August 2nd, 2012
Yesterday as I was driving home from the office intently listening to NPR’s, “All Things Considered,” my ears suddenly perked up as I heard a familiar voice, the voice of David Kaczynski, brother of the so-called Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. David has traveled to Tennessee on several occasions to share his story about his brother’s long struggle with severe mental illness, and David’s decision to alert the authorities about his concerns that Ted might be the Unabomber. This difficult journey that David has traveled has inspired his work on the issues of mental health treatment and alternatives to the death penalty.
The NPR piece also featured Texas school teacher Lois Robison, whose son Larry–a paranoid schizophrenic–killed five people in a psychotic state. Lois and her husband, Ken, had tried desperately to get Larry help and were denied assistance over and over again. The state of Texas ultimately executed Larry in 2000.
These stories are a reminder of the living nightmare that not only murder victims’ families experience as a result of these tragedies but also the unspeakable hurt experienced by the families of those who commit these unimaginable crimes. In light to of recent Aurora tragedy, this NPR piece is powerful reminder of the intricate web of people whose lives are turned upside down by such tragedies.
These stories are important ones for us as a society to hear and not typically the ones featured on the 10:00 news. I hope we will all take a moment to listen.