Now that the election is behind us, it is time to address the care and ethical treatment of zombies. First and foremost, we must find another name to call the people who were victims of the Great Infection as the term “zombie” has an extremely negative connotation, much like the word “cooties” once did. By using this type of language to describe our friends and loved ones who are infected we dehumanize them. Using scientific terms, such as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome (ANSDS) or metabolically deficient, appropriately identifies them as victims of the Great Infection rather than horror movie freakazoids. It also acknowledges our belief that medical science will one day find a cure for this dread disease.
Currently, popular opinion holds that the infected are brainless, brain-eating, soulless subhumans. This is in opposition to what we learned during the Great Infection about the process of zombification. The infected died shortly after their infection, but they also quickly revived and exhibited motor function. There are some who believe that this brief period of death is not enough to release the soul of the infected person. Preliminary studies suggest that the soul remains attached to the revived body and, if so, the infected person’s soul retains its spiritual yearnings and may be responsible for some of the retraining we have been able to do at our haven. The soul may be the reason some of the infected can learn to co-exist with humans and one another.
The length of time between death and revival, approximately 5 minutes, is also short enough that the brain function should not be irreversibly impaired. Most people mistakenly believe that the zombie’s loss of speech is a result of brain death. Instead, the inability to speak is directly related to the lack of coordinated muscle movements or ataxia. This deficit, understandably, makes zombies self-conscious and, we believe, contributes to their pre-verbal moaning. Managing the ataxic symptoms through medication has the potential to restore both speech and normal gait and movement to the infected.
Another area that needs to be addressed is the belief that infected individuals are no better than animals. This attitude has led to a great many heinous crimes being committed against the infected. Underground zombie fights have replaced the more traditional dog and cock-fighting, most likely because there are no laws protecting the infected. Michael Vick suffered public humiliation and financial damages due to his penchant for dog fighting. However he could build an arena and televise fights with the infected and, in some quarters, receive public praise for his actions. Just as we protect animals that can’t protect themselves, our nation must enact laws to protect the infected. Banning zombie fighting, zombie vivisection, and the use of zombies to test cosmetics are important first steps in reasserting our commitment to the dignity of all.
As a nation, we must set the example and the tone when it comes to dealing with the infected. Treating them ethically is the first step in repairing the damage done to these individuals.