A Vegan With Ammo

Items found while running now include ammunition. I found these on the sidewalk outside the county courthouse. They are nestled in my running glove which is covered in dog hair from petting the neighborhood friendlies. This was one of the rare occasions my running pants didn’t have pockets. I didn’t relish the thought of tucking them into my bra so I carried them home clutched in my palm. I had to ask my neighbor to identify them for me.

I found these bullets.

Those are .22 shells. Hollow points.


Yeah. They’re .22 long rifle shells.

So these are for a rifle?

Or a pistol. Long rifle refers to the size. They come in long or short but you can use these in rifles or pistols.

Oh. I found them outside the courthouse.

Well, we did just have a New Year’s Eve, you know.

He meant someone dropped them while loading their firearm to discharge into the air in celebration, which I understand is a ritual among those who carry firearms. I’ve never understood how this is fun but I’m aware other people do. Since I was running I didn’t inspect the area for any spent shells; just noticed these two blazing in the sunshine.

I once got stuck in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve. The party locale was a mobile home outside the city limits. When midnight drew near the natives disappeared briefly into bedrooms and then reappeared toting firearms. The point was to step outside and ring in the new year by drunkenly firing rounds into the sky. I was offered a shotgun. I declined. While the revelers went out back to shoot their guns I sat on the couch and watched the ball drop over Times Square en espanol.

I’ve also seen this gunfire ritual depicted in the media and in the movies, typically to celebrate a victory of some kind. I’m not ignorant to its prevalence and relevance. I just can’t relate, or rather, I don’t want to relate. And it’s not what you think. I am a former gun user and a former gun owner. I used to think it was fun to practice marksmanship, firing at targets. I practiced with a variety of weapons, from basic revolvers to assault weapons. I got myself properly trained and properly registered.

But firing into the air? No. Never. The Texas holiday party described above happened during my gun phase but I still opted out. As long as the gun phase lasted, I always thought this was stupid, dangerous, and a waste of ammunition (even cheap ammunition). Mixing alcohol and firearms is/was even stupider. There were also children and horses present. It was never an issue of rights. It was just plain stupid. Hell, even smart people do stupid things when they’re drunk.

My gun phase ended violently. There was an incident. There were compelling circumstances. I said never again. I meant it. I still do. So I’m not going to pretend these unspent rounds I found on the ground within running distance are anything other than what they are. I’m also not going to pretend these are party favors on par with confetti or noisemakers or festive hats or cocktails. I’m also not going to pretend these might have been dropped while someone was legally hunting small game; not at the courthouse. They simply shouldn’t be on the sidewalk outside the courthouse. 

But I’m stymied as to what to do with them. How does a vegan dispose of ammunition? (You thought this was a post about gun rights, didn’t you?) I googled it; I can’t throw them away and I cannot recycle them in my area. If I give them to law enforcement I have no idea how they might be used, and I don’t want those what ifs on my conscience. If I give them to a hunter they may be used to kill animals. Can’t Won’t take that chance.

If I give them to a gun range they may get discharged for target practice, but this feels like violating my never again stance with indirect support. Who might be improving their accuracy with my donation? Can’t Won’t take that chance either. Right now the most responsible option seems to be borrowing my neighbor’s .22 pistol and safely discharging these rounds myself, but this also violates my never again stance. (Sigh) You see my dilemma. Once again, saying Always and Never about anything bites me in the ass, but I digress.

Best case scenario, these are dud rounds. The dents are a good sign but there’s only one way to know for sure. Worst case scenario, well … anything could happen once these leave my possession. Gun blogs say to surrender them to other people tasked with responsible disposal but I have trust issues and there is an obvious conflict of interest if the other people use guns. I can’t be sure what will happen. The other people would have to let me watch it happen to satisfy my sense of responsibility. Who’s going to do that?

Do I trust my neighbor enough to invite him hiking where I might watch him safely discharge these rounds in a designated hunting area without killing anything? Voluntarily go alone into the woods with an armed man? Hand these rounds over so he may load a weapon in my presence with the intention of firing that weapon? I don’t think I trust anyone that much, not even my nice neighbor, due to the aforementioned compelling circumstances which ended my gun phase. I won’t willingly put myself in that position. So I’m back to DIY as the best  of my bad options.

I’m going to think about it some more. I’m going for another run today. I’ll take the same route to the ammo drop zone to make sure I got them all. I’ll let you know what I find. Or what I decide.

— Mercy


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