Episode 652: Parting Gifts

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Reluctant Gun Ownership

When you talk about zombies a lot, you end up talking about the various ways of killing zombies. A lot. It can get a little weird, but that’s the genre and you’ve got to roll with it. Much discussion is given to guns versus other weapons. Naturally, everything has it’s pros and cons. For guns, a big con is the intimidation factor. Using them effectively requires experience. Using them ineffectively is incredibly dangerous, far more dangerous than simply not having a weapon at all. Beyond that, many are simply not comfortable with them in general.

This is something that’s often used in zombie stories to push characters outside of their comfort zones and give them yet another thing to have to worry about. It’s a stress multiplier. Not only do they need to concern themselves with not getting eaten by zombies, keeping themselves and everyone else safe, ensuring that there are enough supplies to keep from starving, etc. Now they also have to worry about accidentally shooting themselves, or someone else.

About this Episode:

As many of you predicted last week, Sam does indeed take the gun. This is good for Sam, since he now has another option with which to defend himself with, but it presents a problem for me: what to do with the gun? It’s awfully hard for Sam to do anything when he has a weapon in each hand. Thus you’ll probably see the gun disappear in the next episode or two. I didn’t forget about it, I’m just pretending that Sam stuffed it in his pants or backpack to free up a hand.

Discussion Question: Another Gun Question

One thing I love about the readership of Bricks of the Dead is that we have people here from all over the world, which adds a lot of different perspectives to the discussion. I’m from the United States, where gun ownership is huge, but I know that’s not common in the rest of the world. So, for those of you who aren’t familiar or comfortable with guns, how would you react in Sam’s shoes? And, for those of you who are gun people, how might you re-assure someone like Sam?

22 thoughts on “Episode 652: Parting Gifts”

  1. There’s still the unanswered question: Did she put any bullet s in it? 😀

    • Hah, that’s a pretty important one. Hopefully Sam won’t have to find out at all, but if he does…

  2. “For guns, a big con is the intimidation factor. Using them effectively requires experience.”
    Another point related to this you didn’t touch on is often the intimidation factor for those with little experience is exactly what a gun does. Many who can not use one effectively hope the simple fact of pointing it at an adversary will be intimidating enough to scare them off. Zombies are not scared or intimidated by guns so essentially if you don’t now how to properly shoot, it is useless.

    • Actually, you were touching on this point I think, I just didn’t word my response well. I was just trying to elaborate on the topic.

      • You make an excellent point, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do a write-up on on the comic at some point (possibly in the near future). It’s amazing how often we see characters casually pointing guns at each other to make a point or win an argument. Zombies completely ignore that tactic, reducing the utility of a gun substantially, at least in theory.

  3. To me guns are fun on the screen but scary as hell in real life – I would certainly not want to own one and trying to picture myself carrying one is just unthinkable. Also, none of my friends own guns.
    I am 38 and I have only held a handgun once in my life. My grandpa had one stashed for self defense (I think it was a short Magnum 44, which I think was the standard service weapon for the Police at the time), I was shocked by how heavy that thing was. It was years ago and I could barely hold it straight with one hand so I could not even imagine what it would feel like to shoot with that thing.
    I think there was a big shift of mentality between generations in my country. In Belgium, the mandatory military service was discontinued years ago. I think this was probably the most common way for people to have a first hand experience with guns.. once that disappeared, people no longer had that exposure and somehow the gun-owning thing must have lost a lot of its potential appeal.

    • This is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for. I’m curious if you had any exposure to gun culture while you were here in the states. America’s worship of firearms has to be really strange for people who grew up in different cultures.

      • We did not really have any exposure to guns during our stay in the US. As European, you do get surprised to see a sign that warns people that beyond a certain point concealed weapons are not authorized.. it makes you wonder how many people actually carry one but after a while you forget about it.
        There is just one thing that really shocked me one day. We had received in the mail this add for a gun shop. It was several pages of glossy color paper. In there 2 things really stood up, the first one was silencers. I get the gun culture thing, the sport aspect and all but I just cannot understand how it can be justified to sell silencers. The other thing that shocked me was a brand of Ammo that had some funny colorful drawings on the boxes – it may even have been labelled as Zombie killing ammo but I can’t recall for sure and I don’t remember the caliber either. All I know is that the thing looked like it was Nerf darts but it was real.

        • I didn’t know it was legal to sell suppressors. I’m quite surprised myself.

          The colorful zombie bullets I’ve seen. And they make me furious. Guns aren’t toys, but that’s exactly what these things suggest to me.

        • Blame Hollywood for making people think silencers are automatically illegal. I used to believe that they were only for spies and assassins too.


          From what I understand now, shooters use them to protect their hearing and generally reduce noise. Suppressors also reduce recoil and muzzle flash.

        • Hah, I figured it wouldn’t be long before I showed my ignorance. Still, this seems like a huge pain in the ass to go through in order to get a suppressor. I’m surprised that many people would be up to it.

  4. This IS interesting.
    The best description of American gun culture I have yet heard came from a Canadian police officer when someone asked him about it on an episode of COPS. He said “In America, the west was won, in Canada, the west was negotiated for”

    Also, Greg.
    I don’t think any police department in the world uses or has ever used a handgun chambered for the .44magnum cartridge as a service weapon. Its way too powerful and unwieldy for that. He may have carried a compact .44magnum as a backup weapon or for personal protection. In which case I would have never wanted to arm wrestle the man .

    • I wondered about that as well. I’ve shot a .44 a couple of times, and it was an unwieldy beast to say the least.

      • Interesting, I could be wrong about the caliber.. all I know for sure is that it was a Magnum. I know close to nothing about firearms so when someone says Magnum I immediately think 44… do these exist in smaller calibers?

        • Yes indeed. You can even get a .22 magnum if you’re so inclined. I’m probably wrong (I’m not a gun guy), but I believe a .357 magnum was a fairly popular police sidearm for a while. Damage can probably confirm.

        • Thanks for the clarification Dave, it must have been the .357.
          A few years after my grand father passed away, my grand mother ended up selling the weapon to a retired policeman and she felt relieved to be rid of it!

  5. We’re not into guns in France either (I mean normal people… LOL). Looking for a gun in extreme situation wouldn’t even be a priority to me. I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing though… It’s just the way it is. That said I may intend to go to guns later, when it’s not the time to hide or escape anymore. A time when you start to look for ways to protect yourself.

    For example, and considering I’m 32 and a family man, during WWII (which I consider to be in human history as the closest of a zombie apocalypse…) once France felt to the German army, I’d probably have tried to flew before everything… But at some point (weeks? Months?…) I might have joined the resistance, and fought back, for my children and my homeland.

    This is probably just a feeling as I haven’t been in this kind of situation (thankfully) but I guess you see my point…

    • Oh, man, the French Resistance. Yet another fascinating part of the Second World War.

  6. I grew up in Canada and now I live in Ireland. Guns are more regulated that the U. S. in both countries. However, I also lived, and live, in rural areas where hunting and shooting are not unusual activities, and gun ownership is more common than you’d imagine.

    So I’m comfortable around guns. I took a firearms safety class as a teen and went out shooting occasionally. Though I was never a great shot, and my skills are very rusty. My approach to re-assuring someone would be to take some time for training and practice. How practical that would be is another question.

    • Your level of skill and comfort is probably about the same as my own. I enjoy target shooting, but it’s something I do only very occasionally.

  7. Retired military so I have fired a lot of weapons. Non gun people say shot a gun. Only fired a few since leaving the military. Proper use of firearms is like any other tool training, practice and correct use are learned. Handing someone a weapon even a knife is just asking for trouble.

    • “Handing someone a weapon even a knife is just asking for trouble.”

      This makes me think of Tremors and the unloaded gun given to the kid to get him motivated. God I love that movie.