I think just Rick is the harbinger of death. The hilltop group was doing just fine until they brought Rick back.
Even before that, the group searching for provisions was put in extreme danger by helping Rick.
Walkers would have discovered the hilltop group at some time; they wander around until they "sense" the living, so that original camp was not going to last forever.
At the farm, only one person is responsible for the walker herd getting the upper hand: Shane. If shane did not spilt the group on a set up to kill Rick, imagine how a unified group would have handled that herd. Even if they had to flee, I doubt anyone would have dies, since no one would be waiting for others to show up/wonder if they were dead, etc.
So, I just do not see Rick being the agent of survivor misery, as one was fate, the other the end result of a psycho's master plan.