Meet Billy Prusinowski, a 19-year-old college student. Billy was arraigned last week on second-degree assault charges in Syracuse, NY. Police say Billy punched a fellow teenager in the face so hard that he needed to see an eye surgeon. They also say he’s “affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” according to the Syracuse Post Standard. When Billy arrived at his arraignment, the paper adds, “he had PETA literature and what appeared to be a member card with him.” Police Captain Tom Winn told the Post Standard that this “vicious assault” was motivated by the victim’s family business.
The victim’s father, you see, owns a fur store. Fur (along with meat, milk, and circuses) is a big no-no for animal rights militants. And Billy should know: in addition to his PETA membership, he was also a featured speaker at a recent “Animal Liberation Student Association Conference.” That event was organized by a group described by its founder (University of Texas El Paso philosophy professor Steven Best) as “something between a support group and a discussion group” for the Animal Liberation Front. The FBI calls that group the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat.
Writing last year on a “Vegetarian Teen” website, Billy described himself as a “vegan straight edge” 18-year-old who crowed that his animal-rights diet made him feel “like I can mosh/dance/do karate/fight/lift twice as hard.” That’s likely small comfort to his victim, who had already begun to “turn around to leave” when Billy let his vegan fist fly, according to the Post Standard.