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Back at the hospital, when Shane went to visit Rick and all hell broke loose, the guys in uniform started shooting everyone in the head.

Then, they opened Rick's door and Shane hid behind the bed. My question is, if they knew he would turn into a zombie after death, why didn't they shoot Rick when they saw him laying on the bed?

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    The scene referenced in this question comes from Season 1, Episode 4. It may be helpful to amend the question to reference the episode. Also, in the event of interest, there's a rather detailed recounting of events in this scene on this question.
    – Josh
    Mar 15, 2012 at 16:52

2 Answers 2

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The assumption "if they knew he would turn into a zombie after death", is not necessarily correct. In the TV show, it is shown that none of the main characters are aware that

people who die naturally become zombies until the episode "Better Angels". Until then, the main characters assumed that zombie bites or saliva turn you into a zombie.

This fact was not necessarily known when the hospital was cleared by the military and it has been shown that conflicting or bad information (such as instructions for the public to go to Atlanta) was a large problem during the initial outbreak. If the military believed that only zombie bites or saliva contact during life would reanimate you as a walker in death, then one could assume they would leave Rick alone - if they even got that far.

As @Secko mentioned, there is not any evidence that the military thoroughly searched and cleared the hospital in the first episode.

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  • One clarification regarding the scene in question. In Shane's flashback that started Season 1, Episode 4, we do see a soldier check Rick's room and opt not to take any action (e.g., shoot or move Rick).
    – Josh
    Mar 15, 2012 at 17:00
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First of all, he doesn't die in the comic so that is one of the reasons.

Second, as I remember it, Rick wakes up and finds the hospital empty. He leaves the hospital only to find some remains of the military vehicles outside. There were also some bullet holes on the walls inside, indicating that there was some fighting and that the military locked up some zombies behind a large door with a warning sign. We don't actually see that the military left the place peacefully with a job well done. There were also some remains of other dead zombies in the hospital while Rick was walking down the corridor, and a lot of zombie bodies outside. Which probably means that the military was rushed out without finishing the job.

Hope this explains some of it.

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