The Walking Dead: 7 Mistakes That Would Get Somebody Killed in a Real Zombie Apocalypse

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(Warning: Spoiler Alert!)

I don’t watch much TV, but my guilty pleasure is AMC’s The Walking Dead. Lots of the preppers I know love watching this show and shouting out advice and criticism – it’s like our version of watching “the big game”.

I have to tell you, watching from a prepper/survival point of view, it seems like this season that the main characters are just muddling along, tempting the writers to kill them off. They definitely aren’t surviving based on any real skills or planning.

Here are some vital mistakes that the group has made just in the last few episodes, and what lessons we can learn from them:

1.) Why would they all follow the lead of a guy who hallucinates about his dead wife and makes horrible decisions?

It’s important that every group has a leader, but that leader should not be followed blindly.  Random hallucinations are not a sign of stellar mental health, and Rick has made a series of terrible rash decisions. He treated his poor wife horribly for a decision she made when she thought he was dead, then had a guilty nervous breakdown, complete with hallucinations, when she died.  He has coldly booted out people who might be good members of the community without even giving it a second thought, creating enemies instead of allies. He tried to keep Michonne out of the group, but luckily for himself, didn’t succeed since she’s saved both him and his son more than once since that time.  He made the executive decision to kick Carol off the island without discussing it with anybody else, even though he too has killed people that perhaps shouldn’t have been killed.  Leaders really shouldn’t be whiny, delusional, judgemental, and reluctant. I have wondered since the beginning why Daryl wasn’t the leader. He’s the one that feeds them, fights for them, and literally, keeps them all alive, so why is he second fiddle to Rick?  A badge and a resume mean nothing in a survival situation – skills and integrity are the only qualifications that matter. (Learn more about different personality traits in a survival situation HERE.)

2.) Why on earth didn’t they have bug out bags?

After losing umpteen potential homes over the past 3 seasons, could someone explain to me why no one thought it would be a good idea to have a bag to grab and go with, should disaster strike the prison? Instead these folks, who should by now be seasoned survivors, are running around in the woods on foot with only the clothes on their backs. Hello!!! Pack a bag and keep it by the door! Maybe everyone wouldn’t have had a chance to grab their bag, but at least some people would have had food, tools, and weapons. (Learn more about non-Zombie bug-out bags HERE and every day items that can be lifesaving HERE. )

3.) On the same note, would you go anywhere without an every day carry kit?

Ask any mom who has ever loaded up a diaper bag to sustain a toddler through a one hour outing.  There are some things you don’t even go into the back yard without. So if you are living in the midst of a fluid situation, wouldn’t you keep the most vital tools for survival on your person? At the very least, you should be wearing a knife, carrying a lighter or flint, and have a small bag with things like flashlights, batteries, wipes, first aid kit, water, and a couple of granola bars. Note how Daryl never takes a step without his crossbow and Michonne keeps her katana strapped to her back? How are they the only people that realize it doesn’t pay to be searching for a weapon at the very moment a zombie is trying to eat your face? (Learn more about minimum vital tools HERE.)

4.) Why don’t they teach their children not to just freak out and run away?

How many kids have to run into the woods and get lost, eaten, shot, etc., to convince people to teach their children what to do when a horde of walkers comes lurching towards them?  The only person who seems determined to prepare the children of the prison on how to survive is Carol, because that is how she lost her daughter Sophia in an earlier season, and…well, Rick turfed her. Carl had to become self sufficient alone, because his father was trying to shelter him and keep him from becoming a sociopath. Teach your kids how to successfully evade a threat, how to hide, and how to fight when backed into a corner.  In crazy situations, you can’t say, oh, that knife is sharp, so I’d better not let my daughter use it.  Instead, teach her how to use it without cutting her hand off.  Teach your kids everything you can about the enemy or the threat, because the day might come when you are not right there by their sides. Teach them basic skills, like building a fire, creating a snare, and what they can forage for without poisoning themselves. (Learn more about preparing your kids HERE and HERE.)

5.) Why in the name of  heaven didn’t they have a predetermined rally point?

In the midst of a zombie apocalypse, just like any other type of disaster, communications are down, and your current situation is not stable. It never pays to get too comfortable, and you must always have in the back of your mind, a back-up plan. Because of this lack of a back-up plan, it was mass chaos when the prison was overrun, and people died because they were trying to figure out what to do. The plans should have been in place so that people could react instantly to a sudden change in circumstances.  People could have bailed with confidence that those who survived would be able to find one another. The group should have come up with at least two different locations where they would either meet or leave messages for the other members if things devolved. Instead, they’re all wandering around, mourning those who are missing and hoping to just run into the other folks through dumb luck.  Really, Rick? (Learn about creating a family emergency plan HERE.)

6.) Where are the supply caches?

See #2 above about bug-out bags – when you are living through a Zombie Apocalypse, how many times do things have to go horribly wrong before you realize that you should stash things like food, weapons, and water filters in designated places?  All of the people wandering around the woods might not be risking poisonous berries and fetid water if they had taken the simple precaution of hiding some caches in the surrounding area. (Learn more about survival caches HERE.)

7.) Why would Daryl and Beth have an emotional meltdown and burn their shelter to the ground in the middle of the night?

Emotions have a time and a place, and the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse is neither of those.  I’m sorry that Daryl had a rotten childhood, I’m sorry that Beth’s boyfriends keep getting eaten, but Jimminy Cricket, don’t burn down the building that stands between you and all the zombies as some sort of catharsis! Or if you do, at least wait until daylight so you can see what’s coming for you. I could only sit and roll my eyes during last night’s episode. Any survival situation is bound to be terrifying, emotional, and full of loss, but if you want to survive, you have to be able to compartmentalize those things. This is not the time to lie on the shrink’s sofa and psychoanalyze your childhood and your feelings. Sorry to be abrasive but in these situations you have to man up, woman up, suck it up.  If you want to live, you don’t have the luxury of a nervous breakdown. Accept, adapt, survive. (Learn more about adaptation and survival HERE.)

With all of the craziness in the world right now, with the economic system collapsing, real-life iPhone zombies roaming the streets, and the entire world being on the cusp of a pre-planned war, sometimes it’s fun to have a little light entertainment like watching The Walking Dead with a big bowl of popcorn.  Just make sure you use it as a cautionary tale instead of an example of how to survive.

I know that many of you are fans of the show…what deadly mistakes have you seen in recent episodes? Share your observations in the comments section below.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Re: Why would Daryl and Beth have an emotional meltdown and burn their shelter to the ground in the middle of the night?

    I agree. I thought the same thing. That made NO sense at all.

    • I thought it was senseless as well but, I got that it was
      Daryl letting go of his past. That he wasn’t that person

  • Well, the elites use quite a few symbolism in the show:
    1). Without divine right to rule government, you live in constant chaos.
    2). Gun free zone is safety. This was big in Season 2. Hershel’s farm was a Gun Free zone. In fact, Hershel didn’t believe that the zombies were dead. He didn’t want the farm armed on it, and he preferred the zombies put into the barn.
    3). Without government, your food production will be limited. This has been true especially during Season 3.
    4). You have to be born with the right to role, or you get the Governor or Rick.

    At least, the Walking Dead doesn’t advocate people take a fatal disease to make them invisible to the zombies until either the invisibility causing disease kills you or is cured like they do in World War Z.

    • I always found Bill Cosby’s technique of hiding under a blanket , as a better alternative than what occurs during the ” Walking Dead ” shows !

      • How time flies, as far as we knew back when this was added, Cosby was a good guy!

        The blanket thing is still true, but what we know now keeps anyone from referring to him.

  • Why get drunk with zombies all around? That made zero sense as well.
    When presented with a clear and present danger, who need all your facilities to remain alive. Alcohol will dull your senses and slow your reflexes. Their decisions all went downhill from there.

    • Throughout the history of war soldiers would sometimes come across alcohol and drink up even during combat operations. Indeed, it has been used as a ploy by some soldiers to let some booze get found by their enemies. It is easier to capture and make a prisoner out of someone who is passed out drunk than it is someone who is alert. Indeed this should be remembered as a trick preppers can either use to their advantage or be aware of so as not to be the victim of such.

      • Not only that but left-behind bottles of booze are attractive to enemies and can be poisoned to reduce their numbers.

  • Seriously? Advocating a FICTIONAL television “program”? Please get back to some more sensible postings, if possible. I’ll be anxious to see if reality comes back to the blog.

    Disappointed in Denver

  • why didnt they set up the prison like dude from the first episode back at Macon. Spikey traps for walkers to get stuck on, wouldve saved their fences (before the tank comes).
    Why dont they use flares more often (as in season one)
    Why dont they ALL use zombies with their arms and jaws chopped off like Mischon for cover (or cover themselves in zombie guts)?
    totally agree with rally point. They had a pseudo point after the farm burnt down.

  • At least this season is more interesting than season 2 on Hersel’s farm. They are all a bunch of misfits who let a certifiable nut be in charge. It’s a wonder any of them are still alive except for the fact that they do know how to kill zombies. Since they killed off Hersel I guess they are bringing Beth to a lead role. Not sure if Glenn is dead, walking dead or just real messed up. He had the most sense but then got all hung up with his relationship.
    The show is a good example of those who do not prepare for a lawless country. There will be those who band together who have no clue what they need to do to survive.

  • it all an illusion and not meant to be a depiction of a real life scenario.
    it’s meant to portray drama, fear and stupidity.
    if it showed true and real life it would not show zombies’. it would show the police, military or government forces.

  • I think the problem is that anyone watching a scripted
    television show to get an idea of what a real apocalyptic
    situation would be like is making a big mistake. True some of the scenarios are plausible but nothing about is supposed to prepare anyone for the real thing.
    Just my thoughts.

  • Remember the one episode where someone in the prison turns into a zombie in the middle of the night and goes on a feeding frenzy of sleeping victims?

    By the time morning rolls around, half the prison population is dead due to a chain reaction of zombie turning and eating.

    This left me shocked. In a world where everyone who dies turns into a zombie, why the hell would the group not post guards in the sleeping quarters to stand watch at night and prevent this sort of thing? Someone could easily die of a heart attack in their sleep and start munching away on the living.

    Obviously guards should always be posted around the sleeping quarters at night, even in a secure area, and even in a non-zombie apocolypse situation. Midnight raids by living predators are always a hazazrd in the real world.

    • Even closing the doors of your cell at night would keep you safe from that, and everyone else safe from you.

      And then the would-be guards could sleep.

      With all the terror they’ve endured, I’d think they all would sleep a LOT better behind a heavy barred door.

  • Has nobody heard of the magic of radio? We’ve got all these isolated groups wandering around unable to communicate. There’s amateur radio, CB radio, FRS, GMRS, etc. No need to be out of touch with others when they are out of sight.

  • Paul Cantor contrasts “Walking Dead” and “World War Z” in his latest book on pop culture. Mildly interesting. Where, apparently, in World War Z, government is the heroic institution which saves the day.

  • I liked the fact that last episode, the writers felt comfortable enough to spend all the time on just two characters even when there are all these questions about the other characters. Maybe after three years, people have to just be people. Beth was driven to grow up and had a goal of a drink rather than just lying down and cry. Daryl in his usual fashion was along for the ride. Daryl finally told what he did before “the turn”.
    Maybe they burned the house down because it was letting go of the past and besides they were drunk. It is not the smartest but it is a human response to chronic chaos. Maybe Daryl will become a leader now.
    The others followed Rick because most people are more comfortable following. Rick makes poor decisions but somehow gets through.
    Rick had hallucinations and wasn’t a good leader but I thought it was the writers attempt at showing how it takes a psychopath to fight a psychopath (the governor) the rest of them would be trying to negoiate a peace (except Meryl)
    Anyway, it has been 3 years and they’ve done good to survive.
    When the electricity goes out on the east coast for a couple of days even the survivalists are writing articles about what they have learned, so we can’t be too hard on that show. Survival is really what you carry around in your head anyway,
    a person has to let the fear burn away and walk on to a new day.

  • Although I am a huge TWD fan because of its drama (it is not about the zombies) there can be no question that it is the antithesis of good prepping.

    Too many horribly bad “survival” boo-boos to mention them all. But one that stands out is why was there not at least one person on watch to see the tank coming?! Especially after the Governor’s first attack caught them off guard.

    And Carol was absolutely correct in teaching the kids survival skills. Why in the world was not every other adult not doing the same?!

  • Re: DAISY LUTHER and others who are being critical about Rick. I think you have Rick’s meltdown out of sequence. In the first episode of season three it showed how the group had been on a relentless run from constant danger for about nine months. Being the group leader this made Rick the equivalent of being a leader of a combat patrol on a nine month patrol behind enemy lines. Nine days of such pressure would be stressful on a trained military man let alone nine months of such pressure on an untrained civilian.

    It was only after there was a failed hope for a reprieve within the prison that Rick snapped. The group could not afford to go “democratic” with the new threat of the Governor but after that threat was eliminated Rick willingly gave up his power.

  • The one that drives me stark, raving mad is their marksmanship.

    In the last Governor episode, he’s standing not even 100 yards from two shooters with AR’s. One character comments to the other something like “That’s at least 50 yards, I can’t make the shot!”

    Oh. My. Goodness. People.

    I could pick which EYE to hit, with iron sights, at that range!

    But then they’ll take running one-handed shots with a revolver and make headshots all day.

    Next let’s talk about ammo preservation. It’s really nice that you found some select-fire M4’s. Doesn’t mean you should use them in full-auto or burst mode all the time; nobody’s making new ammo.

    OK I’m done. Thank you for letting me rant 🙂

    • Dear meth,

      Imagine seeing your signature here. Small world.

      Some of the gun-related material on TWD is definitely cringe-inducing.

      Also, am I the only person who cringes when the survivors cut fruit using knives they just used to stab a zombie in the head?

  • what an interesting post! i stumbled across your blog and have only ever watched one zombie movie. however, living in south africa, i found it a fitting analogy of the societal collapse we are facing here..upon the news of the latest occurrence of violent crime, violent political protests, lethal road rage, looting, electricity blackouts, water quality deterioration, general lawlessness etc. , i am known to mutter “world war z, world war z…”

  • Preppers who watch TV? This is too much. The real howler is referring to the practice of watching a zombie series a being akin to watching the big game.

    Get a grip, Miss Daisy. There are no zombies. Maybe what you should have learned from this TV show is that TV shows are extremely silly and unrealistic. Anyone with even low level critical thinking skills should be able to point out ridiculous things to criticize in a TV writer’s work.

    • Right on Ed D. I fully agree with you. What a bunch of babble. Honestly intelligent people would gladly pass up this childish programming to pursue more productive things in life.

      I’ve never, and will never, own a television……….

      -Still disappointed in Denver.

      • Fellow humans, I’d just like to suggest taking a moment to step back and observe the need to criticize the author. She took the time out of her day to write this for our enjoyment. It’s fun and lighthearted – not mean to be taken too seriously. Why are you disappointed? Does it feel good up there on your high horse?

        Have you ever considered for a moment that perhaps you are missing the point? Not just of this article, but the point of what you are actually doing here, on this earth, in this life? You are disappointed because someone wrote an article about a television show. Let us please take a moment to appreciate the hilarity of that sentiment. I’ve never even seen this show and yet I find this article funny and entertaining because I simply choose to appreciate it. Now, I ask you: who is having a better day, me or you?

  • Does anyone else wonder what on earth going to the bathroom would be like for all those months in that prison. I’m not unhappy that they don’t address that issue, but I still can’t help wondering. Seems like it would be a real problem. And while I am here, did anyone else truly hate the Governor as much as I did? Even the sound of his voice was almost intolerable. Creepy is a huge understatement! Love the show and enjoy blogs like this. Thanks!

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