As the man handed me the Uzi, I slid the magazine into the well, charged the handle, raised the weapon and took it off safe. I aimed at the target and slowly pulled the trigger. I fired. Again. And again. And again.
To my rear stood a group of fellow vegans that got together for a day of shooting. We didn’t really talk too much about veganism, though we all had our reasons. We were simply brought together with a common interest.
Under the easy up tent, the grill sizzled with the sound of Tofurky dogs, vegan sausages, and beer brats.
As I handed the Uzi back to it’s owner, I realized at this very moment, this is the future of veganism.
But I don’t think vegans are ready.
You see, on the surface, vegans are a tight-knit group of people that are brought together for a common moral purpose. And, whether for animal rights, personal health, the environment, or other reasons, in the end we are all still vegans.
But veganism as a movement – not just a common moral purpose – is founded on a very strict code of belief. And, lest you fit, very specifically that mold, prepare to be ostracized. This “deeper” form of vegan resists any view that falls outside the movement. This is also where society’s stereotypes of vegans originates.
For our vegan shooting day, I thought it would be a good idea to have a raffle and provide the proceeds to a local farm animal sanctuary. In the end, they asked that I not mention we were giving them the money, as they did not want to be “attacked by the vegan community.” That’s right – a vegan shooting club cannot give free money to a vegan organization, because they are afraid of the vegan community.
And for me, this is where the biggest opportunity for the future of veganism lays. The goal of every vegan should be to promote the lifestyle and approach to as many people as possible. I mean, it’s better for their health, other humans’ health, the animals’ health, the planet’s health, so why not? Who wouldn’t want to reach the farthest corner of society?
And yet, sometimes when I drive my Jeep around Portland I get called an “Earth Raper.” When discussing shooting sports in vegan Facebook groups I have been literally told to ‘GTFO (Get The F&%K Out).’ Because I enjoy shooting. Steel. And paper.
I still wonder if vegans are really ready for veganism to go mainstream.
It feels like the really cool neighborhood band that is super cool to see, but they then sign with a major record label, and all the original fans consider them a sell out, and the band loses the cool factor.
That’s what may happen with veganism – it may be mainstream. Boring. A sell-out.
And all those original fans will need to find another movement to be all SJW-ey about.
There are Jeeps to drive and Uzis to shoot.