It is difficult to avoid the Zombie Apocalypse. The Zombie Apocalypse is prevalent throughout the entertainment media, webisodes from zombie series, and computer games. Even the Centers for Disease Control has a web page devoted to preparation for the zombie apocalypse, recognizing that if it does not happen, you are still prepared for whatever does happen.
Many of these series feature men and women targeting and eliminating zombies in various capacities. But there has yet to be an examination as to whether it is legal to kill zombies. This question is not easily decided.
Of course, it is always legal to kill in self-defense or defense of others. So if a zombie is trying to eat your nose off, don’t worry about shooting him in the head or driving a screwdriver through her ear. The same law applies if the zombie is trying to lunch on your significant other. But what about the casual elimination of zombies which are not directly attacking? Believe it or not, the history of the definition of “murder” in California may make it illegal.
Originally, California’s murder statute applied to any victim who was “born human.” This early case law has been expanded to include “viable” unborn children, but the original definition was always applicable. Accordingly, it is and always has been against the law to terminate the life of anyone who was “born human.” In addition, if the person is deemed “viable”, which means they can exist on their own, then the murder statute again applies. The murder statute applies to but does not define “human being” other than to describe them as “viable” or “born human.” So the random killing of the zombie who is not actively attacking would seem to be prohibited under California law.
It is also not difficult to imagine that the zombie apocalypse would be actively assisted by our California municipalities. For example, West Hollywood would, in all probability, expand its animal control ordinance defining humans as “pet guardians” to include zombies; so that under West Hollywood law, humans would be “zombie guardians”- at least as long as the human population remained. San Francisco would, in all likelihood, define itself as a “zombie sanctuary.” And Chicago would certainly forbid any ownership or use of guns in the elimination of zombies whether or not the zombie is attacking.
Of course, the prevalence of the zombie apocalypse would depend upon what kind of zombie would be walking our streets. Would it be the flesh eating zombie-or the brain eating zombie? If the latter, then finally our government could give us some assistance. There is no question but that brain eating zombies would starve to death in Sacramento or Washington D.C.