Seven Deadly Sins of The Zombie Apocalypse: Envy

Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead -- AMC /

No one will have much to hang their hats on in a zombie apocalypse, yet, there will be those who covet what little that is. Resist the green-eyed monster.

Yes, one thing that can be said about a zombie apocalypse is: We will all be equal in misery. There won’t be people who are “rich” in the traditional sense and those who do have something will likely have gotten it through hard work or preparation.

That said, people are still people: They are still governed by the same flaws that exist in people today. What people do have, whatever that may be, there will be those who will want it for themselves. We call that…


Envy, the overwhelming desire to have something that someone else has, is one of the most prevalent things in society.

At its best, envy can motivate people to strive to be better; to push themselves harder to earn whatever it is that someone else has that they want. At its worst, envy drives people to get what they want the fast way: By stealing, lying, and even killing to get it.

As you probably guessed, we’re here to talk about the latter, furthermore, as you might have guessed, our example is Shane.

Shane Walsh and Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead - AMC
Shane Walsh and Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead – AMC /

If you’re on this page, I’m assuming you know the story by now, so I’ll skip it.

What I will focus on, however, is a little tidbit from the very first episode: Shane’s relationship troubles, mentioned in his conversation with Rick before the latter was shot.

It isn’t much, but the implication from Rick and Shane’s conversation is that Shane has never had a steady, long-term relationship; Rick, meanwhile, had been married to Lori for years. The point here is that even this early, we can see the seed of Shane’s jealousy.

…And, from that seed, an evil tree sprouted.

Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Within a day of Rick reuniting with Lori and Carl, Shane (Whose affair with Lori consequently ended the moment Rick returned) was already contemplating taking Rick out of the picture. He was stopped by Dale, but, the fact remains: He was only just stopped.

The Group’s arrival at the CDC and Carl’s shooting brought Shane back to Earth, but only briefly. How briefly? Well, within hours of Carl being shot, Shane murdered Otis.

As The Group’s time at Hershel’s farm wore on, Shane’s behavior deteriorated: He became more aggressive, more short-tempered, more violent, until, ultimately, he attempted to kill Rick while the pair tried to ditch Randall.

Finally, after being told that their relationship did mean something by Lori, Shane snapped…Randall’s neck. He then tried to lure Rick into the woods to murder him; He failed.

Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead — AMC /

All of this behavior is explained by Shane himself. As he and Rick are driving to take Randall eighteen miles from the farm, Shane confesses to Rick about the affair and explains why. As he said to Rick, “I didn’t save them. They saved me.

When Shane finally confronted Rick to murder him, he explained how he intend to, essentially, take over Rick’s life.

There it is. Shane wanted the life Rick had. He wanted a wife, a son, a family, to be respected by The Group, and, most importantly, he wanted purpose.

That seems like the theme to Shane’s confession: That protecting Lori and Carl gave him purpose. This suggests that he felt Rick’s return deprived him of purpose. What do you think goes through the mind of a man who’s lost his purpose in a world gone to shit?

He’d do anything to get it back.

Shane’s story is a rather tragic one. While he was jealous of so much that Rick had, what he envied most…was Rick’s reason to live.

“You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You desire but do not have, so you kill.” — James 4:2

Do you want to learn more of how to survive a zombie apocalypse (That isn’t quite so biblical)? Pick up a copy of my book: The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can get it on Kindle here and on iTunes here!