No. On seeing evidence of a mouse in the pantry, I bought a new mousetrap at the first opportunity. At first I was dubious about the high-tech plastic look: too clever by far. Nevertheless I baited it using my in-depth knowledge of mouse psychology. Surely it would feeling be short of its five-a-day at this time of year. A sweetened dried cranberry would do the trick. And it did. Nature red in tooth and claw played its part, and I was unquestionably the victor. And the world should be beating a path to the door of the mousetrap inventor - it's a brilliant device.
Disposing of vermin is something which many of us do without hesitation. Yes, it's life, and we do our best to ensure there's no suffering - but if we don't kill it, sooner or later it'll make our life intolerable. So the trap is baited and set, and we wait for it to carry out its deadly work. Which is to say, our deadly work.
The problem comes when we come to think of other people as vermin: a nuisance, and an expendable nuisance at that. In fact, such a nuisance that they cannot be allowed to live.
Searching the BBC News website for 'death in custody' reveals reports during the last month alone from Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, England, Nigeria, India, Bahrain, and Central African Republic. Whilst the reasons in these particular cases may not yet be known, all too often in similar cases the life of the prisoner concerned is perceived to be worthless or worse by those responsible for his death. We saw something similar in Iraq, with the maltreatment and in some cases death of prisoners in Abu Graib and elsewhere. And on a much larger scale, there are the 'disappeared' of places as diverse as North Korea and Peru; the genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Srebrenica; the Holocaust; the victims of Stalinist and Maoist purges - the list could go on. Usually it concerns people perceived to be trouble-makers, people who threaten the status quo: opposition leaders, members of minority ethnic groups, and so on.
And for Jesus this Holy Week, the trap has been set. He's perceived as too much of a danger to be allowed to live. A danger to the religious establishment, as crowds flock to hear his teaching and applaud his cleansing of the Temple. A danger to the Jewish puppet dynasty as this true son of David is proclaimed King. A danger to the occupying Romans whose priority is to keep the peace at any cost. Now it's a case of waiting;sooner or later, the trap will spring and the deadly work of darkness will then be carried out.