Should Vampires Be Held
Accountable for Their
Flesh-eating zombies have been known to feast on innocent people in a violent frenzy. Vampires often keep their victims alive only to kill them another day. Any human being performing such actions would be considered morally despicable and rightly so. But while human perpetrators should pay for their violence, it’s unclear whether the Undead can be held to the same standard.
The zombies in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, for example, lack the cognitive sophistication to be held accountable for their bloodthirsty behavior. Operating according to some set of (un)natural laws, they smash through doors and devour people in a kind of catatonic trance. They behave more like a plant drawn to sunlight than a rational creature aware of its surroundings. If a poisonous plant were to inadvertently take an innocent life, it wouldn’t be subject to moral condemnation. The nuisance might reasonably be destroyed, but a plant cannot be held accountable because it is unaware of the damage it inflicts. Similarly, Romero’s zombies should be stopped, but they shouldn’t be blamed.
By contrast, Dracula meticulously plans his move to London. He secures the services of Jonathan Harker. He carefully considers which pieces of real estate to purchase. And he arranges passage aboard a cargo ship. Furthermore, he willingly makes short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. He isn’t some mindless zombie lacking self-control. If he were, then he would have