Hiding in a Zombie Apocalypse

1 Jul

A few months ago I was chatting to a colleague at a night out and he said he’d been discussing the show, The Walking Dead, with his wife, specifically around the question- where is the best place to hide in a zombie apocalypse? My colleague and his wife concluded that two places offered equally good places to hide, and then thrive, during the apocalypse- a football stadium and a B & Q Superstore (home and garden DIY supplies). Both hideouts offer fortifications, supplies (at the B & Q), places to grow food (on the football field for example), both places look pretty good, but there is a flaw- if it’s hard to get in, it can be equally hard to get out.

Let’s say a group has occupied one of these two places. The group has reached about 120 In number. In the world of The Walking Dead everyone is infected with the zombie virus, meaning, if you lived in this world, no matter what your cause of death, you’re coming back as a zombie. So, if someone has a heart attack in the football stadium or falls from one of the high supply shelves in the B &Q, the survivors are stuck in these hide outs with a zombie. Given the corridor and isle structure of these places, the zombie could easily roam around undetected for a while and happen upon a survivor. Our unlucky survivor could well be unprepared to encounter the undead, lulled into a false sense of security by their seemingly impregnable fortress and then one bite, and another zombie. Suddenly, the hideout has become a potential tomb.

These type of superstores and stadia are set up for evacuations, offering huge doors to get multiple numbers through at once (this overcomes flocking where everyone copies everyone else’s escape, all trying to cram through a single door. Just watch how people exit train platforms). But the escape routes are designed to get out of a hazard like fire. Try using them In this zombie scenario and you’ll be faced with even bigger threats waiting to swarm in from outside; more zombies. The wide evacuation doors are perfect for allowing zombies to swarm inside a large area quickly. Alternative routes may be too narrow to get large numbers out quickly, the opposite problem.

This is a worst case scenario.  A good contingency plan might be able to counter most of the issues I’ve highlighted above; but death is unpredictable. In a high stress environment, living in a confined space with competing priorities could easily lead to a death through disagreement. In other words, things could go wrong very fast, and in ways so numerous and unpredictable it’s impossible to plan for.

This is my last article on a fixed frame of mind. What I’m attempting to say here is that seemingly impregnable fortresses can be overrun if we start thinking we have found a permanent safe haven. The Walking Dead spends a lot of time demonstrating the weaknesses of those who believe they have found a permanent way to live in such a volatile and unpredictable environment. And who can blame anyone in wanting to believe they have found safety and comfort? Back in the real world the same challenges face us all the time, but particularly when our frame of mind is fixed. Obviously it’s not the zombie hoard we have to worry about, but the competition for scarce resources, the sudden escalation of seemingly minor events, an expectation being suddenly violated, and a good escape route are all things which we are either affected by or need to consider. The articles below are examples of how I’ve used the zombie apocalypse to make similar points.

Some thoughts on World War Z


Surviving the zombie apocalypse


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