When the Zombie Apocalypse happens there are going to be some psychological hurdles to overcome. One being that all of us Survivors are going to have to swallow our humanity and start braining our friends, family and loved ones. Do you have it in you to forget the fact that the Zombie in front of you was once your dear old Grandmother or your neighbor Steve and his 2 Ginger kids? Can you swing that shovel when the heat is on? I sure hope I can, but what does it take to become a blood-thirsty Zed-Hunter? Let’s take a look in this installment of, “Zombie Apocalypse Psychology: Love thy Neighbors… Tough Love with a Shovel!”. Throughout the last 2 centuries we have come to grips with the fact that there are serial killers walking among us. Jack the Ripper, Dahmer, Gacey and recently Dennis Rader the “BTK Killer”. Outwardly they are normal looking people we meet in line at the store, the guy walking past your house or the uncle you never talk to but in-fact they are possibly putting girls down in a well dug into their basement and using their skin to make a suit. But what make these guys (and sometimes gals) able to swallow their humanity and start braining their friends? After a lot of research by criminal psychologists they have come to conclude that most Serial Killers have psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders.
Sociopath is defined as, a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience
As many as 5% of people display psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders. That’s according to experts and the professional bible of mental illnesses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). These personality disorders are marked by antisocial and impulsive behavior, disregard for societal standards, and no indications of fear or guilt.
Sounds like good things to have when the Zombies start shuffling. “I’m the most cold-blooded sonofabitch you’ll ever meet,” said Ted Bundy. “I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill.” The hallmark of the psychopath is the inability to recognize others as worthy of compassion. Victims are dehumanized, flattened into worthless objects in the murderer’s mind. John Gacy, never showing an ounce of remorse, called his victims “worthless little queers and punks,” while the “Yorkshire Ripper” Peter Sutcliffe brashly declared that he was “cleaning up the streets” of the human trash. Again… all good things to have when confronted with your children who are unlovingly trying to eat your face.
Do you have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies in you? Could you take aim at your wife and blow her head off? As tough as I talk and as much training as I’ve put myself and my Survival Team through when the time comes can I? Could I? We won’t know the answer to that until Z-Day comes. I suspect that most people will not be able to do it. Most will end up getting bitten while they hesitate, grappling with their natural internal struggle to suppress the killing of a human being, zombified or not.
Psychopaths/sociopaths are diagnosed by their purposeless and irrational antisocial behavior, lack of conscience, and emotional vacuity. They are thrill seekers, literally fearless. Punishment rarely works, because they are impulsive by nature and fearless of the consequences. Incapable of having meaningful relationships, they view others as fodder for manipulation and exploitation. According to one psychological surveying tool (DSM IIIR) between 3-5% of men are sociopaths; less than 1% of female population are sociopaths.
Psychopaths often make successful businessmen or world leaders. Not all psychopaths are motivated to kill. But when it is easy to devalue others, and you have had a lifetime of perceived injustices and rejection, murder might seem like a natural choice.
- The following are environmental factors, psychiatrists say, which create a sociopath:
- Studies show that 60% of psychopathic individuals had lost a parent;
- Child is deprived of love or nurturing; parents are detached or absent;
- Inconsistent discipline: if father is stern and mother is soft, child learns to hate authority and manipulate mother;
- Hypocritical parents who privately belittle the child while publicly presenting the image of a “happy family”.
Well… I have put little check marks next to all 4 of those. But is it possible to create Psychopaths/Sociopaths later in life once our brains have matured? What exactly does it take to kill someone? Here’s how 21-year-old West Texas Army Pvt. Steven Green described shooting a man who refused to stop at an Iraqi checkpoint: “It was like nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody, and it’s like, ‘All right, let’s go get some pizza,’ ” he told the military newspaper Stars & Stripes. “I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience. And then I did it, and I was like, ‘All right, whatever.’ ”
The reality is that the brains of human beings — unless they fall within the demographic sliver we call psychopaths — are hardwired not to kill other humans. Like rattlesnakes that fatally bite other species but fight fellow rattlers by wrestling them, humans overwhelmingly recoil from homicide. That’s usually a good thing, because it prevents society from disintegrating into bloodthirsty anarchy. But it poses an occupational hazard to some — particularly soldiers, police officers, spies, victims of savage crimes and Zombie Hunters in our case. All of them may face situations in which hesitating to kill is the surest way to get killed.
That’s why military training camps, police academies and even some self-defense pros are constantly searching for more effective methods of suppressing the human revulsion to taking human life — virtually rewiring the brain to react first in certain situations with an automatic response to kill. Target practice on hollowed cabbages filled with ketchup to mimic the way a bullet rips open a human head. Marching to chants of “kill, kill, kill.” Video game simulations that reward points for every successful “shot.” These are among hundreds of techniques that experts say can recondition the human brain.
“Once the bullets start flying, most combatants stop thinking with the forebrain (that portion of the brain that makes us human) and start thinking with the midbrain (the primitive portion of our brain, which is indistinguishable from that of an animal),” writes retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former U.S. Army ranger and West Point professor of military science who coined the term, on his Web site killology.com. “In conflict situations, this primitive, midbrain processing can be observed in the existence of a powerful resistance to killing one’s own kind. … This is an essential survival mechanism that prevents a species from destroying itself during territorial and mating rituals.”
The only thing that has any hope of silencing the midbrain, he argues, is what influenced Pavlov’s dogs: conditioning.
In World War II, when U.S. soldiers got a clear shot at the enemy, only about 1 in 5 actually fired, according to sensational and controversial research by Army historian Brig. Gen. S.L.A. Marshall. It wasn’t that they were cowards: On the contrary, they performed other perilous feats, including running onto the battlefield to rescue fellow soldiers, and sometimes they even placed themselves in greater personal danger by refusing to fire. And yet at the moment of truth, they just couldn’t kill. While modern scholars have debated his methodology, other contemporary researchers have reached conclusions similar to Marshall’s that “fear of killing, rather than the fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure in the individual.”
Today’s apprentice killers train in situations designed to simulate combat as closely as possible, and they rehearse in a fashion that would be instantly recognizable to pioneers of behavior modification, from Ivan Pavlov to B.F. Skinner. The bull’s-eyes have been replaced by human-shaped targets that pop up without warning, for example, with polyurethane faces on balloon bodies inside uniforms. A trainee spots the targets, fires almost on instinct and gets rewarded with points, badges and three-day passes. Over and over, these “kill drills” build muscle memory and acclimate the brain to the act of killing.
So the average person with little to no training will NOT be able to kill his wife and kids let alone his neighbor Tom and his 2 Ginger kids. Without the right re-wiring of the brain most people will simply sit and wait to be bitten. Remember that 5% of people display psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders? I think all of us at DGB and most of your reading may just fall squarely into the category of Elite Zombie Hunters with latent psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorders. Unafraid to brain your momma and especially your ex-wife.