Episode 358: Uh, Little Help?

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Push Up Its Head

When it comes to zombies, you’ve got to shoot’em in the head. Everyone knows that. Small children and the very elderly know that. And shooting zombies in the heads is all fine and good when the zombies are sufficiently downrange and you have plenty of time to take aim. It’s still challenging – probably more challenging than the average person could rise to – but it’s at least reasonable. The challenge comes when that zombie is closer, there are innocent people in the way, and you don’t have any time to aim. Like, say, if the zombie is wrestling around with the person you’re trying to save.

So what do people generally do in these circumstances? They tell the person doing the zombie wrangling to push up the zombie’s head to allow for a clear shot. That’s great in movies where the good guys are all Olympic-level marksman, but in real life, it would get a lot of people in a lot of trouble.

And let’s not forget about all the infected gore that would erupt out of the would should the person happen to make the shot successfully.

About this Episode:

So we’re finally getting to see Ted’s family. Granted, they’re in the distance, partially blocked, and out-of-focus, but there they are. We’re also getting to see a zombie, and I’m very curious to see if anyone knows who this fellow is. Avid readers should be able to figure it out.

Discussion Question: How Do You Help Ted?

Put yourself in Barb’s shoes. You’re a nurse and have managed to get your hands on a 12 guage and a .44 revolver. You managed to off some criminals with the shotgun, but who knows how comfortable you really are with firearms. Your buddy is struggling with zombies across the room. Do you take a shot and hope to hit the zombie and miss your friend, or is it time to think about Plan B?

57 Comments

Phantom

First off, seems like uncle Tommy (Creature reference) just came back from the dead and was playing with the wife and kids.

As for what to do, Plan B is to run like crazy and hopefully hit the zombie and knock him off. Afterwards shoot him with whatever I pull off first, either the shotty or Magnum.

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Dave

You can, but is that the best approach? What’s behind the zombie? Will the gore cause an infection? Will you have time to do that? With everyone flailing about, it is going to be that easy?

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Bo

Good thinking. Rule number four: Know your target and what’s beyond it. Is over=penetration an issue? Also, don’t discount the splat factor.

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Dave

Oh yeah, I had that one drilled into my head as a kid. You’re responsible for the bullet, and it it goes through whatever you’re shooting, you’d better be damn sure there’s nothing behind it.

Bob

That thought did occur to me, but judging from the above, the wall is beyond her target. Dave will have to say whether or not she came from over there and might shoot what’s-his-face if she puts some lead through it.

And I think waiting for someone to maybe prove to be strong enough to hold up the bad guy’s head for you is probably going to take more time than you moving forward, which is the approach being used in the comic here.

BrickThrone

He was the ringmaster? Flanders. Since we don’t know much of Barb’s background so I hope she’s a good shot. Then again a miss and hit a family member would make great tension

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Bo

Walk calmly and briskly across the room. Put the shotgun barrel in the zombies mouth. Angle said barrel so the over-penetration doesn’t hit Ted. Squeeze.

The problem I have with unknown shotguns is knowing what kind of ammunition is in the magazine. Is it birdshot? Is it buckshot or a slug? The rule of thumb for modified-choke shotguns is that the shot will spread one inch per yard of distance from the muzzle. I have tested this numerous times over the years patterning shotguns and found it accurate enough for general purposes. That said, I would feel comfortable taking the zombie’s head off from across the room without hitting Ted. The problem again comes with assuring penetration. Light target loads or bird loads won’t reliably penetrate the cranial vault (here we go again, injecting reality into the situation). Nine pellet buckshot, however, would turn its head into a canoe.

Another problem would be the hearing loss associated with touching off a room broom indoors without hearing protection. Yeah, you’d still be alive; but you likely wouldn’t be tuning any pianos.

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Dave

I – very, very stupidly – shot a .44 outside without any hearing protection once. I couldn’t hear right again for almost two weeks. It was awful. I can’t imagine how bad it would be indoors.

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Bo

When I shoot indoors I double up electronic muffs over plugs. I recommend muffs always, since plugs only can still allow hearing damage via transmission through the mastoid bone. In TSHTF I will still use the muffs, since they enhance my hearing when there is no gunfire.

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Damage

Bo, you are so right on that point. Very few people have taken the time to consider the effects of discharging a firearm in an enclosed area during a self defense situation. The noise and the muzzle flash can leave you effectively deaf and blind for several seconds. I am a big believer in subsonic only rounds for potential self home defense situations. (no 9mm or magnum rounds) a lot of people dont understand that a good portion of the report from faster rounds is actually a small sonic boom. Sub-sonic rounds are significantly quieter. Im also a big believer in 20ga tactical shotguns for indoor use. Barb appears to be preparing to engage with the revolver. Furthermore she looks like shes going to do it left handed. Even in a big house I cant imagine that this action is taking place more then 20ft from the door. Three quick strides would close half the distance.

Dave

If you can’t make an off-handed headshot at a moving target with friendlies nearby in the heat of battle from 20 yards, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Bo

I don’t generally go for subsonic loads; but I do agree with your rationale. They’d make a lot more sense if that weapon had a can on the end of it, and bonus if it was a carbine with a red dot on top.

I do agree with you on the 20-gauge, too. A youth model pump gun or gas gun stoked up with #4 buckshot is a formidable combination for inside the house. My own inside-the-house gun is a Beretta 1201 police model with plain-Jane 00; but the time is coming that I’ll have to consider a 20-guage for the wife and kids.

Dave, not subtle, huh?

Sir Marius

I’d run up, kick poor Dennis to the floor, and then unload on him. I think, as long as Ted is strong enough to hold him off until then, it’ll work. (Come on, if he’s athletic enough to bolt for the house that quickly, he probably can take Dennis here.) I’m under the impression this is the question because you have no idea what to do for the next installment. 😛 Hey, did silly Ted forget his hammer? Man.

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Dave

Silly Ted did indeed forget his hammer, it’s sitting out on the front lawn along with Clark’s knife and a few other items (and Gene).

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Calicade

For me? I’d shoot the broadest easiest place to shoot on the zombie (probably the chest) then once the zombie is hit with this force, ted should be able to get away.. If not he’s a bitch and bitches die.. Anyways. You then go up to the zombie and finish the job and act like a bad ass nurse.

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Turdinator

ted’s wife looks 8 years younger than ted himself. like 36 and 44. my fiends dad is like 13 years older than his mom. it all sounds weird to m3

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xxbminusxx

Just wanna say Dave I love your comic! I stumbled on to it back in march and caught up on April first. (sick sick joke by the way). I would have started commenting back then but my computer has been “out of order” as of late and could only view it on my phone. I hope you got lots of story left in that head of yours (or written down somewhere, no sure how you do it) because i really enjoy reading it every week.

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Dave

Hah, thanks!

I do enjoy my April Fool’s jokes.

I do have quite a bit of story left. I have a rough outline written out. I try not to script everything too far in advance so that I can explore other ideas as they come up. It’s quite funny how much different the comic is now compared to what I originally planned it to be. For instance, I had intended out main group to be at a farm, and I had intended for the news crew to have met up with them.

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WJS

Eep. Lucky she got here when she did, eh?

Question:
Well, I think the risk of hitting Ted would have to be outweighed by the risk of Ted getting bitten. If he gets bitten, it’s all over for him, while if he’s shot by accident, he at least stands a chance of making it depending on where he’s hit.
As to whether I’d rush up and boot the zombie off him first, or take the shot from where I was, that depends on too much to really call. How well is he holding the thing off, and how far away is he? The further the distance the longer it would take to close, but the greater the chance of missing. At such close range though, I think I’d feel comfortable hitting even a small target – with the shotgun that is, I have no experience with handguns since they were banned when I was a kid.

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Bo

Man, I would not want to live in country with firearms bans. Kind of hard to trust a government that doesn’t trust its citizens.

It’s actually no more difficult to miss with a shotgun than it is to miss with a rifle. Again, that shot will only spread one inch per yard from the muzzle. At typical across-the-room distances the shot pattern will be smaller than your hand. Pretty easy to miss.

It’s not that I am not a fan of the shotgun. In its niche it reigns supreme. It’s just not the “blind man’s” weapon that many folks think it is.

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WJS

Yeah, it pretty much sucks. No handguns or centrefire semi-autos period, plus self defense is not considered a good reason for a firearms license. And you think the anti-gun stigma amongst the general US public is bad? Over here, polls tend to come out in favour of complete bans on all firearms.

Oh, I know that the spread of shotguns in movies and videogames is unrealistically high, I was commenting on the fact that between the shotgun and revolver, I’d take the shoulder-fired one over the handgun. Not that I’m super experienced with long guns either, given how expensive they work out over here when you figure in the government-mandated safe you have to keep them in and high ammo prices – I expect it’ll be years before I can afford to shoot with any regularity.

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Bo

Folks get the government they deserve, especially in a democracy; and it’s why I never support democracy- ninety-nine people could vote to murder the hundredth and it would be ok, because majority rules.

Folks in the Commonwealth have fallen so far from the Magna Carta that it makes my soul hurt. The sooner you folks push the reset button on your government the better, and us too, for that matter.

Shotgun ammunition is the one type that’s still plentiful here, excepting loads like plated buckshot and true hollow-point slugs. My recommendation for folks reading the board is to get a plain stone-reliable shotgun, something in the vein of a Remington 870, Winchester 1300, Mossberg 500, or Ithaca 37 (if you happen to have one in the closet). Get an 18-inch barrel and a case of birdshot and as much buckshot and slugs as possible. Then practice, practice, practice. Shoot up that birdshot in good practice. Yes, rifles are better; but rifle ammunition is scarce right now. Handgun ammunition is coming back, but not 9x19mm, and not .22lr. They probably will. In the meantime get good with the shotgun, especially if you live in a restrictive environment.

mandy

Kids are unknown factors. They could run up to knock the zombie off and therefore prevent a shot being taken at all. Of course if the kid gets bit, say in the arm do they now face the dilemma of life over limb?

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Bo

That depends upon the mythos. I don’t know if Dave has decided that amputation will save one from zombification or not. Personally, I like that there are no hard and fast zombie mythos “rules”. Anyone can say or write anything they want in their own zombie universe.

It’s like the zombie universe is ruled by Bob Ross. You can do your own thing.

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Dave

I’m pretty torn on the amputation thing. It’s a cool idea, and I like the drama it creates, but I also like the finality of a zombie bite that can’t be cured.

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Bo

It’s like you have to decide what makes folks a zombie. In the Romero mythos death makes zombies. Zombie bites only cause death. What about the zombie bite causes death? That’s for you to decide; but I don’t like to think about it to much because it doesn’t matter to me. I mean, if you need to make those decisions for story continuity, go ahead. I shouldn’t affect how the characters interact, because they don’t know anything about zombies.

I say anyone bitten by zombies gets a pickaxe to the head. No muss; no fuss.

Turdinator

(Teds wife) “oh yea, i wasn’t cheating on you for our hot professor neighbor who i may or may not spend loads of time with when you’re not around, and is now a zombie.” Which a little question that some of my discusting friends were wondering, what happens when you’re desperate enough to have entercourse with a zombie? The enderdragon from Minecraft? i dont know, what are some of your ideas?

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Calicade

W.. What? Intercourse with a zombie? I guess there’s something for everyone, but as long as I’m able to kill two zombies with one stone…

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Bo

Have you read Joe R. Lansdale’s On the Far Side with Dead Folks? I know I’ve mentioned it before; but it’s a great zombie apocalypse read that broaches this very question.

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Calicade

Because he’s your biggest fan. Dave you now have a stalker, you’re almost too popular to talk to any of us.

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Bo

I actually judge authors by the quality of their hate mail.

Care to put any of yours up on the forum, Dave?

Dave

Surprisingly, I haven’t really gotten any hate mail (yet).

I’ve gotten some negative comments (see the episode where the ambulance flips), but I always leave those for the world to see.

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