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Thu
Oct 16 2008 12:23pm

During the presidential debate last night, John McCain came out, to the surprise of absolutely no one (but to the chagrin of many), in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court desicion which gave women the right to abort a fetus, up until the point when the fetus becomes “viable” (insert your own value for “viable”, and, er, have fun with that one around the water cooler). In the course of defending his position, he uttered the phrase “I support the rights of the unborn.”

Fair enough, Senator, but this begs the question: what about the rights of the undead?

This is a complex issue, my friends, and one that no amount of eye-winking, eye-blinking, eye-rolling, or even eye-gouging will sweep under the rug. One would think that John McCain, particularly, would be attuned to this hot-button issue in the geek community.

As always, we must start at the beginning, and consider some fundamental, if perhaps ultimately unanswerable, questions: When, percisely, does un-death begin? Is it at the point of infection? That is, as soon as an individual is bitten? Does the undead come into its own only after the infection has started to take its course, and the skin turns an ashen gray? Or does one have to wait until the zombie in question is actually attacking a living being in order to spring into action, chainsaw (or axe, or lawnmower, or blender, or—my favorite—machete) in hand?

[The answer isn’t as cut-and-dried as one would suppose.]