„To hell with you. You just don't want to admit it. Those people, they're animals. They want to see someone's brains on the road, that's why they turn out. They'd just as soon see yours."
"That isn't the point," McVries said calmly. "Didn't you say you went to see the Long Walk when you were younger?"
"Yes, when I didn't know any better!"
"Well, that makes it okay, doesn't it?" McVries uttered a short, ugly-sounding laugh. "Sure they're animals. You think you just found out a new principle? Sometimes I wonder just how naive you really are. The French lords and ladies used to screw after the guillotinings. The old Romans used to stuff each other during the gladiatorial matches. That's entertainment, Garraty. It's nothing new." He laughed againd. Garraty stared at him, fascinated.
"Death is great for the appetites," McVries said. [... ] "But even that's not the real point of this little expedition, Garraty. The point is, they're the smart ones. They're not getting thrown to the lions. They're not staggering along and hoping they won't have to take a shit with two warnings against them. You're dumb, Garraty. You and me and Pearson and Barkovitch and Stebbins, we're all dumb. Scramm's dumb because he thinks he understands and he doesn't. Olson's dumb because he understood too much too late. They're animals, all right. But why are you so goddam sure that makes us human beings?"
He paused, badly out of breath.
"Then why are you doing it? Garraty asked him. "If you know that much, and if you're that sure, why are you doing it?"
"The same reason we're all doing it," Stebbins said. He smiled gently, almost lovingly. His lips were a little sun-parched; otherwise, his face was still unlined and seemingly invincible. "We want to die, that's why we're doing it. Why else, Garraty? Why else?“
The Long Walk