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Should Gun Guys Care About ‘The Walking Dead’?

by James Tarr   |  April 11th, 2013 22


Zombies are rather popular in American culture right now, especially among gun owners. The biggest example of the undead’s popularity is the TV show The Walking Dead, which saw huge ratings in Season 3. Not only did it have good ratings for cable—it’s broadcast on AMC—most nights it beat every other show on TV, including shows on the big three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS).

One reason zombies and The Walking Dead are so popular is the heavy emphasis on firearms in the genre. When you’re dealing with a creature that wants to eat you and can only be “killed” by destroying its brain, nothing works better at keeping their teeth away from your neck than guns.

That said, there is also a large contingent of gun owners whose opinion of the zombie craze can best be summed up by the conviction, “Zombies are stupid.” OK, I get that—if you can’t get past the whole “dead walking the earth” thing, the entertainment value of anything zombie tends to slide toward zero. That said, The Walking Dead is hugely popular for a lot of reasons, and there are a lot of lessons—symbolic and otherwise—in it for anyone interested in firearms for self defense and emergency preparedness.

The Mother of All Natural Disasters
Can you think of a more extreme example of a natural disaster than the Zombie Apocalypse? Emergency responders overwhelmed or out of the picture entirely, power and utilities down, deadly creatures roaming everywhere. Even the federal government has gotten into the emergency preparedness game with, recommending everyone have a kit loaded with everything you and your family would need to survive for 72 hours.

The best perspective on why you should prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse is something that’s been posted for years on the FAQ page of the forum at

Q: Do you really think Zombies are real or is this some sort of zombie movie fan site?
A: Zombie Squad realizes that it is quite possible for someone to live their entire lives without encountering the undead nuisance. However, we hold fast to the belief that if you are prepared for a scenario where the walking corpses of your family and neighbors are trying to eat you alive, you will be prepared for almost anything.
Zombie Squad is very serious about promoting public awareness of the need for survival preparation and contingency planning.

The Long and Short of It
Everyone tends to think of a natural disaster as a short-term event, hence the “72-hour” bags. But what if the problem goes on and on? The heroes in The Walking Dead have been dealing with corpses for three seasons—about a year in their world—and it appears their world has forever changed. Finding food and water is just as much of a priority for them as avoiding the undead. It took months, if not years, for life to return to normal in Louisiana after to Hurricane Katrina, and people in New England had no power for weeks after Sandy.

You Dance with Who You Brung
After a disaster is not the time to be thinking about buying a gun for protection or stocking up on supplies. The survivors of The Walking Dead use whatever weapons they can scrounge—knives, screwdrivers, handguns, crowbars, shotguns, baseball bats, rifles, a samurai sword and even a crossbow.

Also, the survivors quickly found out sound attracts walkers, so in the third season we saw them using guns with homemade suppressors. I particularly like the one made from the body of a Maglite. In the most recent season, they twice stumbled upon supplies of AR-15s—and ammo—and they are very very happy about it. If you don’t have what you think you might need to defend yourself or your family simply from a burglar—much less the looting which frequently follows natural disasters in this country—you’re doing it wrong.

Hurricanes and Tornadoes Don’t Riot or Loot
Whether the undead ever walk the earth or not, there will be more natural and man-made disasters. Most of the problems besetting the people living in those areas aren’t the storms themselves, but the people using the situation as an opportunity to misbehave. In The Walking Dead, the biggest problem the main group has to deal with by the third season isn’t the zombies, but rather other survivors who want their stuff. The mere presence of a gun won’t deter a zombie, but it sure works on regular people thinking about causing trouble.

Even without any disaster, the world is full of thieves—protect what you’ve got, and don’t start yapping to your neighbors how you’re a one-man army, and you’ve got a generator and enough guns, ammo, food and water to last for years on your own. If things get bad they’ll be standing on your porch knocking. If things get really bad, they won’t knock.

You Can Never Have Too Much Ammo
Does this really need explaining? In the zombie genre you’ll see guns, guns and more guns to deal with the shambling hordes of zombies. Most of the time little thought is given to ammunition by the director or producer, but we know different. Guns have to be fed. Most of us will never burn through an entire magazine shooting at people, living or dead. However, for those rare exceptions, there is nothing like having a lot of ammo available, preferably already loaded into magazines which hold a large number of rounds.

In October, G&A published a story in which an older gentleman with health issues was beset by home invaders—three guys with guns and masks entered his house, plus there was a driver in the getaway car. The homeowner fired multiple shots at the men, seriously wounding one and driving the others away. While they weren’t zombies, the lesson is clear.

Teamwork Saves Lives
Whether it’s the Zombie Apocalypse or a tornado that’s torn up your town, things will need to get done. It is far better to be part of a team working together than trying to go things on your own. In The Walking Dead, somebody always needs to be on watch to make sure the biters are sneaking up behind you. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, you’ll discover your neighbors have all sorts of useful skills, such as carpentry, plumbing or auto repair. Some of them can also stand guard on your house while you sleep.

People working together can accomplish a lot more. During the L.A. riots, store owners worked together to defend their properties. Thanks to teamwork—and their “assault rifles”—they saved their stores.

  • Josh Apple

    It is a great series. The comic book is different enough from the TV show that it is almost like getting two completely different story lines that come from the same zombie premise. The show is so much more about the relationships of the people as opposed to basic buckets of blood zombie killing that you find in so many zombie films.

  • Sanjay Balla

    Yes. That is why we need guns…

  • Don Wyman

    What kind of rifle is the governor using? Is it some sort of 5.56 NATO?

    • zombie slayer 23417

      early style STEYR AUG – specifically banned in 1994
      newer style may be imported again IF proposed gun ban is defeated

  • 2War Abn Vet

    Of course Zombies are real! You only have to listen to Chris Matthews for a few minutes to know that the brain-dead are among us.

    • Brian Holcomb

      Or Joe Biden….

  • Tracy Thorleifson

    Any man who packs a minty vintage Python is OK in my book.

    • Afterschool Carl

      Yeah, Rick gave up his hat pretty easily, but you’ll have to pry that Python from his cold, dead hand.

  • Doc

    The fella with the shotgun in the picture at the top of this article better learn some muzzle control or he could lose one of his allies. At least he has his finger off the trigger.

  • Mario Robledo

    Love the show for showing people at their best and worst. The weapons in the show are very important. They define many of the characters. It’s a show about people with guns holding on to their sanity, not zombies.

  • Steven Clark

    Zombies DC is full of them

  • John Doe

    Well we got a Massive Market Correction on our way .

  • Michael Williams

    I am waiting for season 4 and out of the blue Diane Frankenstine shows up and tries to grab their guns….and a Zombie eats her…that would be GREAT!

    • Unlucky Eddy

      As a Liberal Gun owner I agree…

  • Tim Sheahon

    I think the craze over the walking dead is rediculous. There are plenty of real life scenarios that are here, now, that should be dealt with right away. The hundreds of muslim terrorist raining camps here on US soil. the hordes of Mexican drug cartels operating on US soil, with what appears Holders blessings. As with the musim training cams. Vigilanteis coud have a very real place with the armed citizens of the US for those very certain and real elements. Thoseare the real zombies.

  • Kenneth chestnut

    Once we get the conservatives out we can restore this country to its former glory. Walking/brain dead Republicans are here now and it’s time to fight back. If we could manufacture bullets of common sense and also intelligence wed stand a chance

    • Ravi32

      25 years of CNN exit polls show that without non-high school educated voters the Dems would lose every major election

  • Kenneth chestnut

    Once we get the conservatives out we can restore this country to its former glory. Walking/brain dead Republicans are here now and it’s time to fight back. If we could manufacture bullets of common sense and also intelligence wed stand a chance

    • Ravi32

      yeah, because the fact that over 90% of US murder occurs in virtually 100% democrat cities means Republicans are to blame?

      • Kenneth chestnut

        You’re awesome at making statistics up! Yay public school!

  • Jerry Verdugo

    No, the dead don’t walk. It’s the live criminals who want what you have and then some, that we have to be aware of, which would only happen during a disaster–like a very big earthquake.

  • kiljoy616

    Their weapons are a joke considering its USA, whats with that lame revolver does he think its the wild wild west. The show shows they survive by blind luck and even that seems to be only because they need to keep some characters around.

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