As they entered Josh’s house, Eric motioned for him to step into the living room, a sure sign of a serious conversation. Sitting down, Eric began. “Listen, Josh, I am so sorry for causing you all this trouble, and I feel terrible about bringing it all down on Renee. She’s a great girl, and I sure as hell don’t want to ever hurt her–or anybody else for that matter. But I got to tell you, I just don’t understand all this. Seriously, what am I not understanding? I do wish I had not done what I did!”
“Eric, I love you, warts and all, but I wish you could look at the world through the same eyes as everybody else. We didn’t go to church often as kids, but surely you remember one of the ten commandants is ‘Thou shalt not kill’? It is just wrong. That’s why the government canonized it into law. You just can’t do it! Why is that so hard to understand?”
“Josh, I hope I’m not splitting hairs here, but isn’t killing part of life? I was trained to do it and do it well. So were thousands of other people. The government was teaching us. In fact, the government is in charge of killing people. How many people have gone through Death Row anyway? How many people never even got arrested because they made the killing look like an accident or hired someone else to do it for them? How can killing be okay one day and wrong the next? Besides, it’s not as if I killed anyone who mattered.”
Just then, as Renee entered the living room wearing a soft pink robe and slippers. Eric had never seen her wearing slippers before. Josh erupted, “None of that matters! Why can’t you get that? Why must you understand everything? Who said you even have the right to understand? You’ve always been that way. It’s simple! You can’t kill people because it’s wrong! If you can’t understand that, can you understand the reason you can’t kill people is because people with electric chairs and nasty needles say you can’t! For the sake of your own survival, you have got to quit trying to understand and just accept it.”
Turning to Renee, Eric said, “I’m so sorry, Renee, to have involved you and Josh and the family in all this. I never wanted to hurt anybody, especially my own family.”
Renee turned to Josh for some guidance, but he was just looking at the floor, with his head in his hands. Finally, she said, “Eric, I know you didn’t mean to involve all of us, but you did. I love you and want only good things for you, but it’s real important you do exactly what Josh tells you from this point, at least until all this blows over.”
Looking again at Josh, Eric asked, “Is it a crime to try to understand?”
Grinding his teeth, Josh responded, “No, you idiot, your crime is murder, in the first degree.”
“But, isn’t that the same crime you might be indicted for?”
“Well, I suppose. It’ll probably be as an accessory to murder for hire,” Josh said with a sigh.
“So, all murders are not the same? Isn’t that my point?”
Rising, Josh answered, “Eric, I’m going to bed. I don’t know what your ‘point’ is. All I know is that murder is wrong, unless the government does it. That may be right, or that may be wrong. I just know that is the way things are, like it or not.” He added, “Goodnight” as he and his wife walked out..