The End of Innocence

Driving west for a week’s family
camping vacation at a National
Park campground in the Land

Between the Lakes area between
Kentucky Lake and Barclay Lake,
the driver struck a farm dog that

had shot out onto the road. The
man’s first reaction was anger
at the dog’s intrusion into

their trip and then shock that
he had wounded and perhaps
killed the animal, somebody’s

pet and then horror at seeing
the dog convulsing in the
gravel on the shoulder of

the road. He just stared at it,
frozen at the sight. The farmer
came out of his house carrying

a pistol. Angrily, the farmer
thrust the gun toward the man
and said, “Here, you hit him;

now finish the job.” The man
said, “I can’t.” The farmer
pointed the gun at the dog’s

head and shot the dog dead as
the man’s wife and two young
children winced at the sound

and stared through the open
windows. The farmer turned
and walked back to the house

without saying a word. The man
got in the car and the family
drove on in silence.

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