That I'm writing these words now is due solely to a split-second decision by a stoned small-time crook. It was fatal to him and his partner, but it saved me from a closed-casket funeral.
I was driving home from my job as a public radio producer in Roanoke, Virginia. I lived then in the tiny town of Floyd, nearly an hour from the National Public Radio affiliate where I was still relatively new.
As the shadows lengthened on that mellow late summer evening in the Blue Ridge mountains, it was impossible to miss the 15 or 20 state troopers and county mounties stationed along the country road between Roanoke and Floyd. I wondered what was going on. Just outside the town limits, I found out. More...