Skip to content

ZombieLaw studies zombies in law, politics and current events.

GOP leviathans

First, let me apologize for being remiss in updating this blog. There are a number of very significant political “zombies” from the past few weeks and I will write about those soon. If you are reading the @Lawzombie Twitter feed then you are already up to date on those but I do owe those politicians some zombie portraits.

However, today I would like to take a moment to comment on last night’s GOP debate, and first about a commercial that aired repeatedly during it; the trailer for the upcoming Ron Howard movie “In the Heart of the Sea“. This movie is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Nathaniel Philbrick published in 2000. It is about the real-life story of a whaling voyage that was also the basis for Herman Melville’s 1851 classic “Moby Dick“.

Now there are many versions of this trailer online but the version that aired repeatedly last night during the GOP debates on FoxBusiness was a version of the final trailer cut to a 30-second spot, which asks:

“Monsters are they real?”

This tagline made me laugh for lots of reasons. First, zombies are they real? Second, what’s real? Is this the real story of Moby Dick? Was Moby Dick real? Was it a pun on all the real dicks on stage last night? Is the irony that even this real-life story is not really, real, or is the irony that Moby Dick really was real and we killed them all.

Recall “Military Zombie Chicken Plan is Real but Sarah Palin still False” and “My failed “zombie” cognitive research, Part 3” and “SciencePunk: Real Zombies“.

Are the real zombies those with Cotard’s syndrome, or parasite-infected insects, or hacked computer botnets? OR are the real zombies the fiction, the George Romero characters and those from “Walking Dead”? When fiction has the power to shape reality, what is real? Is global warming real? Is the war on Christmas real? Is reality real?

Who are the real presidential candidates? The frontrunners both have “real” in their twitter names, does that make them real? Let’s look closer at last night’s debate transcript:

Governor Kasich: “as the governor of Ohio I have to deal with real challenges”
Governor Kasich: “the real jobs come in the downstream, not in the upstream, but in the downstream.”

Governor Bush: “That’s not how the real world works.”
Governor Bush: “My worry is that the real economy has been hurt by the vast overreach of the Obama administration.”

Does that word mean what they think it means? Is it anything more than reinforcing their subjective confidence?

Also maybe we should note “real estate”:

Senator Cruz: “we had loose money, we had an asset bubble, it drove up the price of real estate”
Fiorina: “Government created the problem of a real estate boom.”

What is real estate? What is property? Would there be any property rights at all without the Hobbesian “Leviathan” of government to enforce those supposed rights?

Senator Paul: “I want a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it. “

So would it really be there at all? How could there be any property rights at all without a strong government to protect them? Which leads to the debate between Senators Paul and Rubio about whether it is conservative to add a trillion dollars to military spending.

Trump: “I want to do something really special. I want to make our country greater than it’s ever been.”

Great like Moby Dick? Big and massive and real! Real like Jesus? Because whether the book is historical or fictional doesn’t matter, it’s the story that matters. Recall there is a leviathan in the Bible too.

However, in the tale of the whaleship Essex, in “In the Heart of the Sea”, the ship wrecks in South America, and the surviving crew may have resorted to cannibalism. Because after all, this really is a zombie blog.

once more unto the epistemological void: #UBScholarsontheRoad @UBCAS @HodgsonRuss

“We know we’re doomed,” Professor David Castillo said. Then he said something about being on a train barreling down a track towards the end of the world and either we can’t change course or we don’t believe we can. It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the small changes needed to fix it, he said, it’s a “failure of political imagination”. Then there was a raffle randomly selecting from business cards to receive his book “Baroque Horrors” and other gifts. After all, this was a promotional event for the University of Buffalo alumni community in New York City, October 27, 2015.

The setting was back-dropped with Times Square billboards behind the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of Hodgson Russ LLP’s magnificent room. The speech began after an hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvre. The first speaker introduced the event, part of a ‘Scholars on the Road’ series, designed to reconnect alumni with their alma mater and ultimately raise donor money, because as he said, “state support continues to decrease.” The “ironic tones” were noticeable.

For the main event, Professor David Castillo of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Buffalo spoke about his interest in zombies. Apparently, Castillo was also the speaker at the first Scholars on the Road event a few years ago, so this event was sort of a reprise. It is October, time to recycle the zombie talk.

Professor Castillo began with his own interests in the 16th and 17th century romance literature, particularly Spain. He wanted to do an “archaeology of horror” about the “culture of curiosities” and collections of oddities (see Wikipedia: Cabinet of Curiosity). Then he examined the etymology of “monster” (monstrum = to demonstrate, show, reveal; and monere = warning, admonish). He emphasized that monsters are signs and warnings.

Then he summarized an old Spanish story from 1647, written by a female writer. He likened it to “White Zombie” in that a women was possessed by a man who would take her away from her home at night. When it was discovered, the women was cleared of her responsibility by officials but the husband was still upset, and so he locked the wife inside a wall for many years (a sort of second zombification). Castillo’s point was that racial slaves, objects of desire, loss of will to a voodoo master, denouncing the role of women in the culture, these have been a source of fiction going back almost 400 years or more.

Moving right along, he jumped to George Romero 1968, “Night of the Living Dead”, and the monsters now become “agents of apocalypse”. Then 1978, “Dawn”, a shopping mall, “They are us,” “consuming ourselves to death”. And then “Land of Dead”, “we are decay” and the beginning of the “self-consciousness of the zombie”. As Castillo explains, in Romero’s world, the mall is the center, the military surrounds that providing service in and out, and outside is the world of the zombies: mass spectators distracted by fireworks unable to avert our eyes even as we become aware of impending demise. And, for Castillo, “The Walking Dead” is simply a continuation in that line of post-apocalyptic landscape.

Continuing the metaphors of consumerism, homelessness, unsustainable population growth and unending piles of garbage. The one common feature of the diverse metaphors: “we made them”. The apocalypse approaches “no horsemen needed, walkers will do”. It is the “fantasy of a zero point”, a fantasy of starting over as a new person, free from our daily schedules, free from the constant ping of iPhones.

This fantasy allows us to ask ourselves, what will you do in apocalypse? It is an opportunity to examine our values, politics, and sense of self. In this way the zombies represent a society afraid to break its own routines even when those routines are leading toward certain demise.

It’s not particularly optimistic. Castillo encourages we read his new book on zombies “Zombie Talk: Culture, History, Politics” but even more he recommends his upcoming book “Mediologies” about the “power of media to frame reality”. He mentioned work on visual literacy and how new media in law and courtroom is changing the way juries see information.

Referencing his NY Times article from last year “Dreamboat Vampires and Zombie Capitalists,” he suggests that reading the comments is better than the article. So the event host read a few of the top comments, but then couldn’t pronounce “epistemological”. He’s not an academic so I guess, how would he know? (get it? how would he know! epistemology!) Maybe take a selfie to prove the moment is “real“.

So what do we do about it? There is “no magic bullet” for zombies (they’re not werewolves). But Castillo argues that “thinking about it is part of the solution.” Mere reflection may be enough to shake free from the “mass of indistinguishable cadavers”. He is, after all, a humanities professor for a state university.

Castillo suggested that George Romero prefers working in B-movies for the flexibility of the format; the ability to control his message that he would not get with a major Hollywood blockbuster production budget. Does he prefer working at SUNY Buffalo for similar reasons? Is it another conflict of the individual and the system under domination of economic forces? Or is it all just part of the fireworks show, another distraction? We pay “lipservice to individuality” but are we unavoidably zombies: “mass consumers possessed by a hunger they don’t understand” and it’s self-destructive.

In conclusion: Recycle. Reuse. Repurpose. It’s October, play it again zombie Tom, some jokes never die and Castillo got a big laugh when, late in the speech, he casually mentioned Jesus: you know that guy who returned from the dead with that eat-of-his-body meme. Big laugh. It seems like the oldest zombie joke there is and yet still Castillo got a laugh out of it. Jesus isn’t even a zombie (he’s a lich) and still Castillo got a laugh out of it.

Because, we are still shuddering from Dracula, still afraid of reverse colonization, still hating on the movie version of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and like in 17th century Spain, still watching an empire in decline while thinking to ourselves that this is the beginning of the end of the world. As if it hasn’t always been ending, as if Hegel hadn’t already taught us that’s the only truth of things (that they end).

And in case you are wondering (as one audience questioner was) for this Halloween, Castillo plans to dress as a father (he has teenage children who plan to trick-or-treat). It’s not an easy world for zombie fathers, but Castillo is on sabbatical now so maybe he can use it as a chance to shake up his routines. As for me, this event was a good opportunity to shake up my own routines. Thanks to Professor Castillo and the University of Buffalo College of Arts and Science for the open invitation and thanks to Hodgson Russ LLP for hosting them. I met one of their lawyers in the elevator on the way out. She was just leaving work (after 8pm) and seemed a bit frazzled, but nice enough to direct me back to the subway, and back onto that train to the end of the world. Shout-out to Lisa in real estate. Nom nom…

End of the world … and I feel fine.” Oh yeah, how do you know?

LA Zombie Breedlove murder charges dismissed

Recall the story of Derrick Murray, supposed L.A. Zombie of Evansville, who threatened police on the internet, and caused the police to embarrass themselves when they flash-banged his neighbor. Then Judge Posner’s 7th Circuit opinion called those cops “Keystone Kops” and that week they arrested Murray for murder?! Well now, those murder charges have been dropped.

TristateHomepage: Defense Attorney: Breedlove Murder Case ‘Tarnishes Everyone Involved’“:

For nearly two months, the three men were being held in jail as their defense attorneys publicly complained about a lack of information from the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office.

14news: “Charges dropped against 3 suspects in Breedlove murder” posted by Sean Edmondson and by Jess Raatz and Jessica Schmidt:

Bobby John’s attorney and Murray’s attorney believe there was never any proof.


Two of the suspects, Bobby John Handegard and Bobby Michael Handegard, were released from jail on Friday afternoon.


Derrick Murray, is still in jail on a federal hold related to another case.

That federal charge is for marijuana. See from August in Evansville Courier Press: “Defense: Nothing linking Murray to Breedlove shooting” by Mark Wilson:

Murray was on federal supervised release from a 2012 charge of making Internet threats against Evansville police. He was arrested after a probation officer found “evidence of criminal activity” on his cell phone, according to court records. As a result, he also faces a separate felony charge of dealing marijuana.

costly zombie walks = funeral for Asbury Park – Asheville & Louisville; Sacramento & Salt Lake

Still time to register for Asheville’s attempt to break the record for linked tubers, MountainXpress: “Zombie Float returns to Asheville this Saturday” by Hayley Benton:

Though 548 zombie-participants were officially counted in last year’s Tube-ocalypse Zombie Float, that number was 87 short of what was needed to break the record for linked tubers. The current record, 634 people, is held by the Harley Owners Group Taiwan Chapter, breaking the previous record, 620, from tubers on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., in 2013.

Pre-registration and a signed waiver form for the float are required and can be found at The deadline to register is Friday, Aug. 28

Remember: do zombies float? (See “the Obama float” and “underwater zombie weaving“).

Meanwhile this Saturday in Louisville, Courier Journal: Bloody Saturday as Zombies Attack Louisville” by Kirby Adams:

Did you realize Louisville is home to the largest and oldest annual zombie walk in the world? The 2015 Zombie Attack takes place Saturday in its usual spot — The Highlands.

Unfortunately, the Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, New Jersey Zombie Walk is CANCELLED, best explained by the headlines:

NJ: “Organizer puts New Jersey Zombie Walk to rest, citing costs and size” by Rob Spahr
NYPost: “Asbury Park now too gentrified for popular ‘Zombie Walk’” by Associated Press
NJ105: “Coolest images of the Asbury Park Zombie Walk we’ve seen (RIP)” by Louis C. Hochman
NJ105: “Asbury Park Zombie Walk is dead. Will you mourn it?” by Matthew White

Of course, recall last year’s San Diego Comic Con zombie walk was hit by a car, driven by a deaf driver. He’s awaiting trial — having lost the preliminary hearing in early June, see Fox5: “Deaf driver in ‘Zombie Walk’ collision to stand trial“:

Matthew Pocci, 47, faces three years in state prison if convicted.

Following the preliminary hearing, the judge ruled that enough evidence was presented for Pocci to stand trial. He will be back in court June 24 for arraignment.

And then on June 24, Fox5: “Trial date set for driver accused of ‘Zombie Walk’ crash” by Sandra Phillips:

An Oct. 13 trial date was set Wednesday for a deaf motorist accused of driving his car through a crowd watching the “Zombie Walk” parade during last summer’s Comic-Con convention, seriously injuring one woman.

That kind of thing must increase the insurance costs for events like the walk in Asbury Park, but what if they had a more formal political cause? Where can we convene safely to protest and march against our government? This is a first amendment right!!? (I guess linking together and filling up a river is as good an idea as any I’ve got.)

Meanwhile, some zombie walks zombie on, this weekend:

Sacramento Bee: “Zombies to terrorize R Street for 15th year” by Janet Vitt:

The 15th Annual Sacramento Zombie Walk won’t even wait until dark. It takes place 4-11 p.m. Saturday… dead walk begins at 7:30 p.m. and will move along R Street.,

Benzinga: “Undead to Invade Salt Lake City for Annual Zombie Walk“:

Salt Lake City will once again look like the set of a zombie apocalypse movie on Sunday, August 30, 2015, as Utah’s undead participate in the eighth annual Zombie Walk sponsored by Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake Comic Con
SLC Zombie Walk Facebook Event
SLC Zombie Walk page

Why zombie walks in August? It’s simple, the Christmas season begins before Thanksgiving so Halloween begins now:

christmas begins on before thanksgiving, so halloween begins in august

[UPDATE: the Toronto Zombie Walk Funeral is also this weekend, see calendar at]

Tom brady is a zombie despite apologies from artist Jane Rosenberg

In case you missed it, Tom Brady appeared in court as a a zombie, at least in the court sketch by Jane Rosenberg. Of course, he’s also a zombie of another sort (more on that below), but first, the law-related issues.

Trentonian: “Tom Zombie? Courtroom artists Brady drawing is straight of The Walking Dead” by The Associated Press

Now, as evidenced by how long it took me to post about this (over a week late), you can tell that I really don’t care that much about zombie football. But, it’s still a big zombie-law story and I feel the need to try to cover it at least a little. Aside from the legal issues underlying deflategate (which I personally think are nonsense conspiracy designed to make people think all of football isn’t completely rigged entertainment, like professional wrestling), this story also provided a media opportunity to mention the issue of cameras in the courtroom (which the media industry desperately wants because they want to air the silly clips out of context – see for example ATL: “O-M-G, Your Honors! ‘Valley Girl’ Prosecutor Pleases The Court” by David Lat). So, here’s an opportunity for the media to teach football fans about legal process, but instead, let’s talk about how his hair and face look in the court sketch.

Time: “This Sketch of Tom Brady in Court Looks Hilariously Nothing Like Him” by Justin Worland:

When he steps into a courtroom, he apparently becomes a lifeless zombie, a terrifying creature who’s face appears to be melting.

Patch: “Court Artist’s Drawing of Tom Brady is Absolutely Horrifying” by Daniel Libon:

An exhausted old man? A zombie? Frankenstein’s monster? What does Tom Brady look like in the official court drawing?

Sportsgrid: “Courtroom Sketch Artist Speaks Out: ‘Tell Tom Brady I’m Sorry … I Might Just Kill Myself’” by Rich Chandler:

She made Brady resemble a combination of Lurch from the Addams Family, and a zombie, and a Nick Nolte mug shot.

Dlisted: “Open Post: Hosted By This Gorgeous Courtroom Sketch Of Tom Brady” by Michael K:

The courtroom sketch artiste Jane Rosenberg really worked her artistic magic and turned Tom Brady into a sad zombie Thundercat with mange.

Stashed: “Tom Brady’s Courtroom Sketch Is Pretty Horrifying” by Kazeem Famuyide:

How did you manage to make Brady, one of the most facially-gifted athletes on the planet, look like he was a zombie from Resident Evil?

KHOU: “Court sketch of Tom Brady is the scariest thing you’ll see all day” by John Breech

Brady looks like he’s about to star as a zombie-elf in a Lord of the Rings-Walking Dead crossover movie that I’d would probably actually watch if someone ever created it.

CTVnews: “‘It’s very difficult to sketch beautiful people’: Artist who drew Tom Brady speaks out“:

another meme Photoshops him into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video as a dancing zombie.

[photocredit: @Athlonsports]

Leader Post: “Gormley: The week that was: from Duffy to the Riders” by John Gormley:

longtime New York court sketch artist Jane Rosenberg, who has apologized to New England Patriots QB-babe Tom Brady who she rendered this week as looking somewhere between Lurch and a zombie. Even his tousled hair looked like devil horns.

CNN: “Sketch artist apologizes to Tom Brady” by Melonyce McAfee:

She “loves” the meme featuring her sketch of Brady superimposed on Michael Jackson’s body in a still from the singer’s zombie-themed “Thriller” music video.

“I laughed at the memes — they’re really funny and creative,” she said.

Yes, laughing all the way to the bank– NYObserver: “Tom Brady Drawing A Fumble, But Courtroom Artists Usually Score” by Elizabeth Williams:

The image went viral, prompting many unflattering reviews and a “Zombie Brady” hashtag.

“Tom Brady’s face,” argued the sports website SB Nation, “melted at the DeflateGate hearing, according to this courtroom sketch.” (Don’t feel too bad for Ms. Rosenberg; she’s asking $1 million for the original).

Bulletin Leader: “Lawyer Jason Bonk On The Tom Brady Appeal Hearing” by Catherine Brumfield:

Implying that the artistic rendering makes Brady look unwell, another meme Photoshops him into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video as a dancing zombie.

Counton2: “Zombie Brady? Deflategate Sketch Artist has Unique Style” by NBCnews:

Once upon a time, no courtrooms allowed cameras inside. Now, it’s a courtroom-by-courtroom thing,

Once upon a time there were no instant replays, there were no requests to ask the umpires to look at the video tape. So yes, cameras are important to modern times. Recently, cameras on police cars have unveiled horrible atrocities of government oppression that otherwise would have been buried by cover-up. Maybe we do need more cameras in the court too? That said, law is about reading and writing. We need a media that will help read the documents to the world in an entertaining way to inspire more reading and writing. Sound bites have a tendency to ignore the process and law is a process. Still, maybe out of context sound bites might be a good way to inspire that? It might create a lot of misconception but it might also lead some curious minds to dig for the deeper truth that they would not otherwise even known to look for?

Meanwhile in college football, where NLRB says players can’t unionize,(see ESPN: “Northwestern players denied request to form first union for athletes” ‘zombie’ might mean something different. See U of Alabama linebacker quoted in “Alabama’s Reggie Ragland gets some work at outside linebacker” by Ken Rogers:

Ragland laughed as he told reporters about running into the mythical “wall” that so many freshmen crash into around this time in camp.

“You can tell it’s hitting them because they’re walking around all depressed and zombie-like,” Ragland said. “So we try to keep them going and tell them it’s going to get better.

“When I first got here – oooh – I was zombie-like myself. I had to get a strong mindset. Once you go through the program in a year, you know what to expect. But for the guys that are moping around, we try to keep them up.”

And speaking of “once upon a time” even zombie Cinderella is cross-marketing with football, Washington Post: “The College Football Playoff killed Cinderella” by Matt Bonesteel:

Here’s everything that would need to happen for Cinderella to rise from the dead like the world’s prettiest zombie.

Can Tom Brady rise from the dead to be the world’s prettiest again? Is it possible that he knew the balls were under-inflated? Does it matter? Aren’t we all knowingly playing with a deflated economy? And deflated balls is a Viagra advertisement, right? err, Levitra; Glaxosmithkline, proud multi-year sponsor of nonsense court trials? (See PRnewswire: “NFL Announces Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline as First-Ever Multi-Year ‘Proud Sponsors of the NFL’ in the Pharmaceutical Category“)

Does anyone actually believe professional sports aren’t completely rigged? (What about the sport of law?) Sure, they wouldn’t tell the linebackers, but the dozen or so professional quarterbacks must all be in on it, right? Just like the Supreme Court justices know that they are politicians, the quarterbacks know that too, right? They are selected in part because they know how to look pretty and keep their mouths shut. Tom Brady is a zombie cinderella because at midnight, or whenever his contract expires, he’s just another pretty boy corporate model, owned to sell advertising. See TVTropes: “All part of the show“. Or perhaps we should say ‘all part of the cross-marketing’.

Posner calls Evansville “Keystone Kops” for flash-bang, while they arrest LA Zombie twice

Remember the flash-bang LA Zombie gang case? Well, there have been some very unusual developments this week.

Most significant for legal scholars, the elderly neighbor who was flash-banged by the police has had a big win in the 7th Circuit last Friday. Judge Posner affirmed the lower court ruling , thereby denying summary judgment for excessive force claims and denying qualified immunity to the Evansville police for their series of too many mistakes (Posner calls them “Keystone Kops“, but amazingly his Honor doesn’t take the opportunity to mention “LA Zombies” despite Judge Lawrence writing it in the district court judgment. Judge Posner has zombied before, but I guess he didn’t think they were relevant here.).

Meanwhile (and coincidentally?), the Evansville police managed to arrest Derrick Murray twice this week. Surely, it’s a coincidence, right? They’re not retaliating for their public embarrassment, right? Police don’t do that, right?!? But boy, that benchslap has gotta hurt.

Ok so, for those of you who don’t remember the facts, this case was previously mentioned at ZombieLaw: “L.A. Zombie gang of Evansville, Indiana“. It’s about internet threats made by Derrick Murray, and how the police used flash-grenades on his elderly neighbor because the internet posts were from the unsecured wireless internet at that address. The police got a search warrant based on the IP address and bang.

Recall also from prior ZombieLaw: “L.A. Zombie internet posts – free speech or criminal?” in which the defense attorney first argued that it should be free speech to threaten the cops on the internet.

Ultimately, Murray plead to the charge, see from 2013, Evansville Courier & Press: “Man pleads guilty, says threats to police not ‘the smartest thing’” by Mark Wilson:

“I was just being stupid. It was just a cowardly act,” Murray said.

[Murray] walked up the street from his mother’s house until his smartphone could pick up an unsecured wireless Internet connection

The threat [Murray] pleaded guilty to making read (sic all): “Lol at all da cops commenting. F#=k the police. you mfs need to b taught a lesson. always harassing n violating mfs rights. 4th of July a cops house gonna get hit. don’t care about your kids or btchs lives. I dnt even care about my own life. I got my reasons … times ticking.”

That, plus some claims of explosives (and the IP address) allowed the Evansville police to get a warrant for the wrong house. Rather than investigate further, they threw a flash-grenade and cuffed a 68-year old lady. The district court denied summary judgment in January and the appeal decided last week affirmed. See report in the Evansville Courier & Press: “Appeals Court: EPD not shielded from liability in SWAT raid lawsuit” by Mark Wilson.

This is an important decision for police practices (at least in the 7th Circuit) and it’s already being covered in the legal news. See Courthouse News: “SWAT Assault on Home Ruled Unreasonable” by Jack Bouboushian.

See also Reason’s Hit and Run Blog: “SWAT Team Liable for Wrong-House Flash-Bang Raid on Grandmother, Teen Girl; Can Be Sued For Their Actions” by Brian Doherty:

this decision does not say the cops lost the civil suit. It is saying that their attempt to argue that “qualified immunity insulates them from liability” for being sued at all failed, and, as discussed below, the lawsuit can go on to trial.

Presumably they’ll settle before trial and hopefully it will cause changes in police practices so that they better investigate future cases before throwing flash grenades. Watch the video of the bungled search warrant (h/t Hit and Run Blog):

Ok, so all this is big news for police practices and legal junkies. BUT THAT’s NOT ALL.

The same Derrick G. Murray has been arrested twice more this week. First, last Thursday for marijuana, and then again, as soon as he posted bail, this morning Tuesday, for MURDER! Yes, murder.

What kind of police practice is that? Arrest suspect, get his bail money, arrest him again? And on the same week of the big court case about the highly embarrassing police mistake caused by that very same person? That’s a big coincidence.

About the marijuana arrest, see Evansville Courier & Press: “Man who made 2012 threats against police arrested again” by Richard Gootee:

The man who spent time in federal prison after making Internet threats against Evansville police in 2012 is back in jail after being arrested on Thursday. According to the probable cause affidavit against 34-year-old Derrick G. Murray, Evansville police officers and federal agents located about 13 grams of suspected marijuana during a search of his home… The search was done as part of Murray’s April 2013 federal sentence for pleading guilty to a charge of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

And about the murder arrest, again from the Evansville Courier & Press: “Police release names in Breedlove murder arrests” Richard Gootee:

Derrick G. Murray, had just been released from the Vanderburgh County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond after being arrested Thursday on preliminary marijuana charges.

See also 14news: “Three charged with murder in death of Evansville DJ” by Jess Raatz:

Evansville police say three suspects have been charged with murder in the death of Shane Breedlove.

Tuesday morning, around 4 a.m., detectives and the EPD SWAT team served warrants for Derrick Murray, Bobby John Handegard and Bobby Michael Handegard.

Murray is the same man who was arrested back in 2012 in connection with threats towards EPD officers that led to a SWAT team raid on the wrong house.

41-year-old Shane Breedlove was gunned down two weeks ago, on his way to work on Evansville’s east side.

Ok so, crazy-internet-threat-guy gets arrested for marijuana that sort of makes sense, but murder? of a DJ? WTF? If these charges don’t stick, then the timing of these arrests sure seems questionable. Then again if it turns out that he did murder the DJ, well then, maybe flash-grenades were warranted? They shouldn’t have immunity for cavalier law enforcement, but exactly what is excessive force if it’s really a murderous gang-member? We still sometimes need the cavalry.

Final Note:

District Judge Lawrence in his order denying summary judgment in January 2015 wrote:

Derrick Murray, a known LA Zombies gang member and a “thorn to the police department for a while,”

Well, it looks like maybe they got him this time, and right on time to save the department a little bit of face. “That’s some fine police work, Lou”

JP credible sells paper “zombie shares” bad copy – RIP Ennis and Broadway PBUH

The previous post mentioned Jared Polis but he wasn’t the only JP “zombie” in the recent news, there was also the JP Morgan settling of “zombie debt”. Was it 136 million, 166 million (a better pun) or 216 million? It depends on the source and their math. See breakdown in LegalNewsOnline: “JPMorgan Chase accused of selling ‘zombie debts’ to third-party buyers”:

JPMorgan Chase will pay $50 million in consumer refunds, $136 million in penalties to the CFPB, and about $30 million in a penalty to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Cordray said the bureau found Chase sold “zombie debts” to the third parties, and included accounts that weren’t accurate, were settled, discharged in bankruptcy, not owed, or otherwise uncollectible.

Did you know that JP Morgan owns the pistols from the duel that killed Alexander Hamilton? And unless you live in a bubble, you’ve heard that “Hamilton” is on Broadway, and that his face is being removed from the $10 bill? (to be replaced by an as yet unnamed woman — maybe it should be zombie Cinderella?) Hamilton is the only Founding Father that was born in the Caribbean (and so surely he had some “zombie” contact with West African Haitian religion).

Meanwhile on Broadway, further evidence that there is no credibility in media. I am referring to the nonsense stories about cell phones (technology zombies?) at the show “Hand to God”, see TheatreMania: “Hand to God Cell Phone Guy: “I Was Just Being Me”” because ya know, Millennials gotta be themselves, right? except this kid was clearly set up to do this, right? And so too, that zombie diva, Patti LuPone, grabbing a cell phone from the audience, sure. These are marketing gimmicks, right? Patti LuPone’s a diva, turn your cell phone off, buy tickets to the dying art of zombie theater.

Even legit sources aren’t particularly credible because everyone is more concerned with being first than with being right. Truth is dead, long live the zombie reprint. Last week, the IndyStar reported about “zombie shares” in a federal court case, see IndyStar: “Emmis wins appeals court ruling in ‘zombie shares’ dispute” by Jeff Swiatek, who wrote:

“It has been a long road, but we are incredibly gratified that the 7th Circuit upheld Judge (Sarah) Barker’s ruling, and denied the arguments made by dissident preferred shareholders,” said Jeff Smulyan, chairman and CEO of Emmis.

Barker rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the stock buyback amounted to an “illegal sham” carried out using “zombie shares” that should have been retired when they were repurchased by Emmis.

OK, except Judge Barker didn’t write “zombie” anywhere I can find. Judge Barker’s opinion from the District Court decision does refer to the “illegal sham” but no federal court ever has written “zombie shares” (at least not that I see). After all, zombies don’t share… [[That is with the big exception of Rob Zombie when he’s “sharing” his own promotional materials (see “Zombie Shares Look At Rotted Witch Corpse From ‘The Lords of Salem’”, “Rob Zombie Shares Concept Artwork for New Horror Movie, ’31′”, “Zombie shares his 10 Favorite Scenes From His Own Horror Movies”, and “Zombie shares his “ten commandments” of horror film making with Metal Hammer”).]]

So, LawZombie tweeted at Swiatek about his quote when the article first posted (no response) and then I left a phone message for him 10 days ago on his voice mail phone number listed at bottom of his article (no response). Gotta love supposed journalists who don’t respond to fact-checkers.

I really wonder if some corporate interest tried to push that language into his story. Corporate stock does have a history of being described as zombie (notably, see the Scholes precedent). And as if they knew I was writing about Scholes, Lexology posted: “Standing in the shoes or freeing evil zombies? The public policy of applying the in pari delicto defense to actions brought by a receiver” by Ellis & Winters:

In pari delicto is an equitable defense asserted when a defendant claims that a plaintiff is equally at fault for the wrong that has befallen him.

But still, that doesn’t answer the question: who said “zombie shares” to Jeff Swiatek for the Emmis case? There is presumably a lot of money riding on those shares, since Swiatek also reported last March “Emmis to offer stock awards to most employees” so presumably Swiatek has some contacts at this company, and again, who told fed him “zombie stock”? And then it gets propagated across the internet on repeater aggregator sites, and it also found it’s way to Stock Transcripts Stock Highlights:

On 3 July, Emmis Communications Corp. (NASDAQ:EMMS) won an appeals court decision in a dispute with some of its preferred shareholders over “zombie shares” and more than $10 million in unpaid dividends.

Meanwhile, and unrelated to zombie Emmis except for the spelling, Tufts Professor Ennis is dead; “James Ennis, Longtime Associate Professor of Sociology, 62“:

His areas of expertise included social networks, sociological theory, research methods and social movements,

Sincere condolences to the Tufts family (and coincidental that the previous post mentioned Dennett and Drezner)

So in memory, here’s some social science for today, from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: “A rose by any other name? The consequences of subtyping “African-Americans” from “Blacks”” by Erika V. Hall, Katherine W. Phillips, Sarah S.M. Townsend. This set of studies claims to show significant difference between a single racial descriptor. The authors go so far as to argue that there are implication for criminal trials if the jury perceives the defendant as “African American” instead of “Black”. That claim seems a bit of an overreach from their actual findings, but you can’t blame business professors for selling it. We should notice that these authors are at three business schools, yes, business schools, where the real science is.?!

Still, if there is a significant difference between “Black” and “African American” than surely there is an effect from using “zombie” as a descriptor. Just because my own cognitive research was utter failure doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something there (failed zombie cognitive research: part1, part2, part3).

In conclusion, here’s a list of cognitive biases, and consider inattentional blindness. After all, zombies are in part about perception and relationship to eyes, and about selling those eyes (and it’s attention). At some level it’s all bad debt in a mass consumer Ponzi scheme; when JP Morgan says it’s good, it must be good, just a shell game. Another deal with government, a little shakedown payout, nobody goes to jail, just sold a little bad debt, that’s all, nothing to see here.

In pari delicto is an equitable defense, too bad we all have such dirty hands. See JP Sarte: “Dirty Hands” (1948). “JP”!! I didn’t plan that pun in advance, ‘hand to god’, praise be upon Hamilton.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,768 other followers