published Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

David Cook: Will Chattanooga survive a zombie apocalypse?

If — or when — the zombie apocalypse begins, what are our odds here in the Scenic City?

Don’t say you haven’t thought about it, especially after recent stories of late-night cannibalism (the face-eating man in Miami, the heart-and-brains-eating college student in Maryland).

You can’t swing a cerebral cortex without hitting a new zombie film or book, making zombie culture so popular that one blogger declared zombie-ism as the disease of the 21st century.

A Harvard psychiatrist has published a mock medical-paper on the workings of a zombie virus, and even the dour-faced Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — not normally known for being funny — maintains a zombie blog and checklist on zombie preparedness.

Even the rail-splitter Abe Lincoln was a vampire hunter, which means we should take a serious look at what that makes Dick Cheney.

Why so many zombies? Perhaps it’s our subconscious, reflecting on the emptiness of post-modern life, with its cubicles, traffic jams and hundred-year mortgage payments. Who’s to say Fred in accounting is not really half-dead? Have you seen him after his lunch break?

Intellectuals are usually the first to get eaten in zombie films, so enough ivory tower talk. The question remains: Between the good people of Hamilton County and the undead, who wins?

I’ll offer five factors for consideration. Feel free to continue the debate in the online comments.

Factor one: Civil War battlefields.

More than 30,000 soldiers died in the Battle of Chickamauga. Their bodies are still there. Enough said.

Advantage: zombies.

Factor two: the Chattanooga Track Club.

Most zombies are slow, shuffling and stumbling like the last folks to leave Riverbend, which means a 15-minute miler can outrun the undead. There are road or trail races nearly every weekend, which means we are a fast city.

Advantage: Hamilton County humans. (Note: Zombies in recent films, such as those in “28 Days Later,” are faster than ever, which means this advantage may only apply to runners like Phoebe Wright).

Factor three: Republicans.

From protecting gun rights to legislating stricter voter identification, the Republican agenda not only serves its constituent base but also quietly wages war against the zombie threat.

Zombies have no birth certificates, which means purging voter ID laws serves to oust the unidentifiable. Plus, a well-placed bullet usually stops an advancing zombie.

“These are sold out,’’ said Timothy Turner, salesman at Shooter’s Depot.

On the wall behind him: two life-size shooting targets. In one, a mild-mannered balding businessman wearing glasses and carrying a briefcase (see earlier point about intellectuals) is attacked by two zombies.

In another poster (displayed next to the target of Osama bin Laden) a red-mouthed zombie is about to bite the neck of a well-endowed blonde who seems to be missing her bra, and in a few moments, her brains.

Turner said some targets even explode fake blood when shot, and that one ammo company makes rounds, or bullets, specifically for zombies. Turner says it’s all for fun, but did note one actual event that did drive up gun sales.

“When the president was elected, it really skyrocketed sales,’’ he said.

See? Republicans!

Advantage: humans.

Factor four: country folks.

“Listen to the Hank Williams Jr. song ‘A Country Boy Can Survive’ and that will tell you everything you need to know,’’ said my friend Matt Nooga.

Nooga’s been watching zombie films since he was young, and since been involved in the creation of zombie-crowded haunted houses here and in Atlanta. His theory: survivors of the zombie apocalypse will be the ones who can live off the land.

“Country people,’’ he said. “We know how to make it. I can survive in the woods and take my family with me.’’

Finally, our secret weapon. We need a group working under the radar, unknown even to normal, everyday citizens (like Fred in accounting). This group must have special authority to act in emergencies, and have the support of the sheriff.

Such a group may seem irrelevant, but when the zombies come out, their purpose will be fully revealed.

The Hamilton County posse!

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. His columns will appear regularly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and on Tuesday in an online-only version.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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Bumpkin said...

David Cook.

Is this what you went to school for? Is this what you dreamed about writing when you where younger?

This is garbage.

June 26, 2012 at 7:57 a.m.
JJohn said...


I enjoyed this piece. Every other day its the same news, someone gets shot here, scandal there, political problems there. It was nice to just read something and chuckle.

Thanks for making me laugh this morning.

June 26, 2012 at 8:59 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

David, I enjoyed this piece too. With all the zombie stories out there, how could it not be a good story for the paper. I especially loved the posse twist at the end! I think Bumpkin is just jealous.

June 26, 2012 at 9:46 a.m.
Salsa said...
June 26, 2012 at 10:15 a.m.
davidcook said...

Bob Hope always says it best. Glad most of you enjoyed the column. Still makes me wonder: why so much attention towards zombies these days?

June 26, 2012 at 10:32 a.m.
Bumpkin said...

You wonder why there is some much attention? You wrote the story. This isn't the first pill of drivel you have penned about zombies. It your age, don't you think you could write something that as meaning?

June 26, 2012 at 11 a.m.
choptalker said...

Maybe this one hit too close to home for Bumpkin.

June 26, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
agreenwood1990 said...

Perhaps Bumpkin is a "zombie sympathizer?"

June 26, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
Bumpkin said...

Yes, I am a zombie sympathizer. You caught me. I also like vampires, comic books and can't relate to people other than in chat rooms. Looks like agreenwood1990, choptalker, JustOneWoman, JJohn, Salsa, the horrendous author and I have something in common.

June 26, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
RiddleMeThis129 said...

Wow Bumpkin. If you don't think you'll like an article then don't read it. It's that simple. I guess some people don't seem to understand that humor is still allowed in the media, but that must be difficult for someone WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOR OR PERSONALITY AT ALL to understand. One other thing. You may want to proof read your comments before you post them. Your grammar in "You wonder why there is some much attention? You wrote the story. This isn't the first pill of drivel you have penned about zombies. It your age, don't you think you could write something that as meaning?" is pretty horrible.

June 26, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.

Actually it's quite likely the bodies from the Civil War have totally decomposed, due to them not being securely buried.

I pity those who live in cities with vast crypts though, if we have Skeletal Zombies.

Flesh Zombies wouldn't be an issue though.

June 26, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.
jopeck said...

Gracious. This headline reminds me all over again why we cancelled the TimesFreePress. What nonsense.

June 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.
agreenwood1990 said...

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse-My checklist: AR-15 MRE's 10,000 rounds .223 ammunition A fully functional garden A shelter beneath your home Several water filters (the kind for use in the wilderness, not a brita) All of your well armed friends Sounds like a recipe for success to me!

June 26, 2012 at 6:18 p.m.
agreenwood1990 said...

jopeck certainly does not sound prepared to me!

June 26, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.
Leaf said...

Laugh it up, people. You won't be laughing so hard when Z-day rolls around and I eat your brains.

  • ivy-tower intellectual
June 27, 2012 at 3:37 p.m.
omninewsorg said...

I hope we see is a follow up to the article after the zombie apocalypse, and that should be sometime after Dave Canterbury becomes the ruler of Ohio.

June 27, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

We have become a zombie NATION, as it is. You know, back in the time of the American Revolution, could you even imagine all these people on the farms everywhere, what they would have thought if they saw what we see happening now here today? Do you honestly think they would have just sat back and watch it all happen before their very eyes? Do you think they would have blatantly become participants with this system, as corrupt as it has turned out to be?

Let me tell you, they went to WAR, my friends. They did that because they had enough of the tyranny. And it's going to happen again -- REAL SOON! We are in the final hour -- RIGHT NOW! Just you wait and find out this summer -- maybe even later in the year -- when it all gets here! You people don't think it's something to take at all that seriously now, but you just wait and find out when it all hits the fan. Most Americans are going to wind up in the cross-hairs of these mercenaries. They will be caught in the crossfires. Why do you think they set up a spy grid everywhere? Think about it! They now have the opportunity to lock down the United States just as Hitler wished he could have done back then.

We read in the Scriptures where Jesus went into the Temple, and the first thing he did was throw out the moneychangers. Who were the moneychangers? The moneychangers were the money men, otherwise known as merchants. Basically, they were the same types who operate even today running the whole show, controlling the world right now. The same kind of people that some of us free thinkers like to call the globalists. They are very evil people who are in control right now. All they care about is money, lust, power, greed, etc. and so on. You see, that is all the Devil does. That's all he is about. But when these kinds of groups of people get together and they form, they become deeply rooted in the schools, the government, and nearly EVERYWHERE now.

I'm here to tell you, folks, that we are now in that age (according to what we are told about in Matthew, chapters 10 and 24), whether you like to know that or not. Whether you believe it or not -- it doesn't matter. It doesn't change the truth of the matter. It doesn't change reality.

June 28, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

And if people don't come to terms with my belief in the truth, then they are truly my enemies. And I make no apologies for what I just now said. The external influences out there will not keep plaguing me. When they come around to distract me away from my spiritual agenda and awareness, that is when there is a big problem for me. So now that is why I have gone silent with more people. I have had to cut ties, due to contentions.

June 28, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
dao1980 said...

"He's everywhere he's everywhere!"

Who is it you say?.. Santa Clause? God?.. Nope,.. it's just Sean.

He's off his meds, escaped the basement, and got ahold of momma's compruter.

June 28, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

We have failed as the "Church". It's already over for many of us.

The nation has yet to ever repent in masses.

We are all going to be tried and tested during the difficult times and rough road ahead of us, and we will see who remains strong and endures until the end. God will see who His real followers are and how much they remain trustful to Him and who love and serve Him. Very soon, maybe even this year, when we are all facing the Great Tribulation, there will be those many people who have stayed in their comfort zones that will be unprepared when the bottom drops out, both physically, mentally, AND spiritually.

We have already lost our moral compass as a society, collectively. We will see lives lost -- many of them -- due to this nation's lack of moral compass. Evil is judgment for evil. We have wicked leaders taking over this country because that is exactly what we deserve here collectively. You don't have to like it, but it's the truth. A righteous people cannot be ruled by tyrants. They will not allow it. It is not compatible. But are we truly a righteous People? Think about it. Have we given up our rights for a temporary feeling of false security? Yep. Ever since the Civil War.

June 28, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

You know, there are certain people I have come to realize, at a point now in my lifetime, that are just so content and so satisfied in their complacency, in their comfort zones. And whenever someone challenges their safety net they seem to always stay in or remain insulated in, it begins to be a red flag somehow for them, according to what they believe, or what they already think for their preconceptions. You know, it’s as if someone is taking a Teddy-Bear from a little boy. Then they like to accuse me of “invading their boundaries”. Why is this? Because, quite simply, I am somehow thought of as threatening in one way or another to their ivory towers, metaphorically speaking. Maybe it’s a bubble that they enjoy living in, as well, I don’t know. Maybe, just perhaps, they wait for their own tragic demise to occur. So you see, they insist on staying in the house, even though it burns down, metaphorically speaking. They have such a territorial guard over their own conscience. Somehow they refuse the facts, even if you were to show them the proof of those facts. So this is how much they protect their denial. They simply don’t confront it. It’s almost like telling a child the truth about Santa Claus, in that he doesn’t exist. Just because many others might drink the Kool-Aid of government propaganda, or they feed their minds with whatever they like to regurgitate from the mainstream (LAMEstream!) media, it doesn’t automatically make what they believe to be factual. It just doesn’t. They don’t give all the facts, anyway, just what they are permitted to. They don’t report all the things they should be. They are controlled news.

June 28, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

And the truth is NOT voted in or ushered in by a majority, despite however appealing it may or may not be, or however convenient or popular something is to many people. Okay? Just as Blasé Pascale, the famous mathematician once said:“We live in times of which the truth is so obscure, and falsehood is so embraced, that unless you love the truth, you can never know it.” So even if the majority wants to change the answer from 2 and 2 equaling 4 to 2 and 2 equaling 5, they certainly have the freedom to do so, and that is their choice, but they are still wrong. So they have the freedom to be wrong, and they have the right to be wrong. Even if it is not accepted widely as an established position by those having charisma or influence or prestige, or whatever they hold sway over people with, it does not matter. 2 and 2 is always going to equal 4 in actuality, and never 5, even if others want to change it to equaling 5. So they can’t change the facts of reality. Regardless of how many people accept the facts or not. And even if the whole world were to single me out ostracize me or abandon me for what I know I’m right about, it’s never going to be enough to pressure me into going along with the crowd, or compromising my position, as far as I’m concerned, and as long as I can help it. Okay? And if that makes me “stubborn”? Oh well, I guess that’s me then…Mr. Stubborn. I don’t have a problem with it. I am just not going to go their direction about things. If that makes me a “non-conformist”, then so be it. I’m proud of that. I will go to my grave standing for what I know is right, continuing in solidarity, because my knowledge is sovereign. Even if I stand alone, I really don’t care. I am not trying to win a popularity contest of impress many people. I am not concerned whether or not I have the approval of many or no-one. I have no interest in contending or competing with others, because I know that the vast majority of society has turned out to be lost in the sauce anyway. And if it has to come to such a resort as me against the world, then so be it, I am content with that. Bring it on. If that makes me an “anti-social”, well, so what? If it makes me “radical”? Well, guess what? I could care less what the world thinks. The world receives their own. They will typically follow the crowd – even right over the cliff.

June 28, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...



The preceding definitive terms are what I use to analyze or describe the condition of this society and what the masses of Americans are currently suffering from.

June 28, 2012 at 4 p.m.
Bumpkin said...

Sean Dickerson needs to get a life.

June 28, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

dao1980 needs to learn how to spell.

June 28, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

Bumpkin needs to also change his/her name.

Was his mother drunk when she named him/her?

June 28, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.
Sean_Dickerson said...

(or....perhaps not his/her....but....IT? I can never tell anymore.)

June 28, 2012 at 4:07 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Wow Sean, speaking ill of someones mother... sounds like good Christian talk to me.

June 28, 2012 at 4:13 p.m.
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