As for 80 years ago, there was definetely a deeper pantry comparable to income than there is modern times. I would like to think they’d have been less affected by a similar disruption, as their ancestors were that were settlers. (Otherwise winter would.. (and did) get them.)

  5. Paul Says:

    “Remember though, you only have to be faster than the guy next to you!”
    This point is actually untrue in a zombie scenario. The reason is you have to be faster than the guy next to you initially, but then he’s pulled down and comes back as a zombie and you suddenly need to be faster than both him and the zombie that got him.

    Regardless of the group you select and whether they are modern or depression era people you’re going to find gapping holes in the skillsets [1] the group has. That’s why the best equipped group would probably be a modern group with a “One Laptop Per Child” laptop. Such a laptop doesn’t need mains power and (I’ve heard) has a wikipedia copy on it, which means you’ve got access to the basics on pretty much any topic you need from saniation to crop rotation to car mechanics to zombie variants. That single resource would patch the majority of skill gaps they could hit and give them basis for any action where they have time to work on it. [2]

    [1] Faustus dislikes this term. Suck it up.

    [2] Sure it doesn’t help start a car NOW! but if you took a group from 80 years ago the vast majority of them were also not car thieves as I understand it.

  6. Grey Says:

    Paul, good to see you here!

    Being faster than the guy next to you depends on how far you have to run and how long your pal takes to zombify! Of course if you’re Christian you can just say “Surfs up dude!” and you’re pretty well covered.

    Good idea on the notebook for sure, assuming you have most of the interwebs downloaded that is. The low power requirement would be a real boon as well, particularly if you can get your hands on some solar charging. It would be good for either group but you really need to have your fundamentals (Security, Food, Water and Shelter) covered before it becomes of any use to anyone.

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