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Ask HN: When is it acceptable to kill innocent beings?
9 points by desertraven 53 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments
Some rats were nesting in my partners car (under the hood). After relocating them, cleaning, and spending several hundred repairing the car, they have since moved to my car. Same deal. Reflexively we purchased rat baits, and are now seeing the fruits of our purchase.

Now I doubt whether the simple act of a being trying to find safe shelter should result in the brutal death of that rat and it’s friends/family. A car is merely a possession, and yet in response I have painfully killed many innocent beings.

I feel I’ve overreacted. Does anybody have any thoughts regarding taking life to protect mere possessions?

You're justified in killing them the second you notice their existence and suspect it may negatively impact yours.

You'd be equally justified to make pets of them, keep them caged for the remainder of their lives, and give them a higher quality and longer life.

From the point of the rats, which do you think might be a better fate? They're quite bright enough to avoid annoying people; and the ones that aren't should be eliminated for the Greater Good of the Human and Rat species.

If you've got cars with the tasty insulation (a broad and under-acknowledged problem) you prolly better resign yourself to baits and traps in the garage from now on. They'll keep coming back, they can smell that stuff and they want it.

i am heartened to read your question...regardless of choice/outcome, at least you're thinking about the pros/cons of the topic...When it comes to lifeforms that threaten (Mosquitos, Ticks ) or damage possessions (Rodents-wrecking or Rhinos-charging your car ), instincts often kick in for good survival-reasons and yet our compassion is often the highlight of our species.

If we ever do meet extraterrestrial beings, i hope they treat us better than we do to our animals/ecosystems ( in general )...or at least, as the now-ancient Perry-Farrell song goes "we'll make great pets" ( give us Food, Drugs, Games & someone 'WRONG' on the internet and i doubt we'd even notice )


Thanks for making me overthink this..

Now I can't come up with a reasonable answer, I don't think the line is so clear.. I'm going to say "sometimes". I don't want to go all out (human focused) utilitarian, but not having free rats living with humans is probably a better thing than the alternative, and from a somewhat cynical view, you gave them the chance, and they missed it. We could probably breed relocatable rats in some generations if everyone moved them once and killed those that returned to the human world.

You could provide an even nicer home for the rats ... or get cats and let nature take its course!

Cats catch mice, not rats. You’d need some terrier dogs to clean this up.

You should get rid of your car and stop interfering with the life of an adorable sentient rats, their friends, family, coworkers as well as with their pet spiders, flies, worms, fleas and mosquitoes.

They been here first and deserve to live their life in the way they want and occupy places they want.

It absolutely unacceptable for any filthy capitalist car owner to interfere with little furry rats.

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