Episode 616: Last Requests

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Dying Wish

Characters in zombie stories tend to die in one of two ways. Sometimes they go out in one big moment, maybe in a blaze of glory, or maybe they’re simply torn to shreds by the horde of zombies. Other times, they simply receive a mortal wound – often a bite – and linger on a bit with a death sentence. Those in the latter group tend to do their best to make their peace with the world, help their group, and ensure that their loved ones are left in the best possible situation as possible. And if that means they have to guilt a few people into that, so be it.

About this Episode:

This is a lot to ask of Clark and Barb. Of course, they’re certainly going to do their best to keep everyone safe, but it’s a pretty dangerous world. They kind of have enough pressure as is, a man’s dying request only adds to their stress.

Discussion Question:

Today’s discussion question comes from ShiftedBeef: “I have a possible discussion question: Would the Police and Military be able to withstand a slow-zombie attack? With all of the tech and skilled fighters in both occupations, you would assume they would be able to survive. In World War Z Max Brooks covers this in the battle of Yonkers where all of the technology failed to bring victory, but realistically if all else fails, just drive tanks over the zombies, or shred them with 50. Cals.”

Since this isn’t my question, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring. Could the police or the military be able to withstand a slow zombie attack? Most certainly they could, but with a few caveats. They would be able to withstand it if they understood how to destroy the zombies, and had the freedom to do so. One of the tough parts about zombie survival is that, at least in the early stages, people are going to be hesitant to defend themselves properly, assuming the zombies are simply sick or injured people.

30 thoughts on “Episode 616: Last Requests”

  1. Typo alert for today: “best possibly situation” possibly–possible 😀

    • I make these kinds of typos far too often. Fixed.

  2. I might have a Discussion Question for Friday, but Dave didn’t use my last question, so I’ll ask him if he wants to use that instead. 😀

    • Sorry about that. Usually when I get a discussion question I like, I immediately copy it into my scripts so that I don’t forget it. I’m guessing I got side-tracked with yours, and didn’t copy it as soon as I saw it.

  3. Something I’d like to see answered, properly, is whether people who have been purposefully had head injury dealt to them that would prevent a zombie from forming actually works. To that end, I hope Dave is going to show us how that works in his comic! 😀

    • Okay, so this has been copied into my script, and I shan’t forget this time.

      • Heh, that wasn’t my question, btw. If you turn that into a Discussion Question, though, be sure to remove the ‘been’ – that’s one of my typos! 😀

        • Oh, sorry, what question did you want to be the discussion question?

        • This, from may 5th, it’s a pretty wordy question, use it when you want:

          I see human evolution discussion has been prevalent in the comments. Here’s a Discussion Question for Dave: If zombies could evolve or mutate, what would they become? Something even more terrifying than the living beings they originally came forth from? Or would they evolve into another species, like the homo-sapiens and other related species did?

          One of the most challenging tasks of any good writer is to take something fictional and apply known theories to it regarding a certain subject. Zombies being what they are, can’t mate, but does that necessarily mean they can’t mutate their body cells into a new form of zombie? I think not! Think outside the box, not inside of it!

        • Hey BV, I’ve actually got your other question scheduled for tomorrow, and posted and answer. I’m going to use this one for Monday’s strip.

  4. Oh most definitely. As there is room for error when it comes to the dead walking the earth I firmly believe the “authorities” should be able to handle slow zombies.
    Something you don’t see often in these movies are the religious fanatics, for a great example of this character type watch The Myst (2007).
    Sidebar: Director of the Myst Frank Darabont also directed 1st season of TWD,Also in that film Carol, Andrea and Dale.
    Just imagine with the walk tall with “no” stick attitude we have nowadays mixed with a real religious panic of End of Days , social media and lazy Millennials all compiled it could throw the entire system out of wack long enough for a massive outbreak.

    • You bring up an excellent point about the very religious, and something that I would love to address in the comic. The only problem is that I am an atheist, and I worry that I wouldn’t be able to give the religious a fair shake. I don’t want to be one of those writers that just smush my views down the throats of my readers, because that annoys the hell out of me.

      • Understood, Me too.
        I just think it’s more taboo than killing a baby anymore with all the radicals out there. I used to Roll Play and one of my favorite games and it refuses to write about the middle east just for that reason.
        But in all I believe it would become a great hindrance but great storytelling hurdle.

        Another scenario is what if the authorities started shooting (lets say) the black infected before the general populace was properly informed. Currently that would not bode well

        • I don’t want to completely avoid it, but I want to make sure that, when I address it, I’m not making the views of the religious into straw men. I hate when other media does that to my views, so I certainly don’t want to do it to theirs.

  5. The zombie genre is quite known nowadays. Almost everyone will know what a zombie or at least an idea. So the police, in the event of a slow-zombie attack, would probably try to neutralize these zombies in a non-lethal way, which would definitely cause a few casualties and increase the zombie number. But once the military rolled through, they would fire at the zombies’ center of mass, meaning the chest. Once they realized that didn’t work, they would probably try to shoot their heads, or maybe there would a guy who shouts ‘Hey, shoot their heads! It works for Rick in The Walking Dead!’

    • Right you are; it’s hard to imagine people not using what they know from popular culture.

      As far as how quickly they’d adapt if they needed to? I guess that depends a lot on the people involved. A lot of people are incredibly stubborn, even in the face of their solution clearly not working. Others are much more flexible. In any large group, you’re going to get a mix, which might lead to further conflict.

    • Although zombies are now as popular as the Vamipre and other mythical beasts It’s still a niche critter. The possibilities of the random guy yelling “The head, shoot them in the head!” are high you still have to deal with the improbability factor. How long would it take before the actuality of the dead rising or infected to attack those in disbelief before it becomes a standard. The Extreme groups (religious, anti-government, gun toting.. you get the idea) are the ones I would worry about the most. Is this the end of days? Should we just kill anyone that seems ill? Just to be sure (Carol). Pacifist. Just look how quick people were to fight the measles vaccine, all because of false information. And I’m sure plenty of that would be around.

      • I love the point you make about the spreading of false information; I can see that becoming a very big issue that makes the situation far, far worse.

    • So you are saying the police know enough about popular culture to recognize zeds and shoot them in the head but the military do not and would just aim center mass. Or even more amazingly the police would not bother to tell the military they were fighting zeds. I am thinking not.

  6. This story arc is making everyone sad Dave! I guess Friday will be the end of it, and the end of Ted. I think we all liked Ted a lot, but no-one is 100% safe in the comic!

    Suggestion for the website (after whatever went down on Monday)
    As the visitor count goes up, maybe a rule board would be a smart idea. Nothing excessive, but enough to regulate the comments section towards what Bricks of the Dead is all about: The Comic, Lego & Zombies!

    • Hah, well, the zombie apocalypse is going to have some sad times, right?

      You make an excellent point about some sort of code of conduct. I’m going to put that on my to do list. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. I appreciate your position on this Dave. As a Christian, a political conservative, and an Anthropogenic Global Warming skeptic I am very accustomed to having my beliefs panned in the media and much of popular fiction.
    I would have to agree that a certain segment of the population would probably react to the ZA as the prophesized “end of days” as laid out in Revelations and respond by locking themselves in churches and praying for salvation. I imagine that a sizeable number of previously non-religious individuals would be joining them after, all “There are no atheists in foxholes”
    On the other hand, over 2/3rds of the US Marine Corps identifies themselves as “Christian” As an experiment you might try walking up to the next Marine you see slapping him/her in the face and see if they “turn the other cheek. ” Odds are your going to need some dental work after that one.
    My point here is that I don’t think the majority of religious people are going to lay down and accept the ZA as Gods will but there will definitely be a fanatic minority.

    As far as the military being able to handle slow moving zeds, there are several factors. First of all it would take a lot to get the military involved. The legal ability of the federal government to deploy the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps is severely limited by The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which limits the powers of the federal government in using its military personnel to act as domestic law enforcement personnel. Before any of these armed forces can act on US soil the feds will need to recognize the threat and agree to suspend the Act. Who knows how long that would take?

    The National Guard can take action as directed by the Governors of the individual states they represent but their actions will be different on a state by state basis. Some Governors will be very hesitant to deploy them in the kind or force and armed with the weapons and rules of engagement they would need to combat the ZA until the situation is completely understood, by then it might be too late. Another limiting factor is that the NG isn’t a standing body. The vast majority of its personnel are “part time” and will not be in duty and available for immediate call up.

    Finally there is the issue of “collateral damage” To some degree or another there are still going to be survivors amongst the zeds. How can I send my tanks into an area to engage the zeds when there are humans hiding in the houses and surrounding structures. Innocent people are gonna die and there is no avoiding that. For the military to be truly effective they are going to need some politicians to recognize that the situation is dire enough that some people are going to need to be sacrificed. I don’t see that happening quickly.

    Its not a matter of the effectiveness of military weapons and tactics. Its a matter f politics and logistics.

    • I do think, however, that the military bases could and would be successfully defended for the most part. Personnel on those bases would most likely hunker down and kill anything that tired to enter without permission. Its possible that these could become safe havens for civilians who managed to make their way to these bases and were quarantined for a sufficient period of time. Theoretically, once full martial law went into effect (either legislatively or by default) they could push out and clear the infected. But food and ammunition would become a problem eventually if the manufacturing centers were overrun and holding cleared territory would be very difficult.

    • Question, what happens if the zed outbreak happens in the upper echelons of government and takes out anyone able to actually enforce law and order rather quickly? Let’s say, for instance, that the early infections took out a lot of the political sector early on, and the few remaining political figures actually left to deal with the situation are as rare as hen’s teeth. Given that they’re suddenly being asked to deal with a high-level situation how do you suppose the military forces would react to having to take orders from someone low in political standing?

      • I assume that if the brass was taken out early on, those left in charge, or at least respected members of a community/respected capitain or sergeant for the military would assume the role of leader and work togeather after the initial panic had passed.

        • Definitely an interesting question. Is this the on you were thinking for a discussion question, BV?

        • No, actually, but I think a similar question had already been posed earlier, might be a bit old so you could revisit it if there’s a new angle to look at on it.

          I posted the one I was interested in seeing discussed above to your earlier reply. 😀

    • Regarding my religious beliefs, or lack thereof, I like debate and discourse, and always try to be respectful of people’s beliefs. Of course, if they can’t do the same with mine, all bets are off.

  8. Alot going on in this thread but to stick with the original topic question apparently people haven’t crunched the numbers or kept up with the news. First there are about 1,220,000 police officers in the United States. Many of them have access to military grade weapons and equipment thanks to recent government programs. Once the police figure out the ZA has started they could probably handle things and could get the National Guard in to help.

    The US military on the other had has about 1,361,000 personnel on active duty. If you remove the Navy and Air Force (nothing against you people just don’t see you as much help in a zed attack) and the support units in the Army and Marines (again nothing against you people but your job is not to fight but to support or the fighters could’nt do theirs) and the number of units stationed overseas then you can see how the current US military may not be the answer you think they are.

    There are about 850,000 National Guard and Reserve personnel but wondering how many would be left who hadn’t been called up by the States or were caught up in their civilian jobs to assist the Active Forces.

    Remember this next time you hear Congress wanting to cut the military again.

  9. Former USS NAVY weighing in:
    Even with knowledge of the drill, even with the best case information of the time, even though it all was practice…
    The Navy FAILED the drill the first time around.

    Background: the bath salt scare & prep-pers push of worst case situations had just came to pass and be put into view.
    The drills for mass of people were not updated, they were more geared towards someone getting into a peacefully going on protest and then causing havoc. Suppressor type weapons are not meant for accuracy, let alone head shots. Some of the forces guarding the armed force come from other sources and those are sorely under trained. The threat level system thinks that by going up or down levels, people’s ammo automatically switch like a video game. The area of a port doesn’t have enough surface area to hold a lot of combat useful soldiers versus the area / land mass before the port has a lot of area to hold zeds and infected.

    There are a lot of pit traps, people, and info to deal with in the described situation, so it is natural to fail the first time around. Still I never heard if they have yet to pass the trail or if it came true, due to drugs or “other reasons”.