Just a few days after a vicious cannibal attack in Miami rocked the nation, Americans are dealing with the fallout in a variety of ways, from attempting to return to work as normal to stockpiling food and weapons for the "Zombie Apocalypse."
Some businesses say the attack has had little impact on their day-to-day operations, while others say it's difficult to recover from the circus that was Miami in the aftermath of the "Miami Zombie" saga, and at least one is already making plans to capitalize on all the publicity.
The city of Miami is attempting to move on, as evidenced by Angel Zayvon, a spokesperson for the Miami city government, who e-mailed the following statement to the International Business Times on Friday:
"Miami is a safe and fun city. We hope that this horrendous incident does not affect our image negatively," she wrote. "This is an isolated case that does not reflect the true nature of The City of Miami."
And Franco Carretti, the owner of Miami's ABC Costume Shop, said he has not seen an increase in the number of zombie costumes or protective facemasks being purchased at his store.
"It's such a horrible thing I think people are just trying to forget about it. I hope they don't come to ask me for something like that," he said.
But Carretti said he hopes that something is done to curb the use of bath salts, a relatively-new drug that may have been behind the crazed state that led 31-year-old Rudy Eugene to attack 61-year-old Ronald Poppo. And he said he remains very nervous that another similar incident could happen in Miami if something is not done about the drug.
"Every time I read something about this I feel my face hurt. I don't know what other people think. I am concerned because I'm afraid to go out because you never know what the people around you think or what they'll do," he said.
"I'm concerned myself because I was reading this morning also in Baltimore a guy killed somebody and ate their brain and their heart. I hope they take away these drugs where you can buy them on the internet like a salt for a bath. The authorities or whoever is in charge of these things needs to take them off the market because they make people like an animal."
But other business owners say that the case of the "Miami zombie" - as Eugene has been dubbed by the Miami Herald - is not impacting their bottom lines.
Vilma Farias, manager at Miami's Tradewinds Waterfront Bar & Grill, said the rabid reaction to the incident seems to have been short-lived.
"Everything seems to be going normal now," she said Friday afternoon, a day when she was more concerned about the deluge of Heat fans expected to descend on the bar that night when the team plays the Celtics in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals. "It just died away."
However George Gay, manager at South Beach Hardgoods, an Ace Hardware outlet in Miami Beach, said a state of shock persists among many Miami residents, though he has not seen an increase in sales in supplies that might be used in zombie movies to help survive an onslaught by the foaming undead.
"I've just heard a lot of chitter chatter but nobody's come in buying anything like that," he said. "Most people aren't too concerned, but some people have been freaked out by it. They can't believe it. They express shock more than anything. it seems like something that would happen in the movies not in broad daylight."
Workers at two other Miami hardware stores also said they have seen no increase in sales of items used to "zombie-proof" homes, or items that could ostensibly be used as weapons against zombies.
This lack of effort on behalf of Floridians to protect themselves may come as a surprise to many who believe the Zombie Apocalypse is nigh, as hordes of these folks are hoarding supplies in response to the litany of cannibal-related news stories that have emerged in the past week.
Online zombie forums are rife with postings by such people, including the Lost Zombies message boards, to which user Zombie Hunter 223 posted photographs of his stash of food that he hopes will help him survive if the Zombie Apocalypse begins in full swing.
"Well I hit up the store and bought 87 dollars worth of survival food, so my pantry's looking a little more stocked now but see for yourself," he wrote on the forum. "People may ask why we do what we do and I'll tell you, it's peace of mind. I feel so much better knowing I got a buck out bag by the door and shelves full of canned goods. that why i do it man, and think that why the rest of us do it too."
Other Lost Zombies users have taken zombie survival prep a step further, posting photos of the guns and ammo they are amassing to fight off the masses if they come looking for their brains.
This is America, however, and beyond the shock and awe, there is always money to be squeezed out of every major event.
As the New York Daily News reported on Friday, the site of Eugene-Poppo attack will be added to the "Mystery, Mayhem and Vice Crime Bus" tour, as part of Miami's HistoryMiami sightseeing program.
And a whole building full of million-dollar-plus "zombie-proof" condos has sold out in Kansas.
The "Zombie Apocalypse" may never begin, but if it does, some of us will be more ready than others.
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