The Walking Dead, Survival Rule Of The Week: Vigilance

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead -- AMC /

In a zombie apocalypse, death can come at any time. I’ve learned from watching The Walking Dead that to avoid death, you need vigilance.

Not too long ago, I laid out who I believed were the most redeemable “villains” of season seven of The Walking Dead. In that article, I gave particular attention to The Kingdom’s resident vigilante, Richard. Richard was willing to risk lives, including his own, to show The Kingdom how serious of a threat The Saviors were. The reason for all of this was because, before arriving at The Kingdom, Richard lost his family and his first group because of his failure to act.

There was a lesson to be learned in Richard’s story, and that lesson was the need for vigilance.

In a zombie apocalypse, your survival is dependent on your level of vigilance. The person who is vigilant is aware of the threats around them and acts to mitigate them. The person who isn’t vigilant is either unaware of threats around them, or is aware…but does nothing. One of these people is more likely to survive, the other is not.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Let’s look at Richard’s story a little more closely for an example. Richard told Morgan in “Bury Me Here” that he began the apocalypse in a camp that sounds a lot like the Atlanta camp Rick’s group started out as.

Richard recounted seeing potential weaknesses at the camp, but, didn’t say anything, believing someone higher in the group already knew, and would do something about it. One fight and fire later, the camp was destroyed and Richard’s wife was dead.

Then, after fleeing the camp, Richard implied that his daughter was bitten because of his failure to step in; Presumably, he froze, or ignored the walker when could have stopped it.

From these events, Richard learned that he needed to be vigilant; When he wasn’t, people died.

The problems at his first camp, for example: The moment Richard realized there were problems, he should have found the leader(s) of his group and told them. They might have been able to prevent or diffuse the fight before it happened, and prevented the fire that destroyed the camp.

This is the lesson here: In a zombie apocalypse, if you’re in a group and you see something that you think could become a problem, tell somebody. If the leadership of your group doesn’t do anything about it, tell other people in your group, get them to try to help you mitigate the problem. Lives may be at stake, you can’t afford to ignore problems if you are aware of them.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

A similar lesson can be gleaned from Richard’s loss of his daughter.

While Richard wasn’t specific, it sounded like he lost his daughter because he failed to deal with a walker.

If you find yourself in a zombie apocalypse with a child, and you know there are zombies in the vicinity, get the kid out of there as quickly and quietly as possible.

Children will be terrified in a zombie apocalypse, and can create a lot of noise as a result. Ordinarily, a lone adult could just deal will the zombies and go about their merry way, but, a child complicates matters.

You need to get them away from the dead as soon as possible. You can’t wait around for the kid to cry and draw the zombie(s) to you. The sooner you get them out of harm’s way, the better off you both are.

Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC
Karl Makinen as Richard, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Whether you’re with a child or not, part of a group or alone, vigilance is a necessity. You need to make the effort to ensure you are safe, or as safe as you can be.

If you’re aware of threats, zombies or not, around you, you must act as best as possible to diffuse them. Even in a group, you can’t just assume that “Somebody else will do it.”, you must ensure it gets done. It’s too late to fix the problem when it’s at your doorstep.

Richard gives us a pretty damned good lesson in how to survive the zombie apocalypse. He shows us that sloth is a disaster waiting to happen; Letting threats persist when you can and should be removing them. Richard also showed us that you don’t want to learn the lesson of vigilance the hard way. People shouldn’t have to die before you realize you need deal with problems as soon as possible.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: The price of life is eternal vigilance.

This is why you followThe Rules.

Next: The Walking Dead, Survival Rule Of The Week: Don't Give Up On People

And that’s our survival rule of the week!! Hopefully, it will help you should you ever need it and give you that mental edge that will prove so crucial once the dead start eating everyone.

If you like this and want to find out more rules to survive the zombie apocalypse, why not 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!