The Oxymoron: The Mercy Killing

mercy killing

Killing something as beautiful as a butterfly might be unthinkable, but there may be circumstances where it is a good thing.

Killing is a gruesome act. The bible commands us “thou shalt not kill.” Sometimes, it’s acceptable to kill. For example, both humans and animals kill other animals to feed themselves.

Killing is generally perceived as an act of cruelty and should be avoided if possible at all.

The opposite of cruelty is mercy. To show mercy means to bestow good upon someone or something, or to desist from doing harm.

The Psalmist David prayed: Have mercy on your servant O Lord.

So what then is a mercy killing? And how did these two opposite words come to be used together, or, “in conjunction” to each other?

The expression “mercy killing” is an example of the oxymoron.

Here’s a scenario. If you were walking one day, and you passed a wounded butterfly fluttering its broken wing in a futile attempt to fly. You see that death was impending on this beautiful but wounded creature, but that the death would obviously be slow. The ants were already closing in around it, ready to drag it away.

What would make you a better person? Or what would make you a worse person? If you left it there? Or if you smashed it and ended its life quickly?

Although killing an animal so harmless and beautiful might be unthinkable, leaving it there to suffer for hours might be worse. You might feel sorry for the creature. And you might be tempted to end the creature’s life in an attempt to save it from suffering further.

This would be an example of a mercy killing.

Mercy killings are not only applicable to animals, but to humans as well. Many people would prefer someone to end their life quickly than leave them in a condition where suffering is inevitable, and there is little hope for recovering.

Humans are divided on the idea of mercy killings as it relates to humans. Some people think it is still murder, and therefore a bad thing. After all, they content, it is left to God only to take life, and His judgement only to determine when a person dies, and they believe that humans shouldn’t interfere with God’s process.

Some people support the idea of mercy killings. They believe that it is just cruel to prolong someone’s suffering while that person would prefer to die.

What is your opinion of mercy killings? Have you ever done a mercy killing to an animal or human?

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