As a human race, regardless of our differences, when facing a common enemy, be it natural or man-made, or undead, this crew provides the framework for locating shelter and safety. At the helm of it all is Juliette Terzieff, the Commander of the Red Brigade. An Award Winning Blogger with Global Citizen, author of Women in the Court and Undead is Not an Option, Juliette has also written articles for CNN, Newsweek and the San Francisco Chronicle, the United Nations, and many others. Under the inevitable fall of mankind to a gruesomely painful demise via the apocalypse brought on by a raging horde of mindless zombies, Juliette is the woman you want devising your path to safety, and the Zombie Survival Crew is your safety in numbers.
Alice: Juliette, tell us about how the Zombie Survival Crew got started. I understand it began as a joke?
Juliette/ZSC:About three years ago I was talking to a bunch of writers, on twitter actually, and we were joking about how we would survive a zombie infestation, and a couple of the writers suggested I might be the appropriate person to head up a zombie survival crew if there were a zombie outbreak to be dealt with. So when The Walking Dead started on AMC in 2010 I wrote a blog post on my blog about which of the character types from the show I would want to have on my zombie survival crew. Three of the actors actually saw my post. It was Anthony Guajardo, who played Miguel in the Vatos episode, IronE Singleton who plays T-Dog on the show, and Norman Reedus who plays Daryl Dixon. The three of them commented on the blog and tweeted about it and the fans just went absolutely crazy over it, and I thought to myself, “You know what? There must be something here.” So I went out and started recruiting commanders for the crew, and my three top picks (Anthony, IronE, and Norman) all agreed that they wanted to help command the troops when the time came. I called in a couple of trustee writer pals and people with other skill sets that I thought would be valuable in the event of
a zombie apocalypse, and the Zombie Survival Crew was born. We threw open our doors in December of 2010 and in just over a year we’ve now got 15,000 members in 13 countries.
Alice: Wow. Amazing. Congratulations!
Juliette/ZSC: Thank you. It has been a crazy ride, but it has been wonderful; every second of it.
Alice: (laughs) At the end of the day, what is the mission of the Zombie Survival Crew?
Juliette/ZSC: The overarching mission of the Zombie Survival Crew is to prepare our members to be able to withstand any disaster. The end goal is to, of course, survive a zombie apocalypse, which would probably be the worst type of disaster that one could ever imagine. Zombies can’t be reasoned with. They can’t be bargained with. It is just a nonstop killing machine. It’s a virus. It’s a virus that you can’t just wear a mask and avoid. In the meantime, we try to help our members cope with real life events that are unfolding in the world around us. Not to make light of situations like Hurricane Katrina or the earthquake in Japan, or hurricane Irene, or any other real-life events that are already occurring. We don’t treat them lightly. We take them very seriously, but they are in a sense training events for the Zombie Survival Crew in that we can see how well our members are prepared, where the gaps are in our planning, and what areas we may need to work harder on. None of us hope that the zombie apocalypse will ever happen, but in the world that we live in events do happen whether they are man-made or natural. While we are preparing everybody to face the worst, the absolute worst, we hope that they’ll be able to cope with anything that comes their way in the meantime.
Alice: Plus, you also have to have a disaster recovery plan for a disaster recovery plan. I love your tag-line “Taking humans off the endangered species list one zombie at a time”. I love it because of our conversation that we had the other evening, the word zombie was interchangeable with the word “disaster” in general. Metaphorically speaking, I think it truly speaks to many people on a pop-culture-ish level. Apparently we all have zombies to kill before they kill us.
Juliette/ZSC: The truth of the matter is that humanity is its own worst enemy. If you look how human beings have treated each other throughout history, there is no other animal species on this planet that is as vile as human beings. It’s just part of our nature. We can be our own worst enemies.
Alice: What is your “zombie”?
Juliette/ZSC: Mine is actually quite broad. Mine would be man’s inhumanity to man. I spent 12 years abroad as a war correspondent and I am a human rights specialist, and I spend my days digging through the worst of the worst of the worst of human rights abuses happening all over the world. It makes me absolutely crazy to be honest. It happens every day in every corner of the planet, including here in the US. In some places it is so incredibly insidious that people don’t even realize that it’s happening. Unfortunately the way our societies are set up, we tend to be very cruel toward each other. That is something that has always bothered me and will probably bother me until I get bit by a zombie and put down by one of my fellow commanders.
Alice: Would you walk me through the experience of a new visitor to your site? What can I see and what can I do?
Juliette/ZSC: The general public has access to most of what the Zombie Survival Crew does. Many of the contests that we run with our celebrity commanders are open to the public and free. You can also see the events that we traveled to and information on survival tactics, humanitarian organizations that we are supporting. There is a member only section on the website, but it is still completely free. You can go to the webpage and just create a profile, and you get slotted into one of the brigades based on geography and percentages, and you are good to go. For example, you’ve got 21 members in Philadelphia; you would have 3 members from each brigade. In the members only section is also a map of our membership. You can see globally where the Zombie Survival Crew members are. There is also brigade specific information in the membership section. For example, each one of our brigades has a specific packing list that is associated with it in case of an emergency. There are also specific brigade characteristics and weapons that is information that only members have.
Alice: Tell me about the brigade commanders.
Juliette/ZSC: Our seven brigade commanders are four writers and three actors. There is myself, Norman Reedus, Jinxie G, RC Murphy, Anthony Guajardo, IronE Singleton, and LK Gardner-Griffie. Each of the brigades has a color. For example, I’m the red brigade commander. I have First Lieutenants and Second Lieutenants who are associated with my command structure. As we have done with all of the general members, we’ve also done with command in that our commanders are all spread out in different locations; as are our members. So if there is an incident, let’s say a nuclear attack that hits the eastern coast of the US, we are not going to lose an entire command structure, or an entire brigade of people because everyone is spread out all over the country. With the First Lieutenants, Second Lieutenants and Special Forces Command members, they are all celebrities of some kind. Some of them are writers, we have a best-selling author Jonathan Maberry, who wrote Patient Zero. The guitarist of Puddle of Mudd, Paul Phillips, is one of our special forces commanders. Our special forces overall commander is Michael Rooker, who has a very celebrated career in theater (The Walking Dead, Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer, Slither, etc.). The thing about our commanders is that they are all pretty faces and we know them from various projects, but they also know what they are doing. Rooker, for example, owns a gun range out in LA. He really knows his weapons. Each of our commanders are asked to select a weapon of choice, the weapon they would prefer to fight off zombies with in the event of a zombie apocalypse. When Rooker was asked to select his weapon, he had a primary weapon, a backup, a backup for his backup, a melee weapon, a blunt weapon. By the time he got through with it, his entire go bag was going to be filled with just weapons. The man knows what he’s talking about. I keep telling everybody when the zombie apocalypse goes down, I’m hiding behind Sean Patrick Flannery, Neil Brown Jr, and Michael Rooker. If you need me, that’s where I’m going to be!
Alice: You mentioned that you have a handful of humanitarian agencies that you support and promote through your site. Tell us about your involvement with these groups.
Juliette/ZSC: We’ve found that as people are considering their own preparation, when a disaster does strike elsewhere in the world, they want to be able to reach out and do something. We took a look at the organizations that are working the most broadly on a variety of issues. World Society for Protection of animals, obviously deals with the animal side of humanitarian disaster. Red Cross Red Crescent, as everybody knows, is involved on the emergency side of the response. Oxfam is more involved in human rights and longer-term rebuilding processes. And then we have Doctors without Borders, which is again like Red Cross Red Crescent, and emergency response. All of these organizations have demonstrated an apolitical desire to get into an emergency situation, get on ground, do what is needed to make the situation better. So that is why we chose those four. What happens is when we have a situation like the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, one of our commanders (Norman Reedus) was raising funds for the Japan earthquake relief effort. We were trying to promote that through the website, through twitter, through Facebook, get people involved, not only to help people of Japan, but also to think about what this could mean for them, if an earthquake or tsunami were to hit the place they were living in. We try to use it as a way to help get people involved, do some good with it, and also sort of take a look at their own situation wherever they may be in the world, and look around and say, “if an earthquake like what happened in Haiti it in my area, what would I do and what I be prepared?”
Alice: Where do you see the Zombie Survival Crew going? What would make you turn around and look at all you have done and say, “yes, we did it”?
Juliette/ZSC: I think in many ways we sort of already have, just by creating this amazing community of people that are interconnected across every border possible, whether it’s a physical one or a cultural one, or political one. In practical terms, the serious side of what we do is stuff that we hope we are never going to have to use, but the reality of the world that we live in is that there is going to be another earthquake. There is going to be another hurricane. There is going to be another war. There’s going to be another something. If we are at a point where a disaster unfolds that is affecting people and we are able to step in and make a difference, whether that’s a difference of one person or 100 or 10,000, I’m pretty happy about it.
Alice: I’ll bet. It kind of makes you think back to that whole ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ and think that sometimes the opposite is true as well: man’s humanity to man is a wonderful thing.
Alice Roques – RockRevolt Magazine
Zombie image courtesy of Stuffpoint.com
Norman Reedus and IronE Singleton images courtesy of The Walking Dead Forum
Anthony Guajardo image courtesy of The Zombie Survival Crew
|If you enjoyed this article, may we recommend the following articles and webpages:|
|The Zombie Survival Crew|
|Juliette Terzieff’s Blog, the Global Citizen|
|IronE Singleton’s FB page|
|Follow Zombie Survival Crew on Twitter|
|Follow IronE Singleton on Twitter|
|AMC’s The Walking Dead|