I don't want to die. I deserve, certainly, the most extreme punishment society has, and I think society deserves to be protected from me and from others like me. That's the irony. What I'm talking about is going beyond retribution because there is no way in the world that killing me is going to restore those beautiful children to their parents and correct and soothe the pain.
Dr. Richard Selzer is a surgeon and a favorite author of mine. He writes the most beautiful and compassionate descriptions of his patients and the human dramas they confront. In his book Letters to a Young Doctor, he said that most young people seem to be protected for a time by an imaginary membrane that shields them from horror. They walk in it every day but are hardly aware of its presence. As the immune system protects the human body from the unseen threat of harmful bacteria, so this mythical membrane guards them from life-threatening situations. Not every young person has this protection, of course, because children do die of cancer, congenital heart problems, and other disorders. But most of them are shielded—and don’t realize it. Then, as years roll by, one day it happens. Without warning, the membrane tears, and horror seeps into a person’s life or into the life of a loved one. It is at this moment that an unexpected theological crisis presents itself.
when we were kids laying around the lawn on our bellies we often talked about how we'd like to die and we all agreed on the same thing; we'd all like to die fucking (although none of us had done any fucking) and now that we are hardly kids any longer we think more about how not to die and although we're ready most of us would prefer to do it alone under the sheets now that most of us have fucked our lives away.