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Since its release in 1968, Night of the Living Dead has become a cult movie classic. Director George Romero pioneered (or re-pioneered) a genre that suggested quite strongly that the undead make terrible neighbors. Zombies have poor diet choices and are even less interesting than a Senate sub-committee panel. Most people want to avoid them like the plague that they carry. AMC has followed in the zombie tradition with a TV mini-series—The Walking Dead—about human survivors faced with legions of zombies created by a catastrophic plague . . .

The most disturbing part of The Walking Dead: its preoccupation with the soap opera lives of its principal characters, a situation that will have viewers rooting for the zombies on more than one occasion. In every episode.

But the latest episode had soap opera mixed in with gun issues and the debate seemed pretty ridiculous in view of the circumstances. A couple with a young son roughly about 12 years old locked horns about whether the kid should get some gun training. The kid wanted to learn how to use a weapon and his mother was against the idea. Huh?

In an earlier episode, said boy (who remembers names?) had been accidentally shot by a rifle bullet that traveled through a deer. He survived the experience after some serious surgery and apparently that left a bad impression on his mother about misuse of weapons. Perhaps even a bigger impression than soulless zombies that dine on living flesh and have pretty poor table manners.

Eventually the woman acquiesced to her husband’s request and allowed the boy to begin weapons training. Am I the only one who failed to see why an ability to use a firearm under these conditions is essentially a no-brainer? Incidentally, a brain seems to be filet mignon for the zombie crowd so failure to shoot hungry zombies may make the term very accurate.

On their best day mini-series are ground zero for advancing soap opera plots, but I  was a little confused about the point of a gun debate in the middle of a zombie program. So confused that I was unable to discern which side of the gun debate was being advanced by the Walking Dead writers with this particular plotline.

And so I put it to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia: is anyone on planet earth stupid enough to NOT want a gun when they really, really need it? If so, has anyone notified the people who run the Darwin awards? Meanwhile, OK, yes, I’m going to ask. Which gun would be best for a young man facing the undead on a regular basis?

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    • I like the show, although the soap opera stuff is starting to get to me. I also wouldn’t use it as an example on how to handle a zombie outbreak. I thought the first season was a lot better, but I don’t think I’d head for downtown Atlanta during a zombie outbreak on horseback.

  1. is anyone on planet earth stupid enough to NOT want a gun when they really, really need it?

    Yes. Carolyn McCarthy, especially if the gun has that shoulder thing that goes up.

    • Nonsense. It’s not like Carolyn (or Schumer, etc) forgoes Secret Service protection, or has them disarmed. She’s only against _you_ being able to defend yourself.

      Firearms are for the elite class, not the likes of you and I.

  2. i watched the new episode last night and I knew it would be on your blog today! Remember the kid stole a gun and was carrying it mexican style without his parents knowing. Thats what got his mom so upset. And zombies dont need food to survive they just have nothing better to do then to tear apart humans and eat them.

  3. That sounded like a gun debate- but it wasn’t. It was a lost innocence, coming of age debate. Mom is not ready to let her child go to war against the zombies and she’s in denial because she still desparately hopes to protect her children; especially while pregnant. Also, good zombie shows are NEVER really about the zombies. They are about what happens to the survivors under unspeakable stress- so every debate is more fierce, etc. She married a cop so she can’t be too anti-gun.

  4. Which gun would be best for a young man facing the undead on a regular basis?

    You asked for it…Assuming they had the ammo… A Rossi .410/.22LR combo, or better yet… if he could handle it a 20 gauge/.223 combo

  5. i am a BIG fan of the comics and am waiting for the next issue to come out in December. the show is pretty great, but is a major departure from the comic. The funny part is that Lori (ricks wife) is as annoying as flaky as she is in the show. Rick and Carl are much more dark figures in the comic, who are not afraid to do what is necessary. in the show, they are still pretty early on in the story and have changed it pretty substantially, which is not too bad, just don’t expect it to be the comic because it is not ever going to be. they did a good job of interpreting the argument over if carl (shot little boy) can learn to shoot. in the comic lori comes around when (surprise) carl smokes a walker that was about to get her. it will be interesting how they represent this in the show.what is killing me is this “missing sophia” thing they have been extending for WAYYY too long.

    • Yeah, the “Missing Sophia” thing…uhhg.

      She’s just as crazy and useless as her crazy Mom (Carol). I hope the Walkers get her.

      The Walking Dead does a poor job of portraying women. I get the feeling that it was written by nerdy twenty something man-boys who dont get many dates.

      • Third on the missing Sophia thing. It’s been literally half the season that they’ve been looking for her – they need to wrap it up, fast.

  6. I have read most of the series (the comics) in graphic novel form and I have to say that out of all the characters, Rick’s wife Lori, is probably the worst.

    She’s shrill, unreasonable and generally numb. And not very realistic. She yells at Rick pretty much every time he opens his mouth. Seriously, who has the energy for that kind of bitchy-ness? Poorly written character.

    My wife is not exactly crazy about guns and I am sure that she would have serious reservations if I suggested that our boy start totin’ a heater at age 9…but if the Dead were rising, and walking around eating people you better believe she would get religion…and Fast.

    One of the reasons I gave up on the Walking Dead TV show was that the characters seem to be utterly stupid. Riding around on an un-muffled Harley (can you say “ringing the dinner bell”). The entire group dismounting the RV and walking thru a road jammed up with broken-down cars and littered with corpses and most of the group is not armed.

    No one in their right mind would go outside without SOME kind of weapon. How many times would you need to see someone eaten by a walking corpse before you decided that walking around un-armed and oblivious was a bad idea?

    • @ steve

      +1 i was so happy at the end of the prison story arc in the comic (not giving away spoilers) Lori sucks so bad, they did a great job translating her character in the show, they really capture how much she sucks.

    • Keep in mind that any zombie movie/tv show will always depict the stupid survivors. One that featured the smart survivors would be terribly dull.

        • This is not true, I have read several books by smaller authors that portray the zombie thig without all the assholes and they were extremely fun. Much better than the mainstream zombie stories with stupid people.

          I don’t get why so many people insist that a story without people doing extremely stupid crap wont be as good. But then again, I don’t watch jersey shore either so maybe I’m the minority.

        • @ matt g.
          what i was agreeing with was the mainstream tv/ movie media being full of dummies. the video game series “left 4 dead” and the books series “day by day Armageddon” are two products that i really enjoy that employ intelligent characters.

    • One of the reasons I gave up on the Walking Dead TV show was that the characters seem to be utterly stupid.

      Amen to that. In a zombie apocalypse EVERYONE would get tactically smart real fast because otherwise
      a) they’d get eaten (by zombies).
      b) they’d get beaten (by humans they endanger).

      A real EOTW drama would feature horrible choices like caring for elderly or injured friends or family. But TWD is a cartoon soap opera, and not a very good one.

  7. Nah, Lori carried a gun (the one who appeared anti-gun to the OP author). So I don’t think she’s a ‘trope’. Only Sophia and her Mom haven’t carried guns from what I’ve seen. Carl did, but he snuck it. Everyone else has clearly been armed except when they took Andrea’s away because she tried to kill herself. And she’s pretty much proven she can’t handle one.

    If anyone is a trope it’s the vet, but his character won’t last.

  8. “…is anyone on planet earth stupid enough to NOT want a gun when they really, really need it?”

    No. At the moment of truth a person is going to grab and use whatever he can to to survive. At that moment all the posturing of “polite society” go out the window and scratching, clawing, kicking, chopping, stabbing, bludgeoning, or shooting take their place. People want to live, it’s really that simple. And in that moment shooting really is the most civilized thing to do, is it not?

    My pick for zombie dispatching is a 9mm carbine with a red dot sight and a bunch of 30 round mags. Make that two Kel-Tec Sub-2000 carbines – one at hand and one stashed in a back pack. 😉

  9. I’m not too crazy about the show’s treatment of firearms in general, but I shrugged over the gun argument scene, figuring that it was just an excuse for interpersonal conflict.
    The worst part of the Walking Dead is that this extended farmstead stay has sapped the vitality and momentum out of the show.
    BTW, Scott Wilson’s best performance was probably 30 years ago in William Peter Blatty’s Ninth Configuration, as Capt. Cutshaw. Stacy Keach was awesome in that movie, too…

  10. I stopped watching this show last season. It’s horrible. Zombies and guns can obviously only carry something so far and this show is far past that point. A good drama needs to be character driven, this obviously isn’t.

  11. “Question of the Day: Are Gun Control Advocates Brain Dead?”

    Answer: Yes, the Zombies are the Gun Control advocates!

    My Choice of gun to fight off Zombies? My Benelli Nova 12ga. Slugs & 00′ Buck

  12. Another vote for a Ruger 10/22 with a red dot sight and a supressor. That would be a zombie death machine, as long as you could keep it fed with 25 round mags.

    The Walking Dead isn’t about zombies. Its about people, and how they react to stress and change.

    And I’m a huge fan of the comic, so the little twists they throw in that change the plot just slightly from the comic is great.

  13. I’m going to go with an AR-15 in M4 configuration, or an M4 if you can grab one from the National Guard…that apparently couldn’t use them and got e’t.Reasons:
    1. 40 years of ergonomics means it’s designed for ease of use and control.
    2. Ammo is available.
    3. If .223 ammo gets scarce, you can drop in a .22LR conversion kit.
    4. Minimal to no recoil.
    5. Amenable to suppression if you’re worried about noise giving away your position. Zombies are likely no better than normal humans at identifying the origin of supersonic bullet cracks from a couple hundred meters away.
    6. Far more reliable head-splitting than a .22LR. Yes, .22LR is on this country like a rash, so it’s convenient and available but .22LR vs. skull is not the terminal ballistics choice I would make, and certainly not beyond infected-breath distance. I want to be somewhere that I can see them coming and begin the fun 400m out or so, a scoped and rested .223 can bust heads at this distance with some degree of reliability. A .22LR is fine if you want to start shooting at 100m, but I don’t want them to get that close.
    7. If they do get that close, you need to hit the brain to stop the zombie with a .22LR, whereas with a .223 you can take out the hip/pelvis and get a mobility kill. Good enough to stop the imminent threat, you can run away or zero out the prostrate zombie at your leisure.

    A .22LR pistol for cleaning up after an engagement is fine. But if the zombies come, my kids get ARs. 9mm carbines would not be a bad option, but there’s no more recoil with a .223 and the weight difference is negligible. You’re giving up 300m of standoff distance for no real gain unless you’re going 147gr/suppressed for the stealth factor.

  14. Glock 9mm for a handgun. I’m not a huge Glock fan, but for an apocalypse you go with light, common and reliable. (Common magazines are another plus).

    A .22 LR may be ideal for slow zombies. For fast, .223.

  15. The best solution for a zombie outbreak is a whole bunch of those M4A3R3 Zippo tanks that the Marines used on Iwo Jima. If you’re going to actually engage zombies, you need to be able to take out swaths of them, remember it’s the numbers that get you.

    For firearms, a suppressed m9 would be great, parts and ammo are available at any military outpost, and most gun shops, police stations, etc. A suppressed .22 pistol would also be good, like a Ruger mk III. Handguns present less barrel for the zombie to grab if they’re lurking around a corner, hiding in a closet, etc. For rifles, I like the Mosin-Nagant 91/30. The steel buttplate and bayonet keep you in the game long after you run out of ammo.

  16. Question of the Day: Are Gun Control Advocates Brain Dead?=YES
    Which gun would be best for a young man facing the undead on a regular basis?= I can think of nothing better than an AR-15 carbine

  17. If the shtf I will be bringing my .300 whisper ar. I would try to get my hands kn a .22 upper just in case I exhaust 1000 rounds of .300 whisper and all my reloading supplies.

  18. Living in the UK means I get the series a bit later than y’all.
    Also living in the United Kingdom of Hoplophobia I’d suggest using my Dungeons and Dragons knowledge and let our hyopthetical young person lose with a SuperSoaker filled with Holy Water. That’ll show those pesky zombies.


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