I'm as peaceful a man as you're likely to meet in America now, but this is about a death I may have caused. Not slowly over time by abuse or meanness but on a certain day and by ignorance, by plain lack of notice. Though it happened thirty-four years ago, and though I can't say it's haunted my mind that many nights lately, I suspect I can draw it out for you now, clear as this noon. I may need to try.
I was twenty-one, an official man. I could almost surely have held him back; he deserved to stay. It wouldn't have taken a hero to do it, just a person with more common sense than I had at the time and, as I said, more...