You can’t make this up: Hundred of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and other emergency personnel are preparing for their worst nightmare, a zombie apocalypse, using countless individuals dressed in Halloween costumes and makeup.
“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the October 31 training demonstration. The event will take place at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island in the San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”
In this specific scenario, “a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes,” writes the Dallas News. “The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies.”
Sometime during the event, some team members will be bitten by zombies and must be treated at a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment. (I’m not making this up – it’s all true.)
“No one knows what the zombies will do I our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” said Barker. “If a law enforcement offices sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”
If this all feels somewhat familiar, your feeling would be correct. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a “Zombie Apocalypse” campaign, using the idea of a zombie apocalypse to inform people about realistic disasters.
Last month, the Homeland Security Department joined the campaign, “telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack,” writes the Dallas News.
So what’s the point? Why spend so much money to create a zombie apocalypse, rather than a realistic disaster event?
“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient,” said defense analyst Loren Thompson. “That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagons calls asymmetric warfare.”
In addition, writes the Dallas News, “organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race, or culture – something that could potentially be seen as offensive.”