Zombie Combat – Alone in the woods
Zombie scenarios most frequently have one thing in common. They focus on a “first encounter”. Basically, what would you do and how would you react when a zombie outbreak occurs. It’s an interesting question and one that’s been explored in literature for centuries. I think part of the allure of planning for a zombie apocalypse is that it is easy for us to rationalize away the extreme consequences of a disaster scenario within the context of a supernatural event, i.e. the dead coming back to life. It’s not as scary as a nuclear attack or a rapidly spreading epidemic of a highly contagious disease.
For this month’s edition of Zombie Combat, this will not be a ‘first encounter’ scenario. This time we’ll make the setting AFTER the initial outbreak. You’ve survived the first wave of destruction, and proven yourself capable of survival and defending yourself.
Let’s go on a camping trip.
A zombie outbreak has decimated society. You have managed to escaped an urban environment and are traveling by foot through dense forested areas. Luckily, you are armed with a 9mm pistol and have plenty of high-powered ammunition in your mag can. Your inventory also includes a tactical flashlight and a razor-sharp Bowie knife. It is nightfall. You and someone close to you set up a campsite to rest. While the threat of wandering zombies attacking you is real, you haven’t seen any of the walking dead for over a week.
As you lie sleeping in your tent, a faint noise causes you to stir. You reach for your gun and your senses go to full alert. Clearly, something is outside of your tent and beginning to investigate what few supplies you left unguarded. A stiff breeze masks any smells and whoever or whatever is outside your tent is dead silent. You hold your breath and click the safety off your weapon…
What do you do?
Evasive, Defensive, or Offensive?
Prepare to attack. A strong offense is the best defense, but hold on a just a minute! Let’s dig a little deeper into possible solutions. Thanks to the armed guards over at Colorado Protective Services for their valuable insight into this situation. We polled these professional tough guys and here is what they had to say, ranked Good, Better, and Best.
Good – Guns a’blazing
Who shot first, Han or Greedo? Well, if you ever make your way to Mos Eisley Cantina, we know where you stand. Whatever is outside your tent likely doesn’t have your best interest in mind. The chances that it’s a potential ally rummaging through your supplies are very low. Open fire with your 9mm and double tap just to make sure. The threat is eliminated. Congratulations; you’ve just given away your position to every zombie or bandit within earshot, and now you have holes in your tent. Learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them; sleep in shifts and properly secure your equipment.
Better – Remember the Alamo
According to one of the Colorado Protective Services burly guards, Damian, he’s saving his bullets. Opting for stealth, he suggested investigating the intruder with his flashlight and taking out the perp with the Bowie knife. But, Damian is giant of a man and would probably give a brown bear a decent fight. Decapitating a zombie in the dark with a Bowie knife might not be a viable option for everyone, but it would definitely keep your position a secret. Also your tent isn’t going to be leaking during the next thunderstorm. Just keep in mind, Jim Bowie died defending the Alamo. Make sure you don’t meet the same fate.
Best – Meet the threat with appropriate level of force
According to Ben Dalessandri, a former cop and body-guard to high level V.I.P.’s in the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s best to wait until the threat attacks your tent. If there’s a chance that the disturbance could move on, for example a wild animal, you need to exhaust all of your possibilities before resorting to lethal force. Being trigger happy can lead to more issues than it’s worth, but there’s a high probability you’re going to have put the zombie or thief down. Your survival and the loved one camping in the tent next to you compels you. When the time comes to use violence, hold nothing back.
The closest possible example we have to a horde of zombies attacking a campground is the grizzly bear attack at Soda Butte Campground in 2010. Here is a brief synopsis taken from page one of the report (US Fish and Wildlife©).
In the early morning hours of 28 July 2010, an adult female grizzly bear accompanied by 3 yearlings attacked 3 separate people in 3 different tents in the Soda Butte Campground. The initial attack was inflicted on Mr. Ronald Singer at approximately 0200 hours, who was bitten through his tent on his lower left leg. Mr. Singer punched the bear several times and the bear left. The second attack was inflicted on Mrs. Deborah Freele at approximately 0215 hours; she was initially bitten on her upper left arm and then bitten on her lower left arm. She then received a slight bite to her left leg and then the bear left. The third attack was inflicted on Mr. Kevin Kammer at an unknown time, presumably after the first 2 attacks. Mr. Kammer was camping by himself, and was killed and partially consumed at his campsite. All of these attacks occurred in a 27-site campground, of which 24 sites were occupied by people on the night of the attacks.
In all three of the attacks, the grizzly attacked the camper THROUGH the tent. Although the fatality of Mr. Kammer is noted to have taken place approximately 4′ from his tent, the report clearly establishes that he was dragged from his tent by the bear.
Evidence indicated that the victim had been attacked in this tent and had been pulled by his head and shoulders through a hole ripped in the insect screen of his tent. (page 6.)
Odds of Survival
If you are camping after an initial outbreak of a zombie apocalypse and you have survived hordes of the undead, you should survive a zombie intrusion into your campground. Armed and dangerous, you need to put the zombie down fast and furious, but don’t get trigger happy. As the grizzly bear attack shows us, a little nylon tent and bug mesh isn’t going to stop the undead from taking a chunk of your flesh.
Zombie Combat is a series that investigates hypothetical situations involving the undead in melee combat. Will you fight, run, or hide? Have a suggestion for Zombie Combat? Leave a comment below or email JohnJRambeaux@yahoo.com.