Yes, I’m Against The Death Penalty. Unless You’re A Tick.

I wrestle with high-profile, controversial, ethics shaking topics here on my blog. That’s because I wrestle with those very same topics in my heart.

I think I know myself. I’m fairly confident in my convictions. Take the death penalty, for instance. I’ve often said, I could never be on a jury that might involve a death penalty case. I’m not God. I don’t feel qualified deciding who lives or who dies. But then, I always add with a wry chuckle, “And may God help me if anyone hurts my child!”

Spiders or the occasional scorpion in the house? I capture it and set it free outside. My boys inexplicable fascination with guns and swords? They are basement toys where I can pretend that kind of play doesn’t exist.

I honestly felt (notice the foreshadowing here) that I couldn’t kill. Anything.

And then……


“What is that on your ear?” I said to my son.

Looking more closely, it just looked like a piece of leaf. I flick it with my finger but it stays firmly attached. I grab my reading glasses (yes, I’m that old) and take a closer look. It’s a piece of a leaf with legs. Hey, that isn’t right.

“Come with me,” and I grab his arm and drag him into my bathroom.  Thoughts of drowning with baby oil, petroleum jelly and use of matches race through my mind (all wrong, by the way) but all I really want to do is get that thing off of him. I grab my tweezers and pluck that little sucker off. I swab the area with rubbing alcohol and breathe a sigh of relief. Then, something in my memory jogs. You’re supposed to save the disease carrying culprit. So, I lock him up safely in a Ziploc bag.

This maneuver intrigues my boys. They take turns carrying him around and examining him. My daughter, angered that something would dare hurt her little brother says, “Let me see that!” and she shakes the bag, disorienting the poor little bugger. “That’s for hurting my brother!” she says. Apparently, that’s an activity only she can partake.

I search online, frantic that I may have done the wrong thing. (I haven’t) Thank goodness. (Click here for a step-by-step guide) I did exactly as I should have. I even saved the evidence for a call to the doctor in the morning.

When my husband comes home I tell him of our ordeal. He has dealt with Lyme disease before in his practice. I tell him I’ve saved the tick.

“They’ll just order a blood test. There’s no need to save him,” he says, “Just toss him.”  

Hmmm, really? Online it says to preserve/kill it with rubbing alcohol. We just put him in a Ziploc baggie, letting him suffocate and squirm. He’s not even close to death.


I go into the bathroom and feel a little giddy. The little angel on my left shoulder chastises me and I feel a bit guilty. Then, the little devil on my right shoulder shouts, “But he tried to give your baby Lyme disease!” And without the slightest hesitation I pour a few glugs of the vile liquid into the bag.

The menacing tick stops squirming. One little leg gives a final surrender and he’s dead.

I try to hide my satisfaction. I suppress an evil grin.

But my little angel shakes a finger at me, reminding me that I’ve just administered the death penalty without the benefit of a judge and  jury.

I don’t care.

He tried to hurt my child.


Filed under children, Moms, Motherhood, nature

15 responses to “Yes, I’m Against The Death Penalty. Unless You’re A Tick.

  1. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have a very similar opinion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tick in my entire life, though. The object of my ire? Piss ants! These tiny little ants that crawl 24/7 on your desk, on your arm, and on the lip of your coffee cup. And when you squish ’em they are stinky.

    I will admit to a certain feeling of glee as I exterminate them. Sometimes I miss on the first try and they become obviously agitated and try to flee. Does that mean they have feelings? I don’t know and I don’t care. I always hunt them down. I always get my ant. Always.

    I can only imagine the adrenaline you felt when you saw something like that on your child’s ear. Damn! But you did good. 🙂

    As far as the death penalty goes, there are some people that I feel deserve it. Like the guy who recently shot the congresswoman and that 9-year-old little girl. I don’t give a whit if he’s mental or not. He needs to go. Could I be on that jury? Yes. I wouldn’t hesitate.

    Earlier this year I was on a jury. A man was accused of kicking in a woman’s door and terrorizing her with a pistol grip pump shotgun. Testimony proved that he knew her husband was out of town. Sitting 15′ away from her as she took the stand, crying, and obviously afraid was a very moving experience for me. The evidence said the man was guilty and I would not hesitate on that, either. Unfortunately, it turned out I was a random alternate and was let go just before deliberations. Thankfully the remaining jurors came to the same conclusion that I did and justice was served.

  2. You made a tick story controversial. Cool. 😉

  3. idiosyncraticeye

    Ticks do things to people’s logic and rationality! A bit like spiders. When I was little I got a tick on my ear too so my mother took me to the doctor who told her to spray with me flea spray. Didn’t go down too well. So she took me round the corner to the vet for him to deal with it! 😉

  4. I’m also a fan of pretty much annihilating anything that threatens my kid. Thank God my friends are good with kids 🙂

  5. Ewww! We have a terrible lyme disease problem in the summertime, particularly in wooded areas. Did you know that Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club) had lyme disease, didn’t know it, and as it progressed, she seriously thought she was going crazy? I’d dunk that sucker in alcohol, too!

  6. Thanks for my afternoon giggle, Jane…we worry about deer ticks here, especially with our dog (the kids are pretty safe…they almost never play outside)!


  7. ‘Tis the season. (ho ho ho)

    Thank God my kids are past lice…

  8. It is a summer full of critters in the desert too. From scorpions to lizards to javelinas… oh the joys!

  9. He ticked you off big time and you killed him. Cue applause for a job well done.

  10. Ack! I totally would have freaked out too! My little sister had some sort of infection (I don’t remember the name) when she was like 2 and worms came crawling out of her butt one night while I was giving her a bath. I threw up and nearly died from the “EW” factor.

  11. I was doing ok until I read the above comment!

    I would have killed the tick too. 😉

  12. I’m starting a list as to why I don’t have kids. This has been added.

  13. I was settling for a good round of debate and ended up with ticks! Good for you Jane – you’re a good mum.

  14. I am with you 100%, Jane. I’m with you on the death penalty. I’m with you on creatures who should be asked to leave rather than stomped. And I’m with you on watching myself aghast and offended as I kill the little effer. Some parasites just don’t get rights. (I’ll slap a skeeter with glee, too, and revel in seeing its guts. Shame on me. Tee hee.)

  15. You leave spiders and scorpions alive?! What’s wrong with you? Kill. Kill. Kill.

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