Executing the Mentally Ill
Why did David Kaczynski become a leader of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty? Kaczynski suspected his brother Ted was the Unabomber, and he cooperated with the FBI to secure Ted's capture, fearing that if he didn't, his brother would kill again. Still, David thought the death penalty would never be imposed upon a man so mentally ill as his brother.
Ted eventually made a deal to avoid death (he's now serving a life sentence without parole), but even the possibility that the government might execute a severely mentally ill defendant was enough to turn David against the death penalty. He talked to MSNBC about the experience. The lessons he teaches deserve to be well learned.
I kind of thought once some of the investigators had said, 'We know that you're brother's mentally ill,' I thought that took the death penalty off the table. I honestly didn't realize that, you know, our system does execute the mentally ill. There's tremendous disconnect between what the law calls insanity and what medicine calls mental illness. And the end result is that sometimes we're executing people who have to be medicated to get them to the point where they're competent to be executed.
|< Bush Finally Wins a Poll | Gerald Ford's First Funeral >|