Bath salts, taxes, and you: The future of the zombie apocalypse
So I don’t know how we ended up back at zombies again but seriously, I just can’t let this one slip by. The zombie apocalypse, which Kennedy and I have yet to analyze in depth, has been smattered across the media scape this week following reports out of Miami that a naked man was found (caught?) eating another man’s face.
The circumstances of the incident had people crying “zombie” almost immediately. According to press the police were called after the face-eater was spotted on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp in Miami. When he failed to back away at the officer’s request, the officer shot at him. Now this is where it get’s really hairy. While it’s one thing to engage in cannibalism it is really quite another to continue snacking on another person AFTER BEING SHOT. Witnesses claim that the officer fired half a dozen shots, eventually killing the attacker, before he stopped. The victim is currently in critical condition.
What was behind this admittedly strange attack? Original statements from police pointed to cocaine psychosis rather than zombification. Unfortunately the police were more-or-less correct. Further investigation indicates that the attacker was hopped up on “bath salts” a not-illegal-in-all-states designer drug made from several illegal-but-commonly-available compounds and often sold in tobacco shops. Side effects of the drug are varied depending on the particular vender’s batch but users can expect to “suffer” from agitation, symptoms of psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions.
My point is this – if a relatively easy to mix designer drug can create symptoms that together are typically associated with zombification then is it unreasonable to conclude it would be possible to induce a violent cannibalistic zombie state in humans? No. Not at all. I bet there’s someone in a lab somewhere that actually knowns exactly which chemicals to drop into the water supply to get us all zombified. The only thing holding me back from being a believer? You’d have to “infect” everyone individually. I’m pretty sure that the guy in a Miami hospital is not experiencing the symptoms of his attacker just because he was bitten.
But let’s say that a zombie apocalypse is possible. What then? Do the rules as we know them still apply? What about the much heralded “death and taxes” inevitability? Zombies avoid death strictly speaking so they must also avoid taxes. An Arizona State University law professor (and my new best buddy wether he likes it or not) has the answer to one of life’s greatest questions: Would American zombies still have to pay taxes?
Adam Chodorow is publishing what is likely the only legal paper ever to address policy applications to the undead. Chodorow begins by outlining the differences between zombies – those under the influence of others vs self-motivating zombies – and then examine various tax implications for zombies including estate planning and legal marriage. According to Chodorow zombies may reasonably be considered alive despite being undead in the same way that someone who recently suffered a stroke, is in comma, or has Alzheimer’s may be.
Chodorow goes on to explain a situation in which individuals may chose to become zombies, for tax reasons of course. If a zombie is considered “alive” then, for example, the need to apply estate taxes would be deferred until the zombie is officially dispatched. This may serve as a hedge on high estate taxes for those who plan to hold their property in a single family for an extended period of time. Not content with addressing the problems faced by our country’s zombies alone, Chodorow also delves into similar concerns facing vampires and ghosts. The paper is available for free here and by god people, you must read it.
So there you have it, this week we learn that the zombie apocalypse is not only possible but could be nationally induced (at least for short periods) and if we were all to become zombies, assuming the survival of our government’s current form, we’d still have to worry about taxes. Gotta say, so not what I was expecting from the apocalypse but oh so juicy.