Monday, March 19, 2012

Could DC residents survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Last night was the season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC. This is an exceptional show that I wish more people in my social circle watched, because sometimes I really need to talk to someone after an episode, but there is no one to be found. So, I must go to the discussion forums on imdb.

The problem with the imdb forums is that a lot of people have already read the comic book, which is much farther ahead than what we have seen on the television show. From what I understand the tv show has made some deviations and character changes, but for the most part it follows the comic. This is problematic because I avoid the comics to stay away from spoilers, but reading an imdb forum where contributors have read them, I’m very likely to accidentally come across a spoiler. So, I try to read conversations that focus on a certain episode or seem spoiler-averse. Today someone posed the question to fans, “With where you currently live, do you think you could survive [The Zombie Apocalypse]?”

This is an interesting question for this forum because the contributors to the message boards are from all around the world, so everyone would have a different perspective. It has crossed my mind to question what I would do in this situation, but only long enough to realize I would be zombie bait. I don’t think any asthmatics would fare well in this environment. I would probably be very ironically killed by running for my life and having an asthma attack and dying. But, removing my asthma and general lack of cajones from the equation, I never considered the geographic pros and cons of being in Washington, DC. So, without further ado, here they are.

Pro #1) Government buildings. The District is considered to be vulnerable for terrorist activity, so while I don’t know the statistics, I would venture to guess that the city holds more panic rooms and bomb shelters per capita than anywhere else in the United States. The President lives here, members of congress, Supreme Court justices… Chris Matthews, Tony Kornheiser… What I’m saying is there are a lot of high profile people who live here, and there are buildings created with hypothetical pandemic and/or apocalyptic survival situations in mind.

Con #1) I am not the President, a member of congress, a Supreme Court justice, Tony Kornheiser or Chris Matthews. The likelihood that I would have access to one of these shelters could be slim.

Con #2) No guns. The strict gun control laws in the district would leave us extremely ill-equipped for defending ourselves from a zombie attack. We would need access to a lot of weapons, which brings me to…

Pro #2) Proximity to Virginia. Virginia has the right to keep and bear arms written into their state constitution. If I can make my way to Virginia, that is where my looting will begin.

Con #3) My apartment building. I live in a 12-story apartment building and it is very well populated. If the majority of the world population becomes zombies, the majority of my building would be full of people shuffling around and trying to eat my brain. There are a few residents I already suspect of being zombies, but they have never done anything to me, so live-and-let-live. Or, live-and-let-living-dead, as the case may be.

Pro #3) My apartment building. On second thought, there are a lot of 20-and-30-something professionals in my building, so we may just fare better than say, a frat house. Or a hospital. Or a retirement community. Although thanks to rent-control laws, there are quite a few retired people who opt to spend their twilight years in the same apartment where they have lived for decades. I am not judging. I am well on my way to becoming one of those people. But they would very likely contract that zombie virus long before I run out of inhalers & join their ranks.

Conclusion: The likelihood of the average citizen surviving in Washington, DC [edit: as compared to other geographical areas] = 50/50.

It may seem like I am over thinking this question, but I think it’s been a healthy exercise. It's always good to be prepared for any situation. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention think so. My thoughtful consideration has taught me that it’s probably in my best interest to become friendly with a few more Virginians. And important government officials. I currently have a disproportional number of friends who are attorneys, which might serve me well if the zombies were just stealing my property or sexually harassing me, but fairly worthless for battling the average brain-eating variety of zombies. I don’t know that their extensive knowledge of the United States Code or their exceptional wardrobes will be much good in that situation. Unless they are from Virginia, of course. If they are from Virginia, they may have just moved to the top of my dance card.


Anonymous said...

I vehemently disagree with your analysis. At best in any major metropolitan area the odds of surviving the zombie apocalypse would be no greater than 5% & more likely closer to say 2%. More people means more risks including number of zombies difficulty of evacuation availability of resources & sheer panic. Not to mention natural water boundaries found in many major cities that cut off directions of egress for most people. Living in any urban area would mean almost certain death while rural areas might see the odds go up to 50% but I wouldn't expect more than 30-40% anywhere. Good luck!!

Kathleen said...

Okay, perhaps I need to clarify the 50/50 statement. This means as compared to anywhere else. It is not a complex algorithm taking into consideration the likelihood of survival in general. Compared to other cities that do not have their own Pentagon, DC's chances are better. Compared to less populous areas, worse. On that scale, I'd put DC in the middle. It's meant to be relative to other areas. I try to keep the math to a minimum.

Paul said...

Have you listened to this? It talks about at least two shows I know you like, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad.