As I crouched in the trees wondering how to get the drop on Rocky and his stone-cold buddies, an incident began that might define poetic justice. Things happened so fast I hardly had time to comprehend what I was seeing.

Rocky's two bodyguards were bored, uncomfortable, and obviously not into hunting. There must have been an incident before I got there, and the pot was simmering. Only a few minutes after I arrived, the Asian said something in a low, gravelly voice, something I didn't hear. Whatever it was, it caused a big reaction from the other bodyguard, who reacted with a curse and an ethnic slur. Rocco growled a command, but neither man responded. There was a scuffle in the overgrowth, a cry, and then several shots rang out. I saw Rocky try to move out of the path of the two angry ment, but another bullet sped on its way and he went down like a stone.

When it was over, I picked up the pieces. The Asian was alive but unconscious, the dark man ran off, leaving a blood trail that told me he wouldn't get far, and Rocco, who had eluded police and other enemies for so long, lay dead, the victim of a dispute between his own men.

We're a nation that loves vicarious violence, and we sometimes romanticize the men who live by it. But as I stood looking at Rocco, now stone dead, I reflected that those who live by violence can never really control it, never know when it will reach out and claim them.

And only those with a heart of Stone can truly appreciate that.

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