Before Anthony and I recorded Episode 24* of the podcast (The Governor from The Walking Dead comics), I was listening to a completely unrelated podcast that happened to discuss personal experiences from Hurricane Katrina survivors. I couldn’t help but draw parallels as we were recording, because, as many of you already now, The Walking Dead as a medium is barely about the zombies. Surviving a widespread disaster of any kind is quite a feat, and reveals the depths of a person’s psyche. With that in mind, how does someone become like The Gov in those circumstances?
Hate to say it, but no, you’re not automatically become the leader of a group of people when crap hits the fan. There’s nothing preordained about misery in a crisis. What makes this disaster unique is that (for the sake of this narrative) nobody saw this coming. We get warnings about weather. Heck, we know the probabilities of certain events in certain geographic areas, and prepare accordingly. I don’t think the local news anchor had a Zombie Apocalypse Forecaster flashing red in the days prior. There were no Walker Drills in school. This was a lottery of the worst kind.
A Role Model
Want to read a novel because comics don’t have enough words? Check out “Rise of the Governor.” It talks about his brother. He’s the one who decided to keep his daughter as a team mascot. He’s the one who becomes a sexual predator first. He’s the one that the others decide to kill because he’s lost his mind. The Blakes, they know how to create a blueprint!
A SECOND Role Model
Mayberry was under martial law. That leader (a major in the National Guard) made a decree for everyone to do their share (yay!)…or get shot (boo). He proves it by shooting a dissenter (boo). Then The Governor shoots him (…um…yay because that guy was doing bad things?). The Governor uses his brother’s name (gee, I wonder). Maybe he truly wanted to get rid of a dictatorship. I speculate that he metaphorically stole the keys to a franchise in full working order. This compares realistically to historical disasters because of the opportunity to abuse the locus of control. Rescuers want to save people, not items, or pets. Anecdotes abound regarding people ordered into boats, and when owners refused to leave pets behind, the oh so benevolent rescuers would shoot the animals. Who knew that humanity could mix kindness and cruelty so well outside of fiction?
Thinking Big by Thinking Small
Basic civics lesson: the order of government from an individual leader perspective goes Mayor, then Governor. So why not Mayor? His range is a town, and any adjacent abandoned land, not the state of Georgia. Actually, he, his family and friends fled from Atlanta; they couldn’t cut it in a major metropolitan kill zone city! Sure, a Mayor can handle the local yokels, but a Governor taking charge provides a level of grandeur. The most satisfactory kill is overkill. Who wouldn’t want to be the hero taking charge when nobody else can? You end up with an incredible amount of leverage. The most staunch villain can become a monolith of virtue with a few cases of bottled water. Supplies, sustenance, and safety are the new currency. Too bad Blake didn’t heed his own predilection of keeping things tight knit. His expansion was his doom.
What Have We Learned?
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. That man will be eaten by zombies.
*Wow, we were so wrong when we called it #25! Consider it therapy for your obsessions…or call us stupid. No big deal either way.
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