It's a well-known fact that someday, all of New York will be reduced to a smoldering, hellish wasteland, a post-apocalyptic desert so bad it will make The Road look like Sex and the City, a badland consisting of the ashes of a once-mighty city felled by war, disease, terror, or Zu'ul. Luckily, we've got an official legal manual!

Yes, the recently-created "Public Health Legal Manual," published by the state courts system, serves "as a guide for judges and lawyers who could face grim questions in another terrorist attack, a major radiological or chemical contamination or a widespread epidemic reports," reports The New York Times. (This is assuming that the judges and lawyers are not consumed by the brain-eating microbes). Grim questions like: How many old people will not get the medicine? And: Can we just shoot anyone we want, or is that, like, not cool, legally?

The idea here is that there's not a lot of precedent when it comes to serious crises, and people might not be super familiar with the laws—and you don't want to get sued for violating someone's rights by breaking into their house to confiscate their Cipro, or whatever. Here's a relevant excerpt:

Unconsolidated Laws §9129 [(1) "in the event of attack," the state civil defense commission may "(a) assume direct operational control of any or all civil defense forces"; (b) order the use of personnel and equipment where needed; (d) "take, use or destroy any and all real or personal property, or any interest therein, necessary or proper for the purposes of civil defense"; and (e) execute any of the civil defense powers and duties of counties or cities]; (2) [in the event of attack, a county or city (a) may compel evacuations (includes "anticipation" of an attack); (b) "shall control all pedestrian and vehicular traffic, transportation and communication facilities and public utilities.

The entire thing is available as a PDF here, but you should download it and print it out now, because when the space-worms come to enslave us there's a good chance you'll have trouble finding a computer with Acrobat Reader. Sadly, it doesn't do much to cover zombie-related eventualities, but that's still a fairly small body of law, so it's silly to assume it would.

[NYT; image via Shutterstock]