Episode 350: Thanks

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Hardcore Female

Like someone mentioned and episode or two ago, Joss Whedon is one of the biggest influences for the modern geek. One of Whedon’s most identifiable traits is using strong female characters, which is something I’ve always been a big fan of. Barb here is a little nod to some of my favorite Whedon characters. Instead of waiting for someone else to save the day, she grabs a gun and takes charge, saving herself and Clark in the process.

About this Episode:

I’m still not completely sold on these bullet holes. I like them in some frames, but find them distracting in others. The red bush as a stand-in for a geyser of blood, on the other hand, is never not cool.

Discussion Question: On Looting

If you ask the average person to detail their zombie survival plans, sooner or later they’ll probably going to talk about looking stores for food or other supplies. While this is obviously both illegal and unethical under normal circumstances, most people can justify it in a life or death situation. And if they end of the world has come, well then looking the WalMart gets even easier to get comfortable with.

The question is, is if worth it? Don’t get me wrong, if civilization is well and truly gone, and you can get life-saving supplies by picking the bones of a super store, then have at it. But do you really think there would be anything worthwhile in there? And if there was, would if be worth the risk of getting in.

WalMart and stores like it are enormous. Once the power is out, navigating the inside of the store would be like find your way through a laybrnth. And that’s if the place hadn’t been completely sacked by everyone else with the same idea.

And let’s just say that, by some miracle, the place hadn’t been completely picked clean. With all the rotting food (and former employees and shoppers) inside, would you even be able to stomach getting in the doors?

Long story short, is looting as a survival strategy even remotely worthwhile? Obviously, I’m using a very specific scenario here, which does not represent every form of looting.

45 thoughts on “Episode 350: Thanks”

  1. heh, hardcore women, im going to be laughing about that all summer

    • I like me some hardcore women.

  2. Long time listener, first time caller! I think the reality is box stores (Walmart, etc) will be looted pretty quick! I reckon you would have better luck going house to house and seeing what you can get that way.

    • Welcome Azazlego!

      Indeed; house to house would likely lead to better results.

  3. I dont really see the harm of taking something that belongs to no one considering owners have most likely been dead for a long time and I highly doubt that anyone would mind you taking some items for survival since with the zombie apocalypse humanity is already of the brink of extinction!

    • That’s hard logic to argue with.

  4. there is a difference between looting and scavenging. scavenging is taking the items you need to survive in a given situation. looting is taking stuff you just want.
    as one novel i’ve read summed it up.. Scavenging is someone coming out of a store with a cart full of food and medicine. looting is someone coming out with 5 TV’s.

    • I would also argue that there’s an issue of ownership. Looted items have a rightful owner, scavenged items do not.

  5. Unless they already have a fortified, self-sustaining shelter before the apocalypse happens (and let’s be honest, anyone who has all that in today’s modern world of super-convenience is straight-up paranoid), any survivors will need to scavenge to survive the first few months or years while they find suitable shelter, set up defenses and establish their own means of sustainable food production.
    Even then, some scavenging will be necessary to replace important things that can’t be made or repaired in the shelter, like larger tools, complex machinery, etc.

    • Well said, Darg.

      I think it’s smart to have a couple week’s worth of food on hand. A year or two? That’s crazy. Awesome, but crazy.

  6. ARGH! the House has been hi-jacked!!?
    I wouldn’t worry about the bullet holes so much. I don’t believe anyone here has a issue with it (I may be wrong).
    Now Barb can finish off Mean Gene nice and proper.
    As far as the looting (sticking with Walmart), Yes I would still hit’em up. There will most likely be plenty of fertilizer and other explosive elements left that johnny average won’t grab.

    • I *love* that people are calling him “Mean Gene”.

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you on this point Mr. John Q civilian is not going to know why he is taking stuff from Walmart, but don’t worry he will. people are intelligently stupid in that respect. they may not no WHY they took the lawn and garden or whatever widget we want to use in this situation but they WILL know they need it. anyway hitting a big box is stupid their hard to navigate and take a lot of foot traffic…I’ll raid a distributor warehouse long before going near a big box. sure they have some of the same problems. (zeds, difficult navigation, etc.) but their is one critical plus to them. their inconspicuous. sure people may know they exist but they don’t know where I’ve marked several distributors near where I live that are off the beaten track enough to count as likely salvageable locations.

  7. The third panel is epic!

    • Thank you, sir!

  8. She is Nurse Ratched!

    As to looting, when it’s clear that society has fallen, we’re on our own and no help is coming. I’ll loot. I’m likely to hit stores early if it isn’t mob mentality there. Or I’m likely to go house to house where I can check and have smaller number of zombies to off.

    • Excellent point here Fox. Looting places with high populations mean fending off more zeds.

  9. The problem, to me, is that folks that would clean out a Wal*Mart would likely get around to hitting houses, too. They’ll get a taste for it, and a taste for not working. Sooner or later they’ll likely turn to flat-out banditry.

    Anyone whose idea of prepping includes a gun and looting will be in for a big surprise when they cross the vigilant store owner or homeowner. I know that I would feel justified in using deadly force against a looter.

    Remember, thou shalt not steal.

    • Bo’s back!

  10. Im a big fan of the strong female charterer, provided she is believable and has a believable background. When we met Barb she was an ER nurse, which means shes seen some horrible stuff and had to learn to keep her head and do her job no matter what she felt on the inside. That makes her a lot more believable as a strong female then someone like my sister-in-law who thinks shes a badass because she goes to kickboxing aerobics 3 time a week but gets all wobbly at the sight of blood and cant function without 9hrs of sleep every night. Its also an interesting aside to see how Clarks character is developing. I also like the distinction being drawn here between looting and scavenging. I wont steal from other survivors, but I see little or no wrong in pilfering food or supplies from people who are now dead (or undead) or from corporations which have effectively ceased to exist.

    • Great thoughts here, Damage. I know quite a few people like your sister-in-law.

  11. one of the places that would be overlooked are thrift stores and department stores 1 they carry a mass variety of goods 2 the junk can be scrapped for parts 3 easy to navigate

    • Good call here; I’m always amazed at the cool stuff I can find in thrift stores.

  12. also auto shops arent looked that much either 1 fuel and oil could be found in medium amounts 2 tools and hardware could be found in mass quantites 3 possibly a vehicle you could use?

    • Good thoughts here. Some of those giant auto-shops have all sorts of cool stuff in them.

  13. Kinda saw this coming, but I didn’t expect the use of everyone’s favorite foliage. Nice to see Barb letting out some well-hidden stress. 😛

    As to looting, as many have said, there s a difference between scavenging and true looting. I would gladly scavenge supplies from an empty house, business, police station, etc., but taking something I want just because no one is around to stop me would still be wrong.
    But if no one is looking, the LEGO aisle would *ahem* lose stuff…

    • It’s only Looting if you take all the slopes, bows and tiles

      • Hah!

      • I’ll keep that in mind. Mwahahaha!

    • Yeah, I like to mix it up between Photoshop blood and LEGO blood. It keeps it fun.

  14. in a zombie apocalypse when word of an outbreak gets out looting and random acts of violence will occur my theory is make the most of water and electricity by bottling water and gathering supplies. encourage others to do so while the internet is still available,if you live in a neighborhood start a pool of resources.if you think the government is gonna have it under control you are wrong because you cant depend on them to kill the zombies for you because when you do they will collapse and crumble

    • Good call here.

  15. Perhaps this is naive of me, but I’m hoping to be well enough prepared to not loot. Leaving our fortified house = chance of meeting zeds = chance of dying. Now, if it came down to it, I’m not saying I wouldn’t loot if my kids required food or medicine.

    • I was really hoping someone would take this approach. Thank you, Kim.


    • I’ll probably avoid looting because I don’t like commercial store items as they tend to be shittier than what people think. Just having the right tools & the know how I should be good. It would also help to know some people that have green thumbs as well.

      SO I guess if I was to loot? I’d be the guy walking from the store with tools & hand used farming equipment. Might even learn how to make a plow.

      • Awesome.

  17. couple of bullet holes I may or may not have used before in Photoshop:


    • Nice! Thank you, sir.

  18. I play a lot of DR2, and i could make some good weapons out of everyday items left by other looters. Fear my Chair-Mower!

    • There are some crazy weapons in Dead Rising 2. Fun stuff.

    • I’d love to see MacGyver in the ZA!

  19. I’m on board with Damage. There is no shame in taking something that is left behind but definitely not ok to take from another person’s mouth so to speak.

    As far as the strong female character goes, Zoe from Firefly is the is my fav tough chic. She is badass for real but still soft and feminine. There are more strong female characters than ever but her balance just resonates with me.

  20. I’m with Bo on this, the more people get used to/rely on looting the more they will do it rather than learning to fend for themselves. People will not become self sufficient overnight but learning to do so should be a priority. On that note scavenging supplies untill “yer tatties are ready” I have no problem with. Where I work we have a container half full of ration packs that if it came to the crunch I would make use of untill I could stand on my own two feet as it were.

  21. Am I the only one who thinks there’s something we haven’t been told about Barb? For someone with no experience (which seems likely; most people don’t these days), she doesn’t seem to have had any trouble handling that 12-gauge, which is a pretty hefty first gun. I’m all for badass women, but if they’re going to display skills as well as a tough attitude, there should be a reason.