isn't lost on me. My last post was about how we human animals aren't particularly at ease with violence and yet....yesterday while chatting in the lobby of the local library...chatting with a relative stranger...I had to struggle hard to hold back my impulse to grab the man by the throat and shake/choke him. I was stunned by the rapidity of the desire as well as the incredible strength of it. I actually had to turn my body a little away from him to help me control myself. I felt a burning flush spread from the middle of my stomach to the top of my head. It was all so unexpected and so strong that it seemed almost surreal.
I was leaving the library after checking out an armload of books when I ran into a woman that I knew casually through my previous work. I hadn't seen her in 4 or 5 years and actually didn't recognize her until she said something. She was with her husband whom I had never met and we introduced ourselves and shook hands...all the usual doo dah that the culture/species calls for upon strangers meeting. The woman and I were chit chatting about what we had been doing over the past few years and I shared that I was spending time almost daily helping out at Heartland Rabbit Rescue. They were both surprised that there was such a thing as a rabbit rescue at all, much less in central Oklahoma...then the fun started.
The man said something to the effect of rabbits...they are what you eat aren't they? It was right there that I surprised the hell out of myself by almost attacking the guy who was trying (I suppose) to be funny. I was caught totally off guard by my powerful and rapid reaction. While holding back I was also trying to think of what to say...I guess my face/body showed something, I don't know. I responded by saying something to the effect that as far as I knew the only group on the planet that had said it was ok for humans to kill other beings were the humans...that I didn't know of any other animal that had said...hey humans...come and kill me....and I said that killing someone else was murder and I didn't think murder was ok at all. I then asked him if he knew what veganism was...he said he had heard the term but really didn't know...so I told him about what it meant and that we didn't have to eat animals to survive...that it was all some made-up crap we told ourselves to justify hurting others without looking like total a**holes.
He seemed to realize that I was having some strong feelings and maybe that I was angry...he became conciliatory sounding and appearing. He said he had hunted when he was younger but gave it up because he didn't like it and hadn't hunted in 30 years.
After a bit more chit-chat we did the good-bye thingee and went our separate ways. I've been churning on some level ever since. I truly was and am stunned at my response. I don't anger very easily...and I don't think about or feel like being violent toward others hardly ever. And yet...there it was. I'm still processing this...as I was sitting in the car I realized that his joking was the emotional equivalent...for me...of his saying that my wife or my sister or my father or mother are what you hunt and eat. The rabbits of Heartland (and all rabbits) have become members of my family and I love them and if they're threatened (even jokingly) I respond with angry feelings/impulses.
It's been awhile since I've been in a situation where someone tried to be funny about killing...especially about killing rabbits (or any Earthling). I've changed...being vegan changes how I see the other animals...it's changed how I see people who hurt other animals...it's changed how I respond to jokes about hurting others. I'm changed and my reactions and responses have changed. And I wasn't a particularly good ambassador for veganism nor was I very articulate. It is probably always disconcerting when we encounter an aspect of ourself that we were unaware of. And I was genuinely discombobulated...and still am for that matter.
We may be uncomfortable with physical violence...I am...but that doesn't mean we don't have impulses to be violent. I did...I wanted to grab that guy so strongly I could almost taste it. But...I didn't. I stopped myself...I was even able to speak and be coherent (I think). We may want to be violent...but we don't have to be. That's the good thing.
My apologies to Darby and all bunnies and all the victims of human animals...I wasn't a very effective or convincing advocate on their behalf yesterday. I stumbled through the encounter and got away from it without behaving violently...I guess that's the best thing about it. Attacking strangers in the lobby of a library isn't a good way to advocate for living without harming others.
Please live vegan if you aren't already...but be forewarned...doing so will change you in more ways than you might know...it certainly has done that in my case.