With the rain starting to drench his shirt and bead in his hair, Jason Miller looked to his small gathering of animal rights followers last night.
"Are you guys cold?" he asked, shivering slightly from the nighttime chill or adrenaline of possible arrest.
"No, I'm hot," a woman in a pink ski outfit spit angrily, casting her eyes at the half-dozen police officers flanking the activists.
"Yeah, well, there's a lot to be hot about," Miller said.
Earlier in the day, Randy Knight, community relations manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation Department, released details about the fate of the 300 deer that will be culled by sharpshooters over the next month to reduce the overpopulation in Shawnee Mission Park. The meat will be donated to Harvesters to feed low-income residents, while the hides will go to the Veterans Leather Program, which uses such material for fingerless gloves needed by wheelchair-bound soldiers.
But Miller was more interested in the blood.
In his latest act of defiance against the Johnson County deer "murderers," the militant vegan doused himself in animal gore.
Miller, the founder of Bite Club of KC, said his latest stunt aimed to emphasize the barbaric nature of the deer harvest. So he acquired a bucket of beef blood -- more than two gallons of the chunky stuff -- from a local meat processor. "This is for the deer," he shouted. Then he up-ended the bucket over his head.
"You go, Jason!" one supported yelled.
"God save the deer!" another shouted.
"It's utterly disgusting," Miller said, grasping for a towel and spitting the splatters that got in his mouth.
Dripping with blood, the empty bucket dangling from his hand, Miller admitted after that he nearly didn't go through with it.
"I kind of had second thoughts," he said. "But then I thought, 'Fuck it.'"