Two days ago I taught my infant son how to kill living creatures that were inconveniencing him. What is worse, I made it a game and taught him to take pleasure in it. In my defense, I had the best of intentions. I swear, that kid is a mosquito magnet. It's almost as though his body is completely full up to the neckles with something they really, really want.

I have this suspicion that it might be my fault. Long ago I made a secret pact with Bzzit Pwatang, "King for Eternity of Mosquitoes of the Americas". He would tell his minions not to suck my blood, and I would be his ambassador in the human world. Since that day, I have carried the message of "Mosquitoes Need Friends, Too" out into the world with great diligence and enthusiasm. And, true to his word, he has made me nearly mosquito-proof (although there are some small factions that question his right of succession).

Apparently, this royal decree does not extend to my son. Or perhaps the dissenters, emboldened by a loophole, are taking out on Mateo the rage they feel powerless to express against me. Whatever the case, my own imperviousness means that I am generally oblivious to any mosquitoes that might be around, and therefore often forget to protect my son from the vile probosces of these vampiric insects. I decided on the spur of the moment, therefore, to train him to see a mosquito, take aim, and !SLAP! it into oblivion.

The moment I had done it - the moment I saw his wide-eyed enthusiasm and giggling pleasure at success - that was when I felt the deepest sense of sorrow and regret. You laugh at me, but I did. I felt absolutely rotten for the next two hours. Not at the death of the mosquito necessarily; but at this sad, sorry world, where destruction and the waste of life are only ever a question of degree. Everybody kills. Even that vegan fruititarian you knew in college who basically just grazed through meadows and forests for sustenance - even he directly kills microbes when cooking food and indirectly contributes to the deaths of people and other living creatures by being a member of this destructive society of ours.

It is inevitable that my son will become a killer. I will do my best to temper the destructiveness of his life by showing him how to walk lightly and to use this beautiful and wondrous place as gently as possible. But two days ago I was reminded once again that it is a broken world to which he has been born; with a life colored by the sorrow of death as his inheritance.


  1. Have you read any Andrew Linzey? I think you'd appreciate him. -Brian R

  2. Jainism is the only spiritual tradition (I think) that forbids killing mosquitoes, so I think your in the clear. I know thats not so much your point though. I have made the same deal with Bzzit Pwatang and only in the rarest if cases do the defectors bite. Lauren on the other hand is full of mosquito bait.


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