But Shawn chose a knife, and a knife whose blade was barely bigger than his thumb. It was the knife you’d choose to experience a slaughter, to feel the blood running down your hand the moment the heart stopped beating. It wasn’t the knife of a farmer, or even the knife of a butcher. It was a knife of rage.

I tried to forget that night. For the first time in fifteen years, I closed my journal and put it away. Journaling is contemplative, and I didn’t want to contemplate anything.

I began to read—Hume, Rousseau, Smith, Godwin, Wollstonecraft and Mill. I lost myself in the world they had lived in, the problems they had tried to solve. I became obsessed with their ideas about the family—with how a person ought to weigh their special obligations to kin against their obligations to society as a whole.