No matter how much you hate something, the death of it usually sends chills down your spine unless of course, you are a cold-blooded villain who enjoys sadism. Let me give a simple example; a rat. Assume you had a big rat in your wardrobe. You discovered it was responsible for eating up your clothes, your shoes and your books. You would certainly want to eliminate that rat especially if your shoes and clothes are now permanently damaged.
In fact, you would even be more determined to take the life of that rat if you are a person who shops once infrequently and only at high-end stores. So, the pricey nature of each item destroyed by this rat would spur you to commit to find it and neutralize it.
In addition, let us assume that you are a penny pincher and that every dollar spent on an item freaks you out because you believe you may be paying an unfairly high price for it. If this is your predilection, the activities of this rat would not only infuriate you but nearly drive you nuts.
Furthermore, let us assume that you purchase some rat traps, you place them all over the house and after two days you discover that the rat not only escaped getting trapped but that your house now seems to be infested by rats of all sizes. This realization could bolster you to call the fumigator or it could make this rat extermination business more personal to you. You may now vow to do it yourself and to show no mercy.
Besides, let us also assume that you called in sick the next day. Then you devoted it to combing your closet yet by the end of the day you still did not catch the rat although, you caught its smaller counterparts in your glue traps. By this time, the whole house is echoing with desperate squeaks of various rats that have now realized that they are trapped. They now realize that it is game over.
However, for you, it is not game over. You are still looking for the kingpin — the captain of the rats — the big rat that broke into your home and led the stealth assault on you and your family. Your annoyance has turned to semi — excitement because of the success of having trapped the accomplices in Big Rat’s criminal operation. Now, you can’t wait to catch Big Rat and teach it a lesson it will never forget.
It is 4:46 pm that day but you are still searching. Your husband and the kids will be home in an hour or two due to the usual traffic jam but you don’t care, despite the fact that the house is still in a mess and the only available food has still not defrosted.
Suddenly, you see a movement on the left side of the room, it is the Big Rat. It is trying to escape through your floor-to-ceiling window but you had anticipated that move so you sealed the window. The only thing different was that you rolled the blinds up which gave the window the illusion of being a possible escape route for the rat. Big Rat quickly tries to escape through the window but collides with the glass instead. Surprised but resolute to escape, it returns to its original position and then turns to face you, Rat to Man.
Big Rat looks at you squarely in the eye. It is clear to it now that the only way out of the room is through you. For a few seconds, you two are transfixed looking for who will make the next move. You have a long broom in your left hand and a heavy object in your right hand. You can’t even tell what the object is because; at the moment the only thing on your mind is to foil Big Rat’s escape. This rat had cost you so many sleepless nights and other indirect costs. Today is payback time. You plan to take it down no matter the cost. “Enough! I had had enough.” You say to yourself mentally.
Eventually, Big Rat makes a move. It guns for you. Your eyes widen as that moment could make or mar your future or so you think. Big Rat is hoping that you would be frightened and get out of the way so that it can run to safety but instead flashes of the devastation Big Rat had done to your clothes, your shoes, your books and the fact that for many nights you could not sleep well cross your mind like lightning bolts.
At that moment, you surprise the rat by aiming your right foot straight at its head. For a while, you still can’t believe it. Big Rat is big and wild. It is about one foot tall. It is actually a sewer rat that found its way into the dumpster and eventually into your house.
Unfortunately, you don’t care. You aim for the head of the rat with your bare feet. You don’t even recognize what you are doing until you have done it. Boom! You kick the rat in the head and then it falls in a heap. It quickly regains its composure. It is on its feet again and running at a dizzying pace but you are up to the task. You smack it with the handle of your long broom as you pursue it around the house.
Eventually, you deal it a deadly blow on the rear that leaves Big Rat immobilized. You arrive at the spot where it is writhing in pain with a big smile on your face.
If anyone had walked into the house that moment they would think you were either insane or a sadist. You would have been seen talking to a paralyzed rat with a huge smile on your face.
You are quiet now but the whole house is rent by shrieks of pain. The minions of the Big Rat all trapped in various glue traps around the house are screaming for what you think might be a call for backup or for help.
You have Big Rat in your line of sight. It is too heavy to keep moving due to its injury. So you approach it quietly with the heavy object in your right hand.
Now, the mission is partially accomplished, you seem to be getting back in touch with your civil nature. You begin to feel sorry for the rats. They seem so helpless, their pain so excruciating but you know that you must finish the job. This is no rat kingdom and there’s no ambulance service for pests that invade your home.
So you start from Big Rat, the ring leader and with one blow from the heavy object you send each pest to the great beyond. There is blood everywhere but there is also that relief that you and your family can now sleep in peace. Although, you’ve made a mental note to invite the fumigator to stop by this weekend to finish off any other pest you may have missed.
It is a sweet victory for you but somehow you remember those poor rats especially, the newly born ones with their pale red and near-transparent skin that were caught in your traps. You think about their innocence. You think about the fact that they did not even get to live to maturity before they were sent back to the other world. You think about how unfair life is such that even pests cannot have a good life. Then you laugh at yourself and at how infantile your ideas must sound to anyone who listens to them. You reprimand yourself for glorying in the demise of something that you can create. “It is life after all and it should be sacred no matter whose life it is,” you say to yourself.
Momentarily, you wonder what sentence, those rats would have gotten in a court of law especially, Big Rat for breaking and entering into your home, for stealing your food, for the destruction of your property, for assaulting you, for conspiring with his minions to take over your house, for illegal habitation…then you scratch your head. You cannot seem to remember what else to charge the rats with.
Now you are trying to imagine what sentences they would get. Would Big Rat get the death penalty? You laugh it off but sober up almost immediately when you discover your right hand still shaking feverishly. It dawns on you that your body has not completely readjusted to a post-kill mode. The fury-led excitement was wearing itself out gradually but it was still incomplete.
Although, your mind seemed to have switched back to its default state your body has not. You look in the mirror opposite you in the hallway and you realize that it is because; it is a life we are dealing with here after all.
“How can one take what one cannot give back and be okay with it?”
Yes, the rats deserved to die but actually killing them did not feel right. Killing anything never feels right unless of course, a person has lost his conscience. Could it be so because life is a gift and ought to be treasured?