My family moved around quite a bit but always within city limits. One of the houses that we lived in had a great tree in the front yard that my sisters and I would climb all the time.
One day, we discovered that a bird had built a nest in the tree and decided to climb up and investigate. Sure enough, there were four little eggs of a baby blue color sitting in the nest. We decided to leave well enough alone and climbed back down.
About two months later, we noticed that the nest was still there so we climbed back up to take a peek at the progress. To our amazement (I was 10 years old at the time), we saw that there were little hatchlings in the nest, all bare without any feathers and with their mouths open, crying out for their mother to bring food back (or regurgitate it for them...I think that's what I learned from Gary Larson).
Again, we decided to leave them alone and proceeded to climb back down. However, being the clumsy idiot that I was (and still am at times), I slipped a bit and ended up shaking the side of the tree quite a bit. This resulted in one of the hatchlings falling several feet from the nest onto our lawn.
My sisters screamed at the turn of events and ran into the house to get my mother. I walked slowly to the little baby bird to see what I had done. Needless to say, the hatchling was dying after such a heavy fall. I watched it gasp for breath several times, its body broken, and still blind to what had transpired in its short life...then it died.
I remember watching its body with tears welled up in my eyes. Mind you, I had smacked flies and other bugs around the house plenty of times, but to take a life in this fashion, even though it was accidental...well, the result was perfectly clear to me and it had quite the traumatizing effect.
To this day, I will not take a life of anything - not even a mosquitoe. Yes, death may be the ultimate consequence of life, but I will not have any hand in delivering it and will avoid it at any cost. I've debated this ad nauseum with many people over how this extends into the two most contentious issues facing Americans today: abortion and capital punishment. While I fully support the freedom of choice for the former and support democracy speaking for the latter, the acts themselves simply repulse me because of their results. I sincerely hope that people carefully consider all of their options before they go down either of the two routes because living with the consequences can be rather unforgiving.