July 18, 2008

Life After Death

Stories of people haunted by guilt over their role in others' deaths, even when everyone agrees they're blameless.


One day at church camp, David Maxon challenged the devil to show himself. Just then, a huge thunderstorm started, and David felt sure the devil was behind it. So when the thunderstorm led to two campers getting killed, David couldn't help but blame himself. Twenty years later, host Ira Glass talks to David about being innocent but feeling guilty. (10 minutes)
Act One

Guilty As Not Charged

Everyone told Darin Strauss that there would have been no way to avoid hitting the bicyclist who swerved into the path of his car. When the girl died, the police said Darin wasn't at fault. He tells what it's like to live with being the accidental cause of someone's death. Darin also tells this story in his new book Half a Life. (24 minutes)

Act Two

Soldier Of Misfortune

When John came back from fighting in Iraq, he refused to leave his house. He was paranoid. He had violent nightmares—the same ones every night. Unlike a lot of vets, John got treatment. His doctor at the Veterans Affairs hospital felt optimistic about his case. And then John attacked his fiancée and her mother. Chris Neary tells the story of one veteran's struggle to return to being the person he was before the war. (21 minutes)