|David Kaczynski explains death penalty opposition, turning in Unabomber
For David Kaczynski, the decision to tell FBI agents that he suspected his older brother Theodore Kaczynski as the mastermind behind 17 years of serial bombings was a matter of preserving life.
If his brother was the Unabomber, Mr. Kaczynski risked more violence against innocent people if he did not turn him in.
However, if his brother was convicted of the bombings that led to three deaths and 23 injuries, Theodore might face the death penalty.
In a lecture at Mount St. Mary's University on Thursday evening, Mr. Kaczynski outlined the discovery that his brother was responsible for the bombings.
He also explained how he made his decision to go to authorities despite personal opposition to capital punishment.
"We were in a position where anything we did could result in somebody's death," Mr. Kaczynski said.
Eleven years ago, his wife Linda Patrik approached her husband and pointed out similarities between Theodore and information that had been released about the elusive Unabomber.
Bombings had occurred in places the pair knew Theodore had been, for example, Chicago and Salt Lake City.
Like the suspected Unabomber, Theodore had connections at the University of California, Berkeley. Theodore had been a math professor at the school before quitting to live a survivalist lifestyle in a cabin in Montana.
The Unabomber's manifesto, which had been sent to media outlets before his capture, spoke against technology, a sentiment Theodore had often shared with Mr. Kaczynski in written correspondence.
"Here I am in my living room and my wife's saying, 'Gee, do you think your brother is the Unabomber?'" Mr. Kaczynski said. "I guess I'm feeling, this is my brother after all, a little defensive."
After poring over the manifesto and looking for similarities in letters sent from Theodore, Mr. Kaczynski contacted FBI officials.
Weeks later, Theodore was arrested. A live bomb was found under his bed in the Montana cabin.
"We were the only people who could do something," Mr. Kaczynski said. "We were the only ones who could stop the violence."
Theodore pleaded guilty and is serving life in federal prison in Colorado. He does not contact his family.
After his brother's trial, Mr. Kaczynski became the executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty.
He speaks at places like the Mount to share his story and stance against capital punishment.
"I was always personally opposed to the death penalty," he said. "But I never thought I'd have a personal experience with the capital punishment system."
During his lecture at the Mount, Mr. Kaczynski explained that he believes the American justice system is flawed because a person's ability to obtain good legal counsel, not their guilt or innocence, often determines if they will receive the death penalty.
"When you think of the justice system, justice isn't always the priority. There are a lot of balls in the air," he said. "... If you think of the death penalty as ultimate justice, then you're probably using the wrong words."
Mr. Kaczynski said he does not have a solution for revamping the American justice system, but he would prefer capital punishment not be an option.
"If you have alternatives like life in prison without parole, why not use that so if you made a mistake, you can correct that mistake?" he said.