The Walking Dead has been a huge hit for cable network AMC. The comic book adaptation tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world where zombies have overrun the world. Governments have fallen, leaving pockets of survivors to cope with the new world. It speaks a lot to the human experience. The zombie genre itself has been no stranger to social commentary, more prominently speaking to the times through George A. Romero’s films about the undead such as Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.
Tonight’s episode spoke to a prominent debate occurring in America now. Moderate spoilers ahead for those who have not yet seen the episode, be warned.
Negan is the new bad guy on the scene. A ruthless tyrant, he leads a group of survivors who rule by fear and takes by force. His entrance on the show was marked by the brutally savage beatings of two prominent characters in order to send a message to the survivors. Since this point, there have been a number of metaphors for society.
In the extended ninety-minute special, Negan found his way down to a fortified city known as Alexandria. Here, survivors have come together and build a walled in encampment to carry on living he best they can in the world. After gaining entrance into the city, Negan noted that the citizens of Alexandria had a lot of guns. To that point, he stated he wanted the guns confiscated.
The gun control debate thus becomes relevant here on two fronts. First, the issue of gun confiscation and Gun Free Zones. After this scene, Negan then finds the armory and takes the inventory of firearms to use in the confiscation.
Gun registries and owner databases have long been a source of distrust among Second Amendment supporters. The reason for this is exactly what is seen on screen: the confiscation of guns. Negan uses the armory inventory list to hunt down all of the guns in Alexandria and confiscate them for his group. As he makes clear, the existence of guns presents a threat to his control.
Another point gun rights advocates often make is that the elimination of guns only leaves the law-abiding and innocent defenseless, because bad people will always acquire guns. Alexandria’s citizens at that point have been disarmed, leaving the governing body as the only ones with weapons. According to a gun control advocate’s logic, this would leave the people in a safer place.
It’s tragic two beloved characters on the show, one of which had been there since the beginning, were executed by Negan. Senseless violence and slaughter of the innocent is wrong and here in the real world, we all know that. But we are also aware that, as gun control advocates also tell us, the existence of guns is to blame for all violence, whether it be gun related or not.
If guns had been banned and confiscated by Negan sooner, would Abraham and Glenn still be alive?