COMMENTARY | The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention issued a statement in an email sent to Huffington Post Thursday that denied the knowledge of the existence of zombies or an ability to reanimate the dead. No, seriously. Talk of a "zombie apocalypse" and a rash of recent cannibalistic stories have given rise to speculative stories and blogs (nearly all of which were written tongue-in-cheek) suggesting civilization is witnessing a ground-zero event signaling the advent of the world being overrun by hordes of flesh and brain-eating undead.
So the CDC thought it should address the oddball topic.
David Daigle, a spokesman for the federal health agency, wrote to 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)."
Good to know, but any truther or conspiracy theorist worth his salt will note that there is nothing definitive about that statement. Placing the words "does not know of" in a denial of existence statement only leaves room for the imaginative and the convinced that that might indeed be part of the problem. The government doesn't know if such a virus or condition exists. But it does not deny the possibility.
Or it's covering it up...
As we know, there is the series of stories this week about men eating the flesh of other men and a segment of the populace. Those who are easily impressionable, slightly delusional, or simply flunkers of grade-school biology immediately latched on to the fantastical stories of reanimated corpses made famous by countless zombie movies (like George Romero's "Living Dead" series) and video games (like the "Resident Evil" series).
Thus, the "zombie apocalypse."
Used to be, just a little common sense would get people through most situations, including ridiculous mass fads like buying pet rocks and the belief in vampires. The participants or casual observers would simply stop participating and observing, removing the popularity of the phenomena. But these days, conspiracy theorists and so-called skeptics and truthers have got official organizations and governments moving to disavow some of the more outrageous claims.
Official denial itself is an admission to these people. Swear to truthfulness on a stack of bibles or produce empirical evidence and their pat response is to simply nod and say that such "proof" is cherry-picked data and part of a vast shadowy cover-up of what is actually going on. Like the old Fox Television show, "The X-Files," used to claim, "The truth is out there." The problem is: With conspiracy theorists, it will always be out there. Government denials, with national security and other vested interests built in, are always suspect.
According to The Sun, Canadian authorities believe that a man named Luka Rocco Magnotto murdered, dismembered, cannibalized, had sex with, and eventually mailed parts of his roommate to various addresses. The video of the gruesome killing (and subsequent actions) was posted online and Magnotto has become an international fugitive, having left Canada for France.
Police in Maryland discovered Thursday that a man killed his housemate, according to the Baltimore Sun, and admitted to eating his heart and part of the man's brain as well.
But the story that started it all occurred last weekend in Miami. The Herald reported that a naked man, later identified as Rudy Eugene, was killed by police after found assaulting a homeless man and literally eating the flesh from his face.
But denying strange phenomena to avert public fears has become a government tradition, from UFO stories to denying the existence of Area 51.
(Even President Obama himself found that the conspiracy theory that he was not a natural born citizen of the United States had gotten such a foothold in the public conscience that he petitioned the state of Hawaii to release a copy of his official birth certificate in 2011. Of course, it only assuaged the curious and the slightly skeptical. Those convinced that he was born somewhere other than Hawaii only went to further lengths to prove that there was a cover-up.)
Still, that the CDC itself felt the need to deny an actual "zombie apocalypse" is in itself an event that should stagger a reasoning individual. The first clue that there is no zombie apocalypse is that the individuals perpetrating the assaults (and killings) were not zombies themselves but living individuals.
It should go without saying that if there are concerned individuals that truly believe that the dead can become reanimated by some pathogen or other means and start running amok eating the functioning brains of those still alive, those concerned would have the least to worry about.
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