Last night I killed. My victim was unknown to me, but I planned the killing meticulously in advance. Afterwards I disposed of the body in my garden.
It wasn’t the first time I have killed. I will kill again.
My victim was a mouse. A poor little mouse killed by a mousetrap in my kitchen cupboard.
Living in the countryside, we are surrounded by fields. All kinds of creatures share our house – mice, bats, wasps, ladybirds, spiders. Mostly we get on fine, but sometimes the creatures start to become a problem.
Sometimes mice get into our kitchen. These are not the cute white mice children keep as pets. They are brown field mice, ravenous and destructive. They’ll eat anything they can find, whether edible or not. They rip apart plastic wrappers to get at whatever’s inside. They’ve eaten a pair of rubber gloves. They poo relentlessly all over the kitchen. They cannot be allowed into the house.
I’ve tried to stop them. I tried to find out how they are getting into the house, but can’t find any means. Either they already live in the house, underneath the floors, or they use some kind of unfathomable mouselike cunning to gain entry.
The real problem isn’t the mice. That problem is easily fixed by a couple of mousetraps. The problem is my feelings about the mice. I like mice. I want them to live happy, prosperous mousey lives.
But outside. That’s where mice should live. Not in my kitchen.
It’s curious that humans feel like this. Humans have the greatest capacity of all creatures to kill, and yet we’re burdened with guilt about it. Cats don’t have this problem. They just kill, and seem to enjoy it, like psychopaths. Animals don’t feel remorse. Why do people? It’s probably our ability to empathise with others. It requires a sense of self-awareness. A knowledge of our own mortality. Animals live in the moment. We tend to dwell in the past and in the (imagined) future.
So that’s my situation. A problem (rodents in the kitchen) is easily fixed (by a mousetrap) but leads to an even greater problem (guilt-ridden angst). Being human is harder than it looks.