How do you kill a zombie? No, not a zombie process killed via command line, but the brain-eating kind. Boom, headshot! Right? We'll get back to that because the Department of Homeland Security announced, "The zombies are coming!" As if warning a zombie apocalypse is imminent, FEMA hosted a webinar for its Citizen Corps encouraging emergency planners "to use the threat of zombies — the flesh-hungry, walking dead — to encourage citizens to prepare for disasters."
It's cute, funny and, with Halloween approaching, possibly a viral approach to disaster preparedness like the CDC's brilliant zombie apocalypse theme. The CDC's campaign was so successful that it crashed the agency's servers. However after real cannibalism, like a man eating a homeless man's face, as well as human heart and brain-eating happened this summer, the panic also forced the CDC to admit that zombies don't really exist. Shocker! The CDC told the Huffington Post, "CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)."
The CDC advises the bare minimum for an emergency kit should include:
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
- Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
- Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
- Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
- Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
- Important documents (copies of your driver's license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
- First Aid supplies (although you're a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)
Yet with the Los Angeles Police Commission telling LAPD officers to document and report the DOJ's controversial "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities," the question morphs from how will we survive the zombie apocalypse, to how will we prepare an emergency preparedness kit without such "suspicious behaviors" flagging us as potentially suspicious domestic terrorists?
Don't be silly by thinking you must actually break the law before cops deem you a potential threat and report you. Paying with cash comes under numerous "you might be a terrorist if" lists. Whatever you do, stocking up on non-perishable food as the feds advise should not include buying "meals ready to eat" since that, too, is potentially suspicious and means you might be a terrorist. "Suspicious activity" at military surplus stores includes making "bulk purchases" of "weatherproofed ammunition or match containers" and "meals ready to eat," as does suspicious purchasing of "night vision devices" like "night flashlights and gas masks."
So "what suspicious behaviors and activities should you report" now? The DOJ, and now the LAPD, warn people to be on the lookout for "potential indicators of terrorist activities" at the following areas [warning: linked PDFs download]: Bulk Fuel Distributors, Construction Sites, Dive/boat Shops, Farm Supply Stores, Financial Institutions, General Aviation Airports, Hobby Shops, Home Improvement and Large Retail Stores, Hotels and Motels, Peroxide-based Explosives, Rental Cars, Rental Properties, Rental Trucks, Shopping Malls and Centers, Storage Facilities.
At home improvement and large retail stores, lumped in with shoplifters who should be considered "suspicious," are people who purchase "a combination of unusual items" like "sponges, candles, matches, bolt cutters;" "night-vision equipment and camouflage apparel;" as well as people who buy "firearms and ammunition out of season." It's a long list, but here are a few:
The newest ridiculous lists repeat the same warnings, such as a warning of people checking out infrastructure, precisely as was stated to be suspicious behaviors at malls; it's not funny that photographers armed with cameras, as opposed to guns, are also so allegedly scary and suspicious. And whether you are stocking up for an emergency, like a plan to use a small UAV drone to scout the area for zombies, or birthday shopping for a hobby enthusiast, you can't seem to win at some stores. For example, it's considered potentially suspicious to either not know enough about a hobby, or to be too inquisitive and ask too much. Be careful of these allegedly suspicious behaviors at Hobby Shops:
You also might not want to store your zombie apocalypse preparedness kits at Storage Facilities, since the following are but a few allegedly suspicious behaviors and activities that "should" be reported:
So...how do you kill zombies? You for sure stand a good chance of being considered suspicious if you follow these directions and buy liquid nitrogen to kill zombies. At Farm Supply Stores the following are but a few "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities:"
FEMA, DHS and CDC all agree that you should have emergency flashlights on hand, so you could maybe bludgeon the zombies' brains out with a flashlight! Oh wait, that's a no, since a previous 'you might be a terrorist if list' warned that buying batteries (for the CDC-recommended emergency radio or flashlight) or flashlight bulbs are considered suspicious when purchased from an electronics store. Buying candles and matches are suspicious at Home Improvement or Retail Shops, but so are buying weatherproof match containers.
Hmmm, you could use a boat to try and get away from the starved and rotting undead masses groaning "Braaaaains." Be cautious about considering that option, though, since the "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Dive/Boat Shops" include:
All the how-to kill a zombie top ten lists agree: buying a gun to shoot a zombie in the head would seem like the best line of defense. However, you can't even buy a paint gun and supplies at a Hobby Shop without potentially being suspicious. Way back in 2004 the Portland Mercury warned, "The stupid government is always offering worthless classes" ... but "they've ignored the far more likely, far more dangerous threat of ZOMBIE INFESTATION." Although that's clearly no longer true, the article advised "when you wake up one morning to find your neighborhood overrun with brain-hungry swarms of the rotting undead" that the best ways to kill zombies are decapitation, bludgeoning, burning and exploding. But good luck acquiring items for that arsenal without your name landing in a suspicious activity report.
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
Smith is an independent contractor and is not affiliated with any vendor that makes or sells information technology.
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