The horde is growing. Every day the number of zombies increases, and the number of survivors decreases. I do not know how much longer we will be able to survive in this town, yet we can’t leave due to the quarantine. At first we tried hiding, but our supplies simply ran out too fast. That’s when the army began to help, dropping food into our quarantined zone so those of us who have not been infected may stay alive. This presented a problem though: getting to the food without turning into skin-sucking, flesh-eating abominations. As I mentioned in my last article, we do not know how to cure or kill the zombies, all we know was that nerf darts stunned the zombies for five minutes. However, there has been a new discovery: socks thrown at the zombies also stun them for five minutes. With this knowledge, I went on a mission to find what survivors think is the most effective way of fighting the zombie horde, and what the administration thinks of students running around campus with various zombie-fighting weapons.
Since nerf guns were the first weapons used against zombies, I set out to find why these weapons are chosen when other options exist. While on my way to a food drop, I met Zachary Truesdell, and he told me why he prefers nerf guns to throwing socks. First, he said, nerf guns can hold hundreds of rounds of ammunition and, while it is unlikely that one will run into hundreds of zombies at once, if a survivor is ever put into that scenario, he/she is prepared. Secondly, there is the issue of reloading; socks may be useful, but each time they are used, a second one must be grabbed, whereas a nerf gun can be automatic, and fire many rounds before reloading, and if not automatic, a simple cocking of the gun will give the user a fresh round. Finally, while the zombies cannot speak, and have trouble moving, they can see very well. Zachary told me that holding a large nerf gun might intimidate some zombies who have come to realize what happens when they are shot with a nerf dart. By implementing this Teddy Roosevelt-esque policy of walking soft and carrying a big nerf gun, by merely displaying their nerf guns as they walk, survivors may be able to avoid zombies through mere intimidation.
Some survivors, like Jimmy Chattin, do not believe this is the right way to go about surviving at all. He told me, while hiding in Zimmerman Hall, that instead of displaying ones weapons, survivors should opt for the stealthy, reliable socks. Socks can be hidden in pockets, bags or simply taken off feet when a person is in a hurry. Furthermore, the weight of socks makes them very reliable and more accurate than nerf darts in this windy South Dakota atmosphere. As Jimmy said, “When the wind kicks up, a light nerf dart can take any number of paths and not reach its intended destination. Socks, on the other hand, have weight to them, and are almost always guaranteed to hit their intended targets.” Finally, he told me that he prefers socks to nerf guns, because nerf guns can jam, and when that happens survivors are left unarmed; socks can never jam or be out of ammo. Because of their ability to be concealed, their accuracy, and their reliability many students are turning away from nerf darts and turning to socks for protection.
However, as it is not the guns but the darts that cause damage to the zombies, some survivors using weapons besides guns to fire darts. As I darted out of my dorm to reach the food supplies dropped by the library, I met Nathan Fields, who has chosen to fire his darts out of a blowgun. While these blowguns can only fire a single round before needing to be reloaded, he told me that they provide several advantages over the guns. First, when properly used, the darts fire at a greater speed than the other types of guns. This increased speed offers the user a chance for more accurate shots. Because of the speed and accuracy advantages that these guns offer, students such as Nathan Fields believe that this is the best weapon for fighting zombies.
While these are what the student survivors think about their methods of surviving the zombie apocalypse, I needed to know what the university’s administration thinks about students running around campus with nerf guns. For this information, I made my way through the barricade surrounding Heston Hall, and spoke with Jesse Wise. His main concern was student survivor safety, making sure that students were being careful when running around campus. He told me that he does not mind the survivors running around campus firing nerf guns or throwing socks, as long as they are observing general safety procedures, such as not aiming guns at other students’ heads, and being careful not to hurt themselves when they are running with their guns.
While I don’t have one answer as to which weapon is most effective against the zombie horde, the information that I have collected will hopefully help you choose what weapons you will use for future missions. Students are being turned left and right, and they need to know what those who manage to survive are doing to stay amongst the living. Furthermore, if this ever reaches the world outside of Madison, I warn you to arm yourselves with these weapons in case these undead monsters reach your town.
Pictures taken by Bryan Muller