On Monday, Salon.com was the first out of the gates with the rumor that Adam Lanza was “an organic vegan” who “didn’t want to hurt animals.” By now, with the help of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, that news has probably made it clear around the ever-widening Bible belt, up through the armpit of Idaho to the outback outhouses of Alaska’s North Slope.
But whether or not Lanza eschewed animal flesh, he really couldn’t be considered an ethical vegan since vegans make every effort to avoid harming animals and—although some people are loathe to admit it—humans are animals. Ultimately, Adam Lanza’a food choices have no more bearing on his decision to go on a killing spree at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary than the fascinating anecdote that he was left-handed (if he was) or that he had Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism (which he did). (But, the point that his mother was a paranoid, survivalist gun-hoarder might actually have some bearing on the case).
The fact is, Lanza simply snapped. For whatever reason, the troubled twenty-year-old went completely off the deep end and acted out for no other explainable reason than insanity itself. None of his victims had anything to do with hurting animals; they were just innocent first graders minding their own business.
What concerns me is that some otherwise normal, caring vegan will snap in the name of the animals and set the entire animal rights movement back for years to come. Just today I received the following comment to one of my blog posts:
“When the subject of Wolf-murder was first mentioned, last year, I said people should put an ultimatum into the public domain to this effect: Kill ONE Wolf and TEN vermin will be randomly executed as retribution. Kill a SECOND Wolf and TWENTY MORE people will die. Kill a THIRD Wolf and FORTY more people will be slotted. For each Wolf murdered, the number of vermin ‘offed’ as retribution will be doubled, and absolutely ANYONE will become an X-Ray, with no concessions to age or gender or anything else. THAT is the way to do business…”
Although this commenter may sound like they’ve already gone postal, I think their point was to inspire others to take aggressive action. She doesn’t even live on this continent and couldn’t possibly act on her vindictive recommendations.
I’m certainly not going to argue that some of the wolf-killers out there don’t deserve a taste of their own medicine; but what if one of the hunters “randomly executed” turned out to be a good person in-the-making, such as the former hunter who recently wrote this?:
“I stopped hunting and trapping long ago. For years, I was ambivalent about speaking out because I accepted the cultural and psychological influences motivating those who grew up considering unnecessary killing a sport. I’ve come to recognize how superficial, shallow, fleeting and self-destructive is this violent indulgence. I’ve come 180 degrees. For me, it is the senseless open seasons on wolves, bears, and in Wisconsin, even mourning doves.”
Nothing sways public opinion against someone’s cause more than when they decide to go on a shooting spree—especially if their victims are human.