Title: David Kacyznski's Lecture for the 'In Our Name; Restoring Justice In America' Conference
Author: David Kaczynski
Date: 25th August, 2012
Source: inourname

Sheilla: Hi, I'm Sheila Lou, Moderator of the In Our Name conference.

On a beautiful August weekend, an array of advocates, professionals and the general public came together to discuss the state of our criminal justice system.

What you're about to experience is a compelling mix of thoughts, ideas, and stories that will help us all to reframe our thinking about crime and violence in America so that we can move forward toward a just and fair system for all.

David: One slight correction in the introduction, and that is as of last week, I am the former executive director of New Yorkers for alternatives to the death penalty.

I've decided to take a break to retire.

I guess I have some delusions.

Maybe I could find some sort of personal Peace of Mind at some point.

It seems like every time there's a mass shooting, especially if there's, you know, mental illness is a piece of that, then suddenly, I'm no longer David, I'm the Unabomber.

Brother and and it's it's been an important podium for me, I guess, to talk publicly about things I care about.

But it's also been somewhat of a burden as well.

I'm I'm happy to report that New Yorkers for alternatives to the death penalty, it's been the reins of that organization, have been handed over to Barbara.

Smith some of you may know Barbara.

She is a common council or she's a member of the Albany Common Council, but that's just the beginning.

She brought the snug anti violence program to Albany.

She is an iconic famous black feminist.

Writer, longtime activist for social justice.

So if you e-mail us, you'll probably get a response from Barbara instead of me.

And believe me, Barbara is fantastic, so I think you'll enjoy working over there.

I'm a little bit confused, I have to confess.

In preparing for this conference I felt a little bit confused.

And that's because I think it's been billed in two different ways, or at least I heard it build in two different.

Phrase one as restoring justice in America and the other as a restorative justice conference.

And I think there's an important difference, at least an important difference, that distinction I'd like to make between those two terms.

In terms of restoring justice, I think there's absolutely no question our criminal justice system.

Is broken, it's oppressive.

It doesn't help anyone.

It's making society worse, not not better.

And all of the work that you're doing on this, I think, I applaud it, I think is extremely important.

At the other, on the other hand, if we were to call this a restorative justice conference, I think we'd have to acknowledge that there's a huge missing piece here, and the missing piece are victims of violence.

And and I think there's some sense in which we've been set up to think of an adversarial system in which victims are on one side and people accused of crimes are on the other.

Inside, and I don't think it inevitably has to be that way.

In fact, there is a concept called restorative justice.

It's a model called restorative justice.

I think it's a paradigm shift.

I don't think it's fully developed or perfect or even begins to be implemented to the extent that it needs to be implemented across America.

But I think it would be mistake.

To build this conference is a restorative justice conference, unless we actually are including the suffering of victims.

There is an extraordinary amount of suffering in this country.

In this world.

A lot of it is caused by institutions.

Much of it is.

Caused by human beings hurting, hurting other human beings.

And I think if we ignore the victim, there's a whole piece of this we're going to miss in terms of a holistic approach that would allow us both strategically and morally, to make the case for a paradigm shift in criminal justice.

So I think there's really two huge problems I'd like to call attention to with our current model of criminal justice, and the first is it is modeled as an adversarial system.

And think you've got already got some sort of adversarial components to begin with.

There's a conflict between two people, or maybe that's calling it euphemistically account conflict if there's a crime in which a person is.

Hurt, but then you go into a court system which is adversarial by its very structure.

So it's.

Kind of magnifying.

You know, the the, the conflict between these two people institutionalizing it.

And then you've got a prison system where you've got guards and inmates and you know some, some of the guards will say, hey, we're serving time too.

I don't think it's the same thing, but I think even guards are probably.

Not in the.

Best psychological situation in their lives they're suffering as a result of the adversarial system, whether they know it or not.

And then all of this is contextualized within an adversarial political system we have in this country.

I mean, look what the campaigns look like now.

It's like you're on one side or another side.

It's right, it's wrong.

There is no effort.

To heal, to to collaborate, to find a way forward that isn't polarizing and part of my just something I'd ask you to think about or invite you to think about, but that if our advocacy is essentially adversarial, if we see, quote the other side as the other side, as the enemy.

In some sense, we're kind of playing in to the instance structure that we've been handed this adversarial us for system kind of structure.

And also, if you think about it, we have, and I apologize for the term if it offends anybody.

But I'll use the term that victims sometimes use.

We have a system that is offender focused.

So a crime happens and all of the resources, all of the attention.

99% of them are focused in some way on the person who broke the law or is accused of breaking the law.

Or who committed crime?

Or who harm someone and the victim sort of has a choice here.

Well, maybe three choices, but one choice is you could follow the prosecutors script and say, yeah, I'm angry, I want that person to be punished.

Or you could be like a good victim and say, well, I believe in forgiveness.

I believe in restorative.

I want that person to be healed and helped, and to be released as soon as possible.

Or you can do what most victims do and realize this system isn't listening to them.

Be marginalized.

Stay out of the fray.

Come try to deal.

With the trauma and the change in your life completely on your own.

I think if we really think about this sort of false distinction between victim and offender.

I'm yeah, I think it's it's false when you consider the fact that probably I don't have any statistics on it, but I would hazard.

To guess.

That most people who are classified by society as offenders have been victims in some form or another.

So by ignoring the victim, it's kind of like we're in ignoring one of the root causes of crime.

We know we have lots of research that talks about what trauma does, especially to children, the long term effects.

There was a recent study that said kids who are traumatized and witnessing violence.

This is one of those life traumas end up living an average.

This shocked even the researchers an average of 20 years less than someone who has not experienced severe trauma in childhood.

So I think we really need a more holistic approach and in my own.

Some work over this last 15 years on the death penalty and on community building for nonviolence.

I've really felt there's tremendous hope.

There's lots of opportunities to move forward if we can step out of this kind of adversarial box, and if we could recognize that if you're trying to reform the criminal justice system.

So that it doesn't hurt.

The people who get caught up in that system.

We're not really helping if we sort of marginalized victims.

Anyway, keep those thoughts in mind as I I go on and and tell my story.

Like many of us here, not all of us.

Certainly I got involved in the whole criminal justice system.

Through personal experience, as most of you know, or as you heard if you were listening to the introduction.

My brother, Theodore Kaczynski, was once at the top of the most wanted list in the.

United States of America.

For a period of 17 years, the FBI was trying to chase down identify the serial bomber known as the Unabomber, and one day, my wife, Linda.

So, Dave, is it?

Ever remotely crossed your mind that this person could be your older brother Ted?

And I thought, yeah, I didn't think that was my problem.

I was wondering, like, why is my wife had this strange and vivid imagination?

And we knew that Ted had some mental problems.

In fact, we'd tried to intercede, we tried to get him involved in treatment.

Nothing seemed to work.

Ted did not realize that his problems were kind of.

And here he thought they were out in the world he thought they were in.

The family he.

Thought they were in technology, but, uh, a month or so later I ended up reading the Unabomber's Manifesto 78 page.

Diatribe against modern technology that was planned, published in the Washington Post.

And I first read it thinking I was going to be able to tell Linda, hey, this is, you know, it's not Ted.

I know how he writes.

I know how he thinks.

It's not him.

And instead, even as I began to read the first few pages, my heart kind of sank.

I was still, if you will, in denial to some extent.

But all of a sudden I realized I couldn't in good conscience tell my wife, Linda, that it wasn't that there was some possibility.

I realized that it could be Ted.

The next, oh, six weeks were, I suppose, the worst of my life.

It was like living a nightmare, although if you think about it, there was kind of almost a succession of nightmares as as things developed.

But the more we read the manifesto and the more we re read some of the letters I had received from my brother over the years.

The more.

The more willing I was, was to I, I remember one night I actually told Linda, you know, I think it might be a 5050 chance that that Ted is the Unabomber.

And I gotta.

Tell you you.

Know Linda had never met Ted.

He had kind of estranged himself from the family, went out to live in the backwoods of Montana to get away from technology long before.

Before I was married to Linda.

But but we had kind of different perspectives on this and in some sense Linda had the more objective perspective, the sort of ethical clarity thinking, my gosh, if your brother is violent, I mean.

He's actually out.

Killing people, threatening to kill more people.

We need to do something, don't we?

And here I am sort of agreeing with her in an intellectual sense, but in an emotional sense, I'm thinking, my God, this is my brother, you know, and my brother is sick.

I mean, he's not a monster.

He's not like one of those people.

He's he's someone with a mental illness.

I had always thought brothers were supposed to protect brothers.

I remember even as a child, I think because my mother knew that her elder son was was vulnerable.

She said to me, Dave, don't ever abandon your brother.

Believe me, that's what he fears the most.

And when I was a child like 9 years old, I promised my mother, hey, I'll never.

My brother.

And here I'm faced with this dilemma in which I imagine it's very possible, if not even likely, that my brother is out there killing people you know, like and what do I do?

And in some sense, here's where you know.

There should be an easy solution, you know.

My brother is sick. Obvious.

Society needs to be protected from my brother.

My brother needs help.

He needs treatment.

You know, we need to protect other.

People, we need to.

You know, maybe this is the chance.

To get Ted the treatment, he.

Needs in an ideal.

World, maybe this would not have resulted in such an internal emotional dilemma for me.

But it was obviously not an ideal world. I mean, this is like 1996. I mean, Timothy McVeigh was on trial or just, I think he'd just been arrested.

Janet Reno, our Attorney General, had announced that she would seek the death penalty before they even had indicted him.

Polls at that time showed our country was just absolutely in love with the Death belt. Like 85% of Americans supported the death penalty. It's like, wow, if Ted's guilty and I turned him in.

He could be killed.

You know, so I'm thinking, OK, if I don't, here's the dilemma.

If I if I don't do anything, if I say, hey, he's my brother, it's not my job to protect society against my brother.

I could wake up someday, realize some other person has been killed.

You know, I have to go through life with blood on my.

Hands. I mean, that's.

That's not something I ever thought I would want or have to do.

On the other hand, there's the realization that if I turned my brother and he is guilty, he'd probably get the death penalty I'd end up like with blood on my own hands, my brothers.

Blood on my own hands.

You know, I thought about the impact on my brother, obviously, and especially given his mental illness.

He had a he has a disease called paranoid schizophrenia.

So you know what paranoid paranoia is?

He had written me maybe seven or eight years before we became estranged, he said.

If anything ever happens to me, I want you to know that you're the only person I've ever loved.

So here's this guy.

Who's paranoid?

Who thinks the whole world is bad, but he's got this one nice little younger brother.

And wow, his younger brother is the one who ends up having to turn him in.

Mean for Ted?

I was imagining that would be the ultimate betrayal.

It would be like the world.

All hope in the world is extinguished, the one person he loved and trusted.

Is the person who turns him in.

So I'm thinking, you know, that is like annihilation, moral annihilation for my brother as well as physical annihilation.

You know, when I I thought about the guilt, I would carry heaven.

You know, this is my brother.

I love him.

I thought about the effect on our mom. Our dad had passed away at this point, but here she is, 79 years old.

All her life she's worried about her elder son because of his mental illness her his strange ideas. But believe me, Mom's worst nightmare about what could be.

Wrong with Ted.

Didn't come remotely close to what we were struggling with, that he might be, you know, a serial murderer, the most wanted person in America.

I mean.

I was afraid that I could lose my brother to the death penalty.

I could lose my mom.

Our mom to to a heart attack, to a stroke.

I couldn't.

Her happiness would end.

I assume she would not live for very long if it turned out that Ted was the person responsible.

So it's like I'm looking at what to me is like an apocalyptic moment.

For our family, I mean, what?

How do you live beyond this moment?

And actually, you know, like, what do you do with it?

I'll spare you more details of the story Linda and I discuss, like whether I should go out and see Ted and.

Linda thought that was a terrible idea.

We hit on a compromise.

I ended up like writing him a.

At this point I I sometimes didn't get responses back, but the response I got back from Ted was so.

Disturbed, I realized he you know, I wasn't going to be able to reason with him.

He had gone over the edge.

Judge things could spin out of control.

Linda was probably right.

We ended up actually going to hiring a forensic psychologist to look at some of my brother's letters and to compare them to the Unabomber's manifesto and try to give us an opinion whether the the authorship was the same.

And that went on for a couple of weeks.

You know, I'm looking for something that can, you know.

Get Me Out of this box so I don't have to make this horrible, horrible decision of turning in. And my brother and we get the report back from the psychologist who said he he pulled together A-Team and he said he thought there was a 60 to 80% chance that those letters were written by the same person who wrote the Unabomber's manifesto, in other words.

My brother.

So it's like I went from thinking there was zero chance.

That it was.

Ted to one chance in 1000, now to 5050.

And now they're telling me this is, you know, like evidence from a professional outside my own brain where, you know, there could be denial or projection or whatever.

You know, maybe this sort of decision, this dilemma we faced, was at another level then a lot of families face.

But I think a lot of families face this kind of.

Pressure in the sense that you know your loved one needs help, but you know, at least if the if that help comes in the form of the criminal justice system or to some extent the mental health system that, like the cure, the help could be worse than the disease.

You know, it's like, what a dilemma, you know, a good intention.

Person all we wanted to do was to minimize harm to.

And we were faced with a choice that could lead to somebody dying or, you know, we do nothing.

Another bomb goes off, another innocent person is killed.

We turned my brother and he gets executed.

My mother dies of a heart attack.

I go crazy, I.

Mean, you know?

What kind of a system would not provide some sort of Ave that is sane and humane to move forward?

So in some sense, I think it's like on one level we we face the the contradiction that's built into our current adversarial system.

You have to be on one side or another.

You can't just be on the side of humanity.

Anyway, I guess you know how this story developed.

We did meet with the FBI, and in some sense they kept promises.

There was one important promise that they broke we we'd ask them to keep our role in the investigation confidential, and I thought they'd be strongly motivated to do that.

You know, if you, if you, you know, hang your witnesses out to dry, you know people aren't going to want to come and be witnesses anymore.

Unfortunately, on the day that Ted was arrested, it.

Was also also leaked.

To the media that he had been turned in by his own.

And so the media was around our house.

You know, every time this happens and you see a family out there with the, you know, media around their house for days and days speculating about what's going on inside the house and what people are thinking.

Well, that's when they're calling me and that's when I'm having, you know, kind of reliving my flashbacks to those days and it.

Was it was like.

Really, really difficult times for us.

I guess.

There was one piece of validation which was.

A horrible piece of validation that when they went into my brother's cabin, not only did they find lots of incriminating evidence, they also found, under the bed where he slept, another bomb wrapped in a package ready to be mailed to someone. So, you know, if I hadn't chosen to turn Ted in.

Somebody else probably would have been dying, died or been seriously injured.

Actually, as you know, a lot of the attention and focus of this whole thing has been on me and I think we're so reductionistic and we don't see Gray and we don't see broadly of real human situations.

The decision to turn in Ted Kaczynski wasn't.

Made entirely by David Kaczynski, it was really made by a couple, David Kaczynski and Linda Patrick, 2.

Married people who loved each other, who'd known each other since the 7th grade, who were struggling with this, who made a promise to themselves to try to figure out the right thing and to act together in concert.

But at any rate, as Linda and I were talking about like pros and cons like what should we?

Do we've remembered a a national news story that hit hit the papers in when we were freshman in high school.

The name, probably familiar to some of you, was about the murder of Kitty Genovese. So there's this woman in Queens, NY, who was attacked by a man with a knife.

And she kind of got away, but he got her trapped into the courtyard of an apartment complex and and she was screaming.

He ripped off some of her clothes, but she got away.

And anyway from the initial.

Attack until Kitty Genovese was killed. Took about 1/2 an hour, and ultimately they were able to identify 31 witnesses to the assault people, kind of in their apartment buildings, looking out the window. And the thing that made it shocking wasn't the murder itself, it was the report of the bystanders.

And difference, apparently the news story was that nobody called the police. There's, you know, 31 people seeing a poor woman being assaulted and stabbed.

And you know, some people said, well, Gee, there were so many people I I sure thought somebody else would do it.

You know, I didn't think I had to be the one to pick up the phone and call.

Which is?

Kind of like the what would just.

Say let the other guy do it.

Sort of version of ethical responsibility.

Some some people said.

This is a kind of chilling comment, some people said.

Well, we, I thought.

I thought they knew each other.

Like wow like.

And and we have a whole history of kind of looking the other way with domestic violence in America, I mean.

It's it's a horrible thing.

And then people, this is what made the headline, people said things like, I didn't want to get involved, you know?

I love Jeffrey's call to action because it's like saying, look, there's a horrible thing happening. We can't just stand around and listen to this. We have to do something, you know? And and here we are.

People saying, well, I didn't know those people, why should I get involved?

And like, when Linda and I compared our situation to the situation of those witnesses, we realized, hey, there was nobody else, there was nobody else who knew Ted well enough to act and go forward.

And to stop the violence if it was going to be done, it was up to us and and believe me, my biggest hang up.

I had always, all my life, been opposed to the death penalty, just viscerally.

It just never made sense to me.

And here I'm in this situation where the only way it maybe could save lives is.

By exposing my brother to this punishment that I absolutely abhor.

I sort of thought and hoped that if we.

Worked closely with the FBI.

For one thing.

I wanted them to understand they were dealing with a person with some serious mental problems, you know?

Not with a terrorist, which which was in the conventional sense, which was how my brother was described.

So, and I also thought, you know, maybe building a kind of relationship, they might feel some sort of gratitude, you know?

And and I.

Maybe I was really naive.

Maybe I didn't understand just how big and indifferent to a human appeal this machine is.

On the other hand, I'm not quite so sure that it didn't actually help. I know it certainly helped in the efforts we made to save Ted's life later on.

But at any.

Rate the police the FBI agents who investigated were.

You know, it wasn't their decision to make, really.

I remember the awful day came we we kind of kept Mom out of the picture because we weren't sure.

I thought it would be really, really cruel to let her know what was going on.

And maybe that was a mistake, you know, if you talk about stakeholders, who was going to be impacted more than Wanda Kaczynski?

And yet, you know, I was so afraid she'd just have a heart attack.

Or maybe I couldn't bear to tell her because I didn't know how she'd feel about what we've done.

At any rate.

One of the promises the FBI had made to us is that if they were ever going to approach Mom, I would have the right to.

Be present.

And so they they did keep that promise.

In fact, they actually wanted to kind of make the best of that promise.

They said, David, we're really at a place in this investigation where we need to speak with your mom.

Do you think you could go talk to her, let her know what's going on and perceive she'll talk to us?

So so at that point, Mom lived about 3 miles from us. I remember walking up the the, you know, the stairs to her apartment on the 2nd floor in Scotia, NY knocking on her door. She opens her door.

At first she you know she's happy to see her son, but then she gets a look of concern on her face.

She says, David, you look terrible, like what happened.

Are you OK?

And I said, Mom, I have something to tell you, but I I think you better sit down.

I guess where Mom's intuition took her exactly to Ted. And it was like, Oh my God, it's Ted. OK, is he alive? And I said, Mom is, as far as I know, Ted is.

In good health, but there's something I really have to discuss with you.

Let's let's go in and sit down and talk about it.

So, you know, Mom sits in her little La-z-boy chair.

And I'm.

I'm agitated.

I'm kind of pacing the floor back and forth, trying to figure out a way to deliver this news in a way that doesn't just crush her, you know?

Well, but, you know, you think you maybe can ease into it, you know, mom, you know, have you ever noticed that Ted has lived in some of the places that the Unabomber sent bombs to or from?

You know, or did you notice that, you know, the Unabomber's manifesto was against technology and, you know, Ted has this phobia about technology?

But I wasn't 5 minutes into this where mom clearly saw where it was going.

She was connecting the dots.

She's like looking at my face with this look, a horror and surprise, like she can't believe.

What she's hearing?

And I actually have this feeling of panic because I had never doubted once in my life that my mother did not love both of her sons with all her heart.

I I didn't couldn't predict how a mother would like to handle this.

Like one son, possibly a serial murderer, and the other son having turned him in maybe to to face the death penalty.

I was truly afraid that mom would see my actions as a betrayal.

That was.

Unforgivable and.

And I really thought it was possible I would lose my mother's love that day. I know how invested she was in doing whatever she could. And there was.

Very little, she.

Could do to protect her elder son.

Anyway, I had no hope for it.

I I just had to sort of lay the cards out on the table, told her what I suspected, what I thought, you know, might be the signs that Ted was the Unabomber.

And I remember when I finished that little segment, she blurted out.

Oh, don't tell anyone.

I think it's totally understandable.

I mean, emotionally, her instinct as a mother was to protect.

And then I had to say.

Mom, I actually have told someone.

Mom, I've gone to the FBI.

The last thing I wanted to do was mention Linda.

Any part of this, it was like, I didn't want her to displace all the anger toward Linda.

You know, if there was going to be a buffer, it would be me and.

I'll never forget what Mom did next. She passed away last September at the age of 94. Incredibly courageous woman, but my defining memory of my mother is what she did next.

She got up out of her chair, tiny little woman under 5 feet tall, and she just walked up to me, reached her.

Arms up around my neck and pulled me down and put a kiss on my cheek.

And the first thing she said was David, I can't imagine what you've been struggling with.

It's like, truly a mother.

Her her son is in anguish.

She's going to comfort him.

But then she says something that just absolutely amazed me.

Like I I couldn't have.

Like if it was me in her place, it would have taken me 100 years to think of the words, she said.

But they were perfect. They.

Were just exactly what I needed.

And she said, David, I know that you love Ted.

I know that you wouldn't have done this unless you truly felt that you had to.

And I knew at that moment that, you know, I hadn't lost mom love and that now Linda, mom and I would would face this ordeal together.

But again point you back.

Here's a family facing a human situation, a human dilemma, and it's like the system is so you know.

It's so black and white.

It's so guilty or innocent, and it's so.

Death or life, you know, it's like.

There's none of the Gray, there's none of the humanity, there's none of the depth there in this system I.

Had that thought actually.

You know, Mom met with the people from the FBI, actually, they were waiting outside.

And I, you know, when Mom said she would see them, I called them and they came up and you know.

They asked her.

You know, if if she had letters from her son.

That they could see.

They were especially interested, like in postmarks, to try to figure out where Ted was at different times.

I mean, our greatest hope would be that he was in Montana on the same day, say, that a bomb was mailed from San Francisco.

That would be great.

It would mean he wasn't the Unabomber.

So we had some little hope there they were interested in.

Anything typewritten Ted sent because the Unabomber manifesto was written on a, you know, typed on a manual typewriter.

So in a short order, you know, Mom, I asked me to bring this trunk she has in her closet out into the living room, and it was really her treasure chest.

So on one side was stuff from me.

Little League trophies, baby shoes, letters, you know?

Papers I got a B plus sign and Ted side many papers.

He got a plus sign and and his mathematical papers.

He was actually a mathematical genius before he got ill baby shoes.

I remember at one point Mom took out this family photograph album and began talking about the pictures.

What happens?

When you put together a mom with family photographs, right, you get stories, right? Except in my mom's case, the stories had an agenda, you know? She said.

And you know.

Look, Ted was always a good kid.

Look, we were a good family.

We did all the right things here.

We went camping, and here he was, a high school graduation. You know, he was never in trouble. It was as much to say, you know, this is a mother's perspective but also a mother's advocacy, saying you're looking for the Unabomber. We'll help you find this, but we'll do whatever.

Possible to help you, but understand you're not going to find him in a family like ours.

Like we have a.

Good family.

At one point, and here is where I thought you know the difference in the in the evaluation of a mother's perspective on one hand and forensic evidence on the other.

Mom pulled out this little baby book, a little blue book and.

She says this.

Is Ted's baby book. Would you like to see this?

You know, it's like a mother saying.

Playing her Trump card, you know, this is the child that came out of my womb.

The person we're delivering to you may be a suspect, but he is my son.

Was a little baby.

At one time.

But she was particularly.

Interested in showing them that at the age of nine months, according to this diary she had kept, Ted had been hospitalized for about 2 weeks in the hospital and mom had always felt that that what she called his hospital trauma had really affected him greatly as a child.

In reality, you know, I think very few things in life have a singular explanation.

Mental illness is a complex thing.

I think probably the childhood trauma was part of IT, genetics was part of it.

He endured some some trauma at college to that.

I won't go into just 'cause, it would take too much time.

So, and I'm sort of looking at Mom and thinking how absolutely courageous she is, but also realizing, you know, mom, if Ted has committed these crimes, this baby book that means the world to you, this childhood trauma, that means so.

Much to you.

It's not going to mean anything in a court of law. It's going to just look like a little excuse. It's going to be dismissed. Three people were killed. It's not going to save Ted's life.

You know, Ted was arrested about a week later.

Our house is surrounded.

The whole thing happens.

And then.

You know, all of a sudden it's so interesting because we had worked closely with law enforcement to save lives, right?

Now, Linda and I and Mom, we're still trying to save a life.

But guess what, law enforcement the justice system has shifted gears.

Now they're on the other side. They think they're telling us basically, well, one more person has to die and that's that's your son, that's your brother, that's your brother-in-law.

So the attorney general, after studying the whole thing for 9 or 10 months, decided that she would seek the death penalty against my brother.

The trial commenced about 8:00 or nine months later.

Mom and I actually rented an apartment in Sacramento, CA, where the trial was taking place.

And let me just.

Paint you one day in that trial now?

Just to illustrate this point about that I was trying to make about the adversarial system and how it divides people.

It sort of creates an eerie sort of disconnection between people who in genuine truth are quite connected.

Not always in ways they would want to be, but.

There was a recess in the trial.

My brother wanted to fire his attorneys.

He did not want to be described as mentally ill to the world.

To him, that was a fate worse.

Than death talk about.

Stigma of mental illness.

Shame of mental illness.

But at one point, Mom and I are during a recess.

We take an elevator in the federal building from the courtroom up to a higher floor.

And you know, it stops like we get on on the 1st floor, the third floor, it stops again, and these two gentlemen in suits and ties walk in and I don't think they quite pick up who they are until the door closes.

Then all of a sudden they look up and they know who we are and we know who they are.

There are two federal prosecutors seeking my wanting to get a death sentence for Ted Kaczynski.

And here we are in a little elevator.

The mother, the brother, the two prosecutors.

What do you think we said to each other?

Absolutely nothing.

You know, and it's funny, 'cause, I had things I rehearsed, I said if I ever had a chance to talk to, here's what I'd tell them.

Well, you know, it really wasn't appropriate and it wouldn't have done any good, so we just.

Four people looking down at her shoes.

So we're back in the courtroom a little while later and OK, what do they do with the victims, families and the.

Offenders, family, they put us on absolute different sides and it's not like there's an Iron Curtain down the middle of the courtroom, but there might.

As well be.

It's like the lawyers say, well, don't try to, you know, say anything to the victims or taunt you know nothing.

Anything that you try to do in terms of interacting with the victims is probably going to be interpreted.

They're either going to think that you're.

That you want something from them or something.

And so we stand, maybe, you know, sit there.

And I have to admit, I'm, I'm like looking a little bit across at their side.

And I imagine some of them must have been looking at us.

Curiosity, you know, the brother or the mother of the?

Person who killed their loved one.

Or who blew off my hand, or whatever, whatever the case was.

And then there was quite a bit of suspense, because Ted comes into the courtroom for the first time, and his his attorneys had told us that, well, at this point, Ted had refused to see us.

According to his attorneys, he had begged them to have us barred from the courtroom.

And the attorneys really wanted the jury to see us, but I don't.

I'm not sure they could have barred us from the courtroom, but they let us know that Ted didn't want us there.

So it was really tense.

We didn't know what Ted would do when he came into the courtroom and it's like he's walking down this aisle from behind the judges bench.

Like straight toward.

Where Mom and I are sitting in the front row next to.

The aisle.

So what do you think Ted did or what do you think Ted said?

Absolutely nothing.

You know, it's like he pretends we're not there, just as the prosecutors had pretended we weren't there, just as we had pretended that the victims weren't there.

It's like, here's this sort of court of law in which we're going to have justice and none of the people who are.

Absolutely involved in this process are able to interact with each other.

What a strange way to do it.

Fortunately, my brother didn't get the death penalty.

I think it had a lot to do with advocacy and politics.

At any rate.

They offered a plea bargain and I think most of the major newspapers in the country had sort of taken in editorial editorials had taken the Justice Department to task for seeking the death penalty.

Against a mentally ill person turned in by his own family members and anybody who thing.

Fix the courtroom is immune to politics dreaming again.

Politics is huge.

I mean, there's a pretense that politics doesn't flood into the courtroom.

But I think all of the work that we had done and the persuasion we had done publicly and with the media really sort of oneone them over to our side and so in that sense.

We were really, really fortunate if it had been a less high profile case, if it was a case like that the New York Times wasn't interested in, which is like 99.9% of all criminal cases.

The rules of the game are different. We have no sort of voice at all. We were very, very privileged to have a voice, and it all came really from the notoriety of Ted's crimes and from our.

Somewhat counter intuitive decision to turn him in to the authorities.

On the day that Ted.

Got his plea bargain.

Mom and I had returned to our apartment, and you know, you might think we were smiling, joyous.

I think we're just sort of decompressing, you know?

It's just like we didn't even know what to say to each other.

But at least there was some, some sense of relief that we were not going to be sitting together someday watching Ted be executed or watching the clock and knowing that he was being executed at that moment.

Some sense of relief and then some sense.

Questioning like, how do we how do we go on living with this after what we've been through?

I mean, what?

How do we go forward?

Actually, I think we turned on the TV and just looking for some escape.

I guess that was what TV was for us and it would just happen to catch an interview with.

Then President Bill Clinton and Jim Lehrer of the news hour.

And it was kind of interesting because.

At that moment, Clinton was saying to Jim Lehrer, I did not have sex with that woman.

And Mom and I are looking at that and saying, well, I guess we're not the.

Only ones or.

You know, kind of.

In an embarrassing, difficult situation, even high and mighty sometimes get, you know, called to account.

And there was another kind of silver lining to all of this, and that is that all of those reporters who had just been waiting at our doorstep.

For months to book an interview with a kacynski, we're now all headed to Washington, booking their flights to get an interview with a Lewinski so.

But something very important and meaningful to us, and memorable happened the next day.

We got a call.

From a law enforcement chaplain, she said she usually worked with the Sacramento Police Department.

But she said she was calling us to let us know that there was a victim family that was interested in talking to us, and I didn't know really quite what to think.

At one point, Linda and I had written apology letters.

To all of the victims and victims families and what was.

What I guess I didn't understand completely, I had a hard time grappling with is that we got like out of 13 letters, we got 2 responses and they were very short.

They weren't hostile, but they weren't exactly friendly either.

And you know, it was like, what's happening?

What is happening with those people?

And why don't they want to talk to somebody named Kaczynski?

Well, maybe I can understand that.

You know, maybe they think the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree.

Who knows?

But here suddenly, here's this family, actually one of the families we'd written to now, saying that they wanted to meet with us and since mom was flying.

Back the next day.

Uhm, we really had to make a decision, and for me there was no decision.

Of course I would mate with.

But I was concerned about Mom.

I thought she had been through so much.

She was so fragile.

This family had learned on this very day that the man who murdered their loved one was most likely going to die a natural death in prison.

They might feel considerable anger, hostility. They knew we were on the other side of this court case, trying to save Ted's life. I just wanted to spare Mom.

But Mom wouldn't have it, she said.

David, if they want to talk to me, how could I say no?

So we agreed, and then the chaplain picked us up, drove us back to the federal building.

Now it was like a quiet building.

The media had mostly drifted away, and she took us up in an elevator to one of the upper floors, let us down a hallway into a conference room.

I I didn't even know the term restorative justice at this point.

Or a restorative meeting.

Or a restorative counter.

And even if you would describe it, what we went through today as that it wasn't like facilitated, none of us were prepared.

But it really was restorative for me.

It meant so much to me.

As mom and I walk into the room, there's like 5 chairs arranged in a circle.

Two of the chairs are vacant, obviously waiting for Mom and me to sit down, but the other chairs hold.

The widow of somebody Ted had killed with a bomb, her sister and her late husband sister.

So his mom and I walk into the room.

There's only one thing we could be saying, which is we're sorry.

We're sorry.

But I have to say even test the words.

Felt hollow.

I mean, they were just words.

They couldn't undo any of the harm Ted had done.

We sit down and I was actually kind of bracing myself for some hostility and and instead we got something very different.

The widow spoke kind of as a spokesman person for the family.

She said that not all of the family had wanted to join them in this meeting, but they had talked among themselves.

During the trial and they had decided that if there wasn't ever an opportunity.

To thank us for turning in Ted.

They wanted to do it face to face.

Personally, I remember her saying to me.

To us.

You know, I can't imagine how painful it would be to turn in.

A family member.

And I'm thinking, Gee, I can't imagine how painful it would be to have a family member killed just by a bomb out of the blue.

She said all we ever really wanted was for the violence to stop and I think that was her way of saying.

Hey, we're on the same page here.

We didn't want your brother, your son dead.

And you know, pretty soon we we actually here we are hugging each other.

We're all crying, have tears running down our face and I think for me, part of the meaning of it, and believe me, I had I'd been in.

Therapy I had.

Really good friends who helped me.

My job was very kind and helpful in general.

Few negative things publicly.

But for the most part, you know, people, people were fairly kind to us, kinder than I expected really under the circumstances.

And dumb.

But nothing was more important to me than meeting this family.

It's like nothing was more therapeutic for me in a certain way.

It's like they were so close to this, like they were the only people impacted as much or more than we were.

That I'd met with and that was really important.

And the second piece to me that was so important was it was like almost a hope, like if we can.

Have a relationship if we can at least acknowledge each other's losses.

Pain, suffering.

Maybe the world could begin to heal.

It's like my brothers bombs had blown up a lot of worlds.

Maybe those worlds could start to heal.

I think that was all in the back of my mind.

Mom is still a mom though.

I mean, she's appreciating everything they've said.

She's very touched by what they've said, but she wants them to understand one thing.

She doesn't want them to leave the room without understanding.

Meaning that her son is not a monster.

He's a very sick man.

And so Mom begins to talk about that.

She talks about mental illness, she talks about schizophrenia.

She even kind of personalized it.

And since we're talking about what it felt like as a mother to lose her son into these shadows and not know how he got there or how to get him back and.

I was looking at the faces of the three victims.

They don't like what they're hearing.

It's like Mom trying to tell him one thing.

They're hearing something else at hearing somebody making excuses for the man who hurt their loved one, and at one point, clearly, mom crossed the line.

I think it was, it was a mistake, she said.

You know, it's really not my son we should blame.

It's his illness and I just happen to be looking at the widows.

Face at that moment, she she just sort of blurted out.

He knew what he was doing.

And all of a sudden it was like the room.

Was frozen in.

Silence and it's.

Like we felt so close to this family, but now when Ted is the person we're.

You know, it's the focus.

It's like there's a Grand Canyon between us.

We can hardly see them on the other side.

Again, my I don't know how my my mom was extraordinary in some ways, but I saw her like just scrunch up like you want to roll up in a ball and disappear.

When she heard the widow say that, she looked down at the floor and she said, I really wish he'd killed me instead of your husband.

And I saw the widow's face begin to change, like there'd been a hardness there and then it sort of started to melt into.

The hardness melted and the eyes kind of welled up with tears.

And she was a mother to.

I mean, as a mother to a mother, maybe she could begin to understand and process some of this.

She's kind of thinking, well, what do I do?

And then she very gently gets down out of her chair and kneels right down in front of mom and puts her hand up on Mom shoulder.

And looks up into her face and says, oh, Mrs Kozinski, you don't deserve any of this.

You know, don't don't don't think for a minute that we blame you or that this is your fault.

I think that was something, mom.

Needed to hear.

I think it was something maybe the widow.

Needed to say.

And as I'm looking at the scene, I'm realizing something very special and extraordinary is going on.

Something like the courtroom would work as hard as it could to never happen in a courtroom.

It was two human beings in deep.

Suffering kind of working that out in a relationship relational context and it involves.

Empathy, communication, opening of hearts and empathy.

And to see the widow trying to comfort the mother of the man who killed her husband was pretty special.

I mean it.

It made me realize that there are capacities in the human spirit that go way beyond.

What we normally think is possible for human beings and.

I want to say this.

It sounds like a cliche.

I actually do believe it that well, in spite of the fact that it's much, much easier to hurt and destroy than it is to heal and create, I still believe love is incredibly more powerful than hatred.

And you bring in the mix and you make the process.

Authentic good things could possibly happen and unfortunately I think in our legalistic system it's relationship relationships that have been broken by crime and violence.

Our everybody put in their place so it's basically like OK we don't want you to connect now and and you know they used to sell the death penalty Pataki.

Governor Pataki tried to sell the death penalty, says it'll be a deterrent.

Well, we know that's not true.

The research has proven that's not true.

In fact, the National Research Council, Sir.

Most prestigious research group in the country reviewed all the evidence of research on deterrence and basically said there's no credible evidence that the death penalty saves lives through its deterrent effect.

Well, I lost my train of thought here.

Where was I going with that?

Love is more powerful.

Yeah, it's easy to forget, isn't it?

Anyway, let me talk a little bit and I know I'm probably no.

Right, I got a little bit more time yet and it would be good to have a little conversation around here too.

Let me just very briefly tell you something that happened.

You know, we talked a little bit about the inequality of the criminal justice system.

And I just want to say that when you put the death penalty in there, it's like inequality on steroids and in part because there's so much more, you know, the law is supposedly the law and, you know, if everybody is doing their job.

A lot of inequalities pop up, but at least.

You know you.

You have some effort to be consistent with the death penalty because there's so much subjectivity involved, so much politics involved, so much discretion involved, whether it's the District Attorney or the jury.

At the other end, you end up having tremendous inequalities in the way the death penalty.

Gets imposed.

I learned this a year after Ted got his plea bargain when I was called by a guy in California.

Actually, about eight months after Ted got his plea bargain by guide named Bill Babbitt.

In California, go Bill Babbitt or Manny Babbitt, because it's a very compelling story.

It turned out that Bill had turned in his brother to the Sacramento police.

His brother was eventually convicted of killing one person.

And was sentenced to death.

My brother had three great attorneys.

Bill Babbitt had a court appointed attorney who had never tried a criminal case before and this is a death penalty case.

My brother had a mental illness while many Babbitt earned his mental illness.

He was at the Battle of Khe Sanh.

He signed up to serve his country, went to Vietnam with 77 days with constant shelling, left Vietnam a broken man came back to the United States as thank you was.

In that, you know, great warm welcome for Vietnam vets coming back.

Instead, he ended up as a street person.

The crime he committed was.

Was under while having a psychotic episode, a flashback to Vietnam, he assaulted an elderly woman.

Horrible thing to do, but he wasn't in his right mind.

The actual, literal cause of death, according to the coroner, was not the beating.

It was a heart attack.

My brother had a Harvard education.

He killed three people.

Mental illness, granted, but with premeditation. You know, he he planned this. He sent the bombs. Bill Babbitt's brother.

Vietnam vet had been in a mental institution for three years. Diagnosed with schizophrenia like my brother, plus PTSD. His victim dies of a heart attack and Manny Babbitt's gets the death penalty.

OK, how could this happen?

OK, well, Manny Babbitt never made it out of the 5th grade.

His family was not well educated.

They were African Americans.

The jury in the case was an all white jury. This is not Mississippi. This is California in 1982 and 18 years later.

Guess what? Bill Babbitt's thank you for turning in his brother ends up being a front row seat at his brother's execution.

So when I when I'm making the case that we need to introduce the issue of the victim, I'm not trying to.

In any way, dismiss any of the important points we all need to make about the inequality of the system, the racism, the poverty, all of the things that contribute.

The institutional oppression, but I'm just, I just don't think we're going to move forward.

If the public is basically has victims on one side and defenders on the other side and asking, you know, people who are reading the Daily News like who do you sympathize with, you know where that's going to come down politically.

And and in my experience, let me tell you a little bit about how the death penalty ended in New York.

Before it ended, actually at the end of my brothers trial, I had a meeting with his head attorney guy named Quinn Dedma.

Really, really nice guy. Absolutely dedicated to saving lives one life at a time in the courtroom. Helped to save Ted's life, even though Ted didn't want that.

And and at the end of this point and I decide, let's let's go out and have a drink and you know we're we're sitting and having a few and talking and just trying to re process 'cause attorneys go through a lot too in these cases maybe not as much as as a family member but they get very invested in.

In their clients and saving their clients life and Quinn said, well David, what are you going to do?

Go back working with the kids at the youth shelter?

And I said yeah, for the time being, but you know, longer term I'd really like.

To go to work.

Fighting the death penalty.

And I remember Quinn guy passionately, viscerally opposed to the death penalty, looked up at me and says, David, don't waste your time, you know?

It's not going to happen in our lifetime.

That was back in what, 1998?

Even today, last week, I was looking at a story out of Oklahoma about a man who was being executed and his appeals were denied, and they had some little short news story and then about a zillion comments from readers.

So I started to read down through those comments, and the comments were like horrific.

It's like.

These are people, they're not victims, family members, they're they're members of the general public.

Just absolutely saying this person should rot in hell.

No, they shouldn't just execute him.

They should torture him.

They should put him on a stretcher.

And it's like.

What is going on?

Like, where is this anger?

Where is this hatred coming from?

It's like we've created a group of people whom we call criminals and we're going to use them as scapegoats for all kinds of frustration and anger and.

There's actually a book I'd recommend.

There's a book by a guy named Gil Bailey, baby AI L i.e. That goes by the title violence unveiled. He's an anthropologist. He's very Christian and Catholic, and I'm not Catholic so.

You know, but I would say don't be put off by the theology that's there.

What he really talks about is the mythology.

The myth making of the scapegoat scenario and how that has played out through history, and he does specifically talk about the current criminal justice system and the the death penalty in particular.

But it's a really interesting theory, I mean, if we're really looking into ourselves.

What we basically do is ignore victims, right, because they don't get much.

And then we create another class of victims.

You know, there's a some sort of strange.

Anyway, he's got a very interesting.

Theory about all of that.

In New York, I think.

We were the 1st state.

Now this is what, 2004 when the Court of Appeals struck down the death penalty. The very next day Sheldon Silver, Joe Bruno, then the head of the Senate Governor Pataki, all put out a press release.

They, in fact they had a press conference in which they said we're really upset that the Court of Appeals struck down the death penalty and we're going to fix it.

As quickly as we can.

And and by September.

Uhm, guess what?

It wasn't fixed and Sheldon Silver was saying, I think we need to have some public hearings on the death penalty.

Let's just look at, see, you know, and there was a lot of things going on behind the scenes.

But I think.

Essentially, what had happened is that we changed the conversation.

Instead of focusing on the person called the offender or focusing on the horrific crime, we shifted the focus to the city.

And I tell you, when you shift the focus to the system, you win every time because the system isn't defensible.

It really isn't defensible.

One of the prime arguments we used, and one of the prime spokespeople we used, was that man there, Jeffrey Deskovic.

In 2006 we were in the midst of this. There had been a cop killing. They were trying to bring the death penalty back. And guess what?

Jeffrey is let out of prison and a couple days later I'm on the phone with Jeffrey and we meet at a diner.

Down in Peekskill was.

And I'm so touched by Geoffrey story, but I'm also touched by Geoffrey as a person too, and his ability to tell that story.

So, so we brought him up for lobbying.

And we did public speaking from various perspectives all around New York State.

But but here were.

The three sort of systematic arguments about the death penalty.

The first was, guess what?

The system isn't perfect.

If you're going to kill paper, you're going to end up killing some people that are innocent.

And guess what?

When you've killed someone, you can't make it right later.

You know the death penalty is different because there's no way to prepare, repair the mistake.

Second Lee, we made the argument that it wasn't fair.

Three of the seven on death row, four of the seven actually were people of color in a state that has what, 18% or less people of color.

But more shockingly, perhaps, even than that was that almost half of our death roll came from one county.

Do you think it might be a high crime county?

Like Suffolk County on the end of land.

Long Island?

No, Suffolk County.

Had three of the seven people on death row were convicted in a fairly low crime county, so obviously the law wasn't being applied evenly and then an argument we made at that time has certainly gained more resonance as we go forward and that argument is that.

But the death penalty is extraordinarily expensive. People don't understand how expensive it is. We spent somewhere between 200 and $300 million million dollars in New York to put seven people on death row, none of whom were executed and none of whom.

Ever could be executed now.

California has a referendum this year.

I hope they win.

I think it'll be very close.

But they're using the cost argument.

California is like teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

They've executed 13 people since 1976. The cost of the taxpayers $5 billion.

For 13 deaths.

And one of them was Manny Babbitt, the Vietnam vet who was mentally ill, whose victim died of a heart attack.

I mean, wow, what are you getting for?

Your money folks.

You you know, it's it's a sad part.

I I had this wonderful meeting.

My mom and I had this wonderful meeting with the victims family.

I actually became very close friends.

I'm still like, if I count my 5 best friends on my hand.

One of them is a man named Gary Wright who survived one of my brothers bombs.

You know, we've tried to live this sort of healing journey.

Bill has had a very different experience.

I think it was the nephew of his.

Brothers victim who was kind of getting concerned because people were using the man at Babbitt cases.

An example of inappropriate death sentences in California.

And so he sent a letter to one of the newspapers and he said the day but Manny Babbitt died was the happiest day of my life.

And you know.

I thought, well, that's pretty sick. And then I thought, man, that's a guy with a lot of pain. That is a man who's happiest day was somebody else's death.

This was a man who could have been helped.

Maybe this isn't a bad person, just like Manny Babbitt wasn't a bad person.

This is a person who isn't getting the kind.

He needs.

And who's fallen into this script?

The polarized script of US versus them?

Which side are you on?

It's never the human side.

It's one side, the right and the wrong of it.

I think the other thing that we did and and here's where we went with post Abolition 2, we really felt that we needed to recruit people from quote the other side, unexpected allies.

So we had not only Jeffrey Deskovic as a witness at the hearings, not only.

You know, people in our community, people like me, we not only had Bill Babbitt as a witness in New York, but we also had murder victim.

Family members who?

Said they did not want to see the death penalty continue.

Talk about how complex people are. I heard about Jenna's law. I know Janice Grieshaber, who to some of you may seem like a very difficult, polarizing figure because she was a strong advocate for Jenna's law while.

She was just.

As strong an advocate against the death penalty.

You know, I think the truth of it is, when there's a a terrific violence, the people most impacted, including the person who may have caused the violence, they're on a journey.

It takes a long time, you know.

Where Janice ends up, I don't know. I could see her someday advocating for for something different, quite different than Jenna's law. Sometime in the future. Probably not soon.

But I think we shouldn't give up on people.

Anyway, with our post abolition mission, what we've really tried to do is be as constructive and as collaborative as we possibly could.

You know, Pataki sold the death penalty on the basis that this was the silver bullet that's going to cure violence problem in New York State.

Well, that was a lazy way.

It was wrong.

It didn't cure violence.

And actually, it allowed people in power to do nothing about the real causes of violence, right?

There's lots of things we could be doing.

We could be keeping kids in school, we could be working with traumatized, abused kids.

We could be, you know, much better.

In our domestic violence situations, we have these programs.

That are out on the street now, working with formerly incarcerated people on the street as ambassadors of peace and the Snugged program, so many things we could be doing that would effectively save lives.

And instead they said, oh, we have the death penalty, we don't need any of that.

Soft stuff.

Well, now we don't have the death penalty and I think what our argument has been, you know, the the death penalty wasn't the answer to the problem of violence, but getting rid of the death penalty in itself wasn't the answer to the problem of violence.

We truly need to replace the death penalty with a.

Different perspective with a different way of working on these problems.

Let me and again.

Interestingly, we were flush with money when we were fighting the death penalty. There was like a hard issue, you know, you were on one side or the other side, you know, big foundation says, yeah, here, take a couple $100,000, we'll help you get rid of the death penalty. Once the death penalty was gone and it was like, well, now let us replace the death penalty.

With, with Snugged or with trauma for responses for victims of violence all of a sudden, oh, we're not that interested.

So, so we have had tremendous trouble getting public support for.

A a more constructive way to deal with the problem of violence.

And to me, that's a shame.

That's an abdication of responsibility.

'cause really that's the problem.

And unless we address the root causes, we're just going to keep recycling through all of this.

At any rate, the program that I'm really proud of, we've done something in Schenectady school system and then a few other school systems.

It's a panel.

We call it the limits of loyalty.

But it's a very diverse panel, so it includes a murder victim, family member it in.

Fluids, 2.

Formerly incarcerated people.

A former gang member.

A former gang member who was shot and paralyzed.

The brother of the Unabomber.

Like poster boy for you know.

And redefining loyalty, the District Attorney of Schenectady and a police officer, online police officer and Schnectady, who has interesting story, whose brother is serving 70 years for murder.

And and so we're racially diverse.

Age diverse.

Oh, and a young woman, absolutely spectacular young woman who talks about being a child in a family, where domestic violence was happening and how she finally found a voice to make a change.

And she really speaks the kids language and man, she's perfectly, absolutely on message and somehow is so wise she can answer every kids question.

They really connect with her.

But at any rate, the the idea is to show that you don't have to be ashamed of what's happened in your life.

You can't change that, but what you do with it can make a difference in having a voice and having a story about having a voice.

It can be empowering.

You can morally engage people.

You can end up helping to change the game on the street.

In the school, in your community, where, as we know, bullying is rampant, we had four young women.

All young women of color within a space of four months commit suicide and skin ected E.

And nobody wanted to do anything until finally the newspapers got hold of it.

Wait four and four months and now all of a sudden everybody is asking the questions and you look at the lives of the young kids and you know.

They didn't have support at school.

They were getting bullied by gangs.

They didn't have great support at home.

They were kids whose, you know, best choice in their own minds was ending it all.

You know, we are bystanders.

You know, we have to do something.

But most interesting two things have been really interesting to me.

One was the response of the kids.

I thought I was afraid.

The first school we were at was 7th and 8th graders.

They gave us an hour and a half, and I'm thinking all 7th and 8th graders are going to be throwing spitballs.

Going to be chit chatting.

That the room was absolutely riveted and the questions the kids asked were extraordinary, and some of the things they disclosed about their own lives were very, very.