Families as Secondary Consumers of the Mental Health System
"National Alliance on Mental Illness: Join New York City's Office of Mental Health as they welcome David Kaczynski for his presentation and discussion "Families as Secondary Consumers of the Mental Health System." This event takes place September 6th from 1:00 - 3:00 PM."
Well, I'm pleased to be here today.
I really appreciate the opportunity.
When you've been through a tragedy, a very difficult experience, a kind of life journey and thank you.
Maybe learn some things from it, it's at least therapeutic to be able to share that with other people who are in a position actually to make a difference.
I don't have any great expertise in mental health.
I'm I'm really coming here in the role of a family member, a family member of someone who committed serious harm who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and to talk a little bit about the family members journey and.
How it might?
Collide with the work that you do.
Do I guess I shouldn't have used the word collide because that's not what we're looking at, but I'm afraid probably there are collisions.
I can imagine families making a long trip here and coming through and feeling a whole built up helplessness over a lifetime of being able to help there.
Loved one and then interacting with all of you and still feel and help feeling helpless.
I think you know that the provider, institutions and families, especially under the kind of circumstances that we have here, are almost set up a little bit for conflict.
And yet there's a.
There's a large body of research that really shows family interactions.
Have a positive effect.
On treatment outcomes, and so I guess my hope here with this story and it's really one family story.
Every person with mental illness is different, obviously because they're a person.
1st Every family is different.
Every journey is different, but my hope is that perhaps it'll create some sense of.
Sensitivity to the families that you might see.
I'd also like if possible.
If it doesn't bog us down too much to make this talk a little bit interactive so there will be points where I'll kind of invite your opinion on things, but in the meantime I'm.
I'm just going to launch into the story and invite you.
If you do have a question.
Feel free to ask it kind of stick with the story and the timeline of the story.
Hopefully we can get through the entire story and then maybe at the end we'll.
Have some time to talk as well.
From the time I was a child.
I always had a sense that my brother was diff.
Words and mostly I thought he was different in a good way. Ted is 7 1/2 years older than I am, so even you know in in early elementary school I thought of my brother is unusually brilliant.
He actually graduated from high school two years early at the age of 15.
He was the only person I know, at least at that point, who went from our working class community on the southwest side of Chicago on a full ride scholarship to Harvard University at the age of 15, no less.
I I recall there was a time when he was in high school, maybe only 14 years old, 1314 years old where a guidance counselor had given him an IQ test.
And you know, I don't have to explain to you what the number of 165 means.
When it comes.
To IQ, Ted was like off the charts.
He was extremely.
You know, if there was the same kind of celebrity for mathematics as there is for basketball, Ted would have been as famous as Michael Jordan.
Maybe at some point in his life he even as as a in Graduate School before he had gotten his pH.
He had published some.
Original mathematical research, something that his teachers thought was remarkable and showed amazing promise.
He got a tenure track job at the University of California at Berkeley.
Again an elite institution.
By the time he was in his early 20s.
Yet even when I was, I think 7 or 8 years old, I recall asking my mom one day, mom, what's wrong with Teddy?
And and Mom said, well, David, what do you mean?
There's nothing wrong with your brother.
What are you talking about?
And I said, well, you know, Mom, I have lots of friends and Teddy doesn't seem to have friends.
Why is that?
And she said, well, I think it was a healthy response from a parent to ask this kind of question.
Helping answer for a child to to receive, she said.
Well, you know.
David, the world is a big place.
It's made of a lot of different kinds of people.
Not everybody has to be the same.
You like people, people like you, that's wonderful.
I'm tedius more.
He likes to be by himself.
He likes to read a lot.
He likes to work on things.
That's fine too.
It takes a lot of different kinds of people to make a world.
But I think even at that early stage, Mom realized that.
Maybe I wasn't quite satisfied with that answer.
I remember pressing her and said, well, mom sometimes it seems like he doesn't like people.
And at that point she sat me down on a couch in our house. I remember because she always used to use this couch to read me stories. It was kind of mom's way of, you know, teaching me about.
Many things, but at this point she wanted to tell me about something that had happened before I was born and she said Dave, when your brother was nine months old, just a little baby, he got sick and we had to take him to the hospital.
And in those days it would probably be different now, but in those days, hospitals weren't very friendly to families.
So Teddy was only nine months old.
He was in the hospital and we were only allowed to visit three times a week for two hours and after two weeks when we finally came to bring Teddy home, something was changed.
He was very different.
He didn't smile anymore.
He didn't make eye contact.
And it was the first time she ever used for me.
The word trauma, she said.
You know, your brother had a trauma.
It was like a scar.
He probably doesn't even remember what happened because he was so young, but.
Teddy doesn't trust people.
Maybe it was because he felt we had abandoned him in the hospital and I remember her telling me something that haunted me.
You can imagine years later she said David don't ever abandoned your brother, 'cause that's what he fears the most.
Uhm, now that was mom's narrative. It was her way of understanding and and as time went on, when Ted would act a little strangely, or he would isolate himself or seem not to trust people. You know, that's.
Narrative resurfaced it was the hospital experience.
I think we know that the causes of mental illness are complex.
They may be genetic.
There may be environmental triggers, but this was the only way my mom could sort of give a meaning and a shape to that story was the way she understood why her elder son was different, but again, different for the most part.
In a positive way.
True, he didn't have friends, but he was very successful.
He was never in trouble, he was.
A good kid.
The next sort of marker on this family journey would be when Ted was in at Berkeley teaching and without any discussion with the family.
I remember 1 spring, our family, mom and dad got a letter from Ted and he said you're probably going to hate me for this.
But I've decided to quit my job.
And it was a long letter.
Ted was much more comfortable with writing things down than when, you know, discussing something.
Face to face.
But he said he had thought about it a lot, and he realized that technology which many of us celebrate, which you know, especially at that time, was, you know, just people didn't think about the environment so much.
Yeah, you know.
People had a.
Kind of uncritical admiration for the wonders of technology.
Well, Ted had come to the conclusion that all of that was completely wrong and that there were so many unintended consequences that it involved environmental damage, but in loss of freedom and then he said.
And furthermore, I've come to the conclusion that since.
A lot of technology is based on mathematics.
I'm actually doing harm to the world by doing mathematics.
I'm I I'm I've decided to quit my job.
But more than quitting his job, he said that he wanted to get as far away from technology as he could.
He wanted to go out and live in the woods.
He wanted to try to live off the land.
Our family had always loved, like camping and things like this, but this seemed kind of extreme and surprising.
And you know Ted had gone to Harvard and gone, you know, marvelous.
Education and all of a sudden everything is changing and he's.
Got this view.
Of technology, and he's going to go off and live in the woods.
Now mind you, the time was late 60s.
I mean, some of you were as old as I am.
I think Time magazine had a maybe a cover story on dropping out.
You know there was a kind of fad that you know people would you know?
Go off and you know live in nature or live a pure kind of life.
And so actually I thought this was really cool.
I mean, I'd always looked up to Ted.
I thought this was wonderful.
Well, our parents didn't feel the same way.
And you know, probably some of the reason was, you know, wow, they'd invested so much and had such high hopes for their child.
But I think it was more than that.
I think there was this lingering worry and I remember mom saying to me, you know, Dave, I don't think this is really about technology I'm afraid.
Your brother just can't cope.
He doesn't know how to accept people or be accepted by people.
I'm afraid he's running away from a world that he doesn't really know how to deal with.
Things went along fairly normally.
I remember I had visited Ted out in the woods a number of times.
You know, we seem to be fairly happy.
He seemed to tell me enthusiastically about things were going on.
We'd have these conversations about technology and you know, I was a good listener.
I could see his point of view.
I thought it was kind of extreme.
And you know, and I'd give like a sort of a little counter.
Push back on some of this ideology of Ted's. You get kind of upset, you know. So I kind of learned over.
Time, well, maybe that's.
The subject you know he doesn't want to talk about too much.
Or at least doesn't want to debate with his younger brother.
In about when would this have been? I guess it would have been in the early 1970s, something fairly shocking happened.
At that point, I was teaching school in the state of Iowa and my parents sent me this letter and enclosed a letter from my brother, very long letter. It was 23.
Ted at this point had been out.
In the woods five or six years.
But this again came out of the blue without any kind of warning.
I've never had any sort of conversation with Ted about this, but the letters started basically as follows.
I have been unhappy all my life.
I've been really miserable.
I've never understood why, but now I've had lots of time to think about it.
And I've finally figured it out.
I'm unhappy because you never loved me.
And then it went on for the next 20 pages, explaining why you know they shouldn't have yelled at him here.
They shouldn't have said this or they had things that scared him.
And and I'm reading this and I'm thinking, why does Ted lost his mind?
I mean, what's going on here?
I mean, we grew up in the same family our parents were loving.
They cared about us both.
You know he's he's got very distorted memories of things that happened in our family.
I think those of you who are listening to this story as you know, sort of professionals.
You're beginning to see some symptomology of mental illness.
There is this, you know, fixed belief system.
There's the isolation that the person is beginning to have, and then this sort of paranoid ideations about the family.
You know at the time I just thought, well, Ted's kind of, you know, he's kind of emotionally intense.
He lives a lot by himself.
He doesn't have anybody to talk to, you know, maybe he's just gotten kind of wound up in his thoughts.
So I wrote him a letter I said, oh Ted, you know you've deeply hurt Mom and Dad.
You should write to him and.
I don't know, but you really didn't mean it.
You know they love you and over the next three or four months as we exchanged letters back and forth.
I came to the conclusion that you know Ted hadn't just lost his temper.
He'd actually had a fixed belief system that our parents were cold and unloving parents.
They pushed him academically because they wanted him to be a star, but they never cared about his happiness and it was very puzzling to me.
It was like no kind of counter evidence would count for Ted.
Ted would always have a way, it was so brilliant to spin it into something other than what it it appeared to me to be.
For a number of years I became kind of the liaison between mom and Dad and Ted.
Every time I'd see Mom and dad, they'd say, have you seen Ted?
Have you heard from Ted?
Is he OK?
And then sort of endless family discussions.
Did we do something wrong?
Is there some way we could show him that?
We really love him.
Dead writing a letter like an apology for some things that he thought he had not done so well, and then the response came back.
See you finally admit that you did all these bad things and there was no understanding that she, my father, our father was was trying to build a bridge trying to reestablish a relationship, but it all got kind of spun into this.
Sort of paranoid ideations.
Around this time.
Something wonderful happened to me.
There was a girl I'd met in 7th grade by the name of Linda and when she was, you know, at that age I thought she was pretty cool, but by the time I was 16 or 17 I thought she was way cool and I kind of developed a crush on Linda.
Unfortunately, it wasn't entirely reciprocal.
Well sufficed to say.
It was now 20 years after high school and call it a long courtship, but Linda had finally said yes.
So Linda and I were going to be married.
It was going to be the happiest day of my life and I remember as we were arranging for the wedding, I thought you know.
Maybe I could invite Ted to the wedding.
Maybe he'll come, you know, maybe this day of joy for Linda and me will be an opportunity for our family to be together.
It'll be a day of joy for me and Linda, but a moment of reconciliation, Ted will understand that we really love him.
We accept him.
We want him to be part of the family.
So I sent Ted a letter I asked, actually asked him to be my best man, and I couldn't imagine Ted making a toast or doing all the things the best man is supposed that didn't matter, just to have him.
There would have been so meaningful to me and I guess I really wasn't prepared for what happened.
The letter I got back was 17 pages.
It began with two big words, underlined capital letters, multiple exclamation points, you fool.
And he went on to explain to me why Linda, whom, by the way he'd never met.
Was actually not in love with me.
She was a bad person.
My life was going to be ruined and by the time he got to the 16th or 17th page he was saying, well, you know, I know you don't listen to me.
I know how stubborn you are.
This relationship is too painful for me.
David, let's just call it quits.
We're not brothers anymore.
Don't communicate with me, it's all over.
And I'm reading this letter and you know part of me.
Part of me is feeling angry like he's hurt Mom and Dad terribly.
He's wounded them, but what right does he have to?
You know, attack this woman.
He's never met the woman I love and you know I'm feeling angry.
But then another part of me is feeling very, very saddened.
I was scared.
It's like Ted has no one.
I mean he's living out in.
The woods I was.
Like his most important human contact, now that has been that's gone.
Part of me is hearing moms old narrative you know, does he feel abandoned?
Does he feel because I love Linda?
I can't love him.
Very strange, he said to me that if you know I would write to him, I shouldn't bother because he would just throw my letters into the fire, unread.
It didn't entirely hold our father.
Passed away a few years later I did write to him.
He attempted to establish he's reestablished some contact with Mom.
He still said he didn't want to talk with me anymore.
And at one point he sent a letter to mom that was just really over the top.
In other words, like the handwriting was irregular, there were strongly like he.
He said that when he got letters from her, he was afraid they could kill him because his heart would stop beating.
Sometimes he said for almost a minute, which probably is biologically impossible.
He couldn't sleep for days.
And so he was demanding that mom not write to him anymore.
I remember showing one of these letters to Linda.
She was looking at the letter and I remember her looking up.
Talk about the family journey, the sort of learning curve and mind you.
I had psychology courses in college, but Linda is looking up from the letter and she says, David, you know your brother is sick.
I mean he's mentally ill.
You know that, don't you?
And my first reaction was to say, well, you don't understand Ted's very unique, he thinks and very differently.
He's very smart and you know he's by himself a lot and she said no, David Reavis people who are healthy in their minds don't think this way.
We got to try to get him some help.
Maybe it took that person from sort of outside the family.
It's like we'd adjusted.
We adapted the whole family dynamic, took the ways in which Ted was different and here it is.
So many years later, so much adaption later, it's like we've gone way out on a limb and Linda, who's a little bit more objective, can look at this and say look your brother's ill.
And she persuaded me at that time to take some of Ted's letters to a psychiatrist in Schenectady. And I remember in the first meeting, the psychiatrist said, David, Reading these letters, I mean.
It's very clear that your brother is very, very seriously ill.
I can't give a diagnosis just based on some letters.
It takes more than that, but certainly is very, very paranoid.
There are aspects symptomology here that would be consistent with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, and of course my question is, well, what can we do?
How can we get help?
And of course, I didn't know about the McNaughton rule.
I didn't know about the legalities that you know.
Try to balance civil rights, the autonomy of individuals, and respecting their choices against you.
Know the need of society to protect itself or to protect people who might want to harm themselves.
And so he explained what would be required.
I mean, Ted didn't think his problems were in his mind, he thought his problems were in his family or in the world or in technology.
The last thing he thought was that the problems were in that wonderful brain of his.
He wasn't going to seek treatment.
And we basically explained to us look, you'd have to go to a court in Helena, Mt.
The county where he lives.
You'd have to present legal evidence that would show that he's a danger to himself or others.
That itself could be traumatic for your brother.
You know there's a fight or flight syndrome he had gotten as far away from his dressers, thinking that they were.
Colonel, this would be very difficult and it might not be successful.
What evidence do you have that that your brother is a threat to himself or others?
And I said, well, you know, I've always had this fear that maybe someday Ted would hurt himself.
And and explain that you know imminent danger imminent threat.
Just a vague fear that Ted might hurt himself really wouldn't have any legal traction.
I remember we actually at that point called in some of his letters.
Ted had talked about his heart and how it would stop beating.
He had actually gone to see a cardiologist in Helena, Mt and mentioned the name of the cardiologist.
So as Linda, I and the psychiatrist or kind of strategizing, we thought maybe we could talk to her.
Maybe she could.
Use her influence to get him into treatment.
We tried a couple of times but you know her pledge of confidentiality is to her patient, not to her patient family.
I sent some of Ted's letters, made a few follow up calls, and at some point I just didn't hear back from her and I don't think she understood or knew very much about mental illness.
At that point, it was almost like well, we just have to hope for the best you know, and some feeling that Ted had been so closely bonded to our family, he'd come back to us someday.
At least that was the hope.
About a two years later, I got a letter from Ted. Very simple short letter. He said I desperately need $1000. I'll pay you back later, but I desperately need $1000.
I was worried about whatever that desperation might be.
I thought it might be a health problem.
I thought it might be hunger and the positive side.
I thought maybe he, maybe he will seek treatment.
And and I thought, well, this is some way I could prove to him that I love him.
You know, I'm not going to ask questions.
I'm not going to make him say I talked with Linda. Yeah, we sent him 1000. Check for $1000.
A few months later, another letter came. This will be the last request, he said, but now I need $2000.
So we sent him 2000.
Dollars, but it's.
Like the only way we had to prove that we loved him, you know?
A couple of years later.
I got home from work one day.
At this point I was working at a youth shelter on the South end of Albany equinox and here I was helping troubled kids and their families and I felt really good about the work.
Although there was a fair amount of crisis and stress involved in it, but nothing to prepare me for what was going to come next I remember.
I was walking up the driveway and you know, Linda and I have been married for five years now.
I can kind of read her face and I'm thinking as I look at her face looking out the kitchen window.
Oh, what did?
She did not look happy and I came in the door and sure enough, she says David, we have to talk and at that point I was sure I was in trouble.
She leads me down the hallway to our living room and kind of sits me down.
On the couch.
She puts her hand on mine and she says, no, David don't get angry at me.
All of a sudden I thought OK, what did?
She do, and I imagine you know, maybe she ran up the MasterCard.
Bill put a dent in the car or anything I've already to forgive her and then she says something that absolutely takes my breath away, she said.
David, has it ever occurred to you, even as a remote possibility?
That this Unabomber that everybody is talking about, might be your brother.
And wow, my jaw hit the floor.
You know I wasn't prepared for that.
You know, I said immediately, you know, Ted has never been violent.
I can't remember one time when he'd been violent.
And and then she pointed out some possible coincidences that the Unabomber was thought to come from Chicago since the first bombs had been planted there.
And of course, both of our families had come from Chicago.
There had been a subsequent bomb at a student center at the University of California at Berkeley.
Where Ted had once been a Prof.
But I think the thing that tipped Linda the point where she actually sort of was going to approach me.
Uhm, was news that the Unabomber had sent a manifesto a long essay to the New York Times and the Washington Post?
He argued, explained that he was sending these bombs, planting these bombs in a protest against modern technology.
So Linda is thinking, OK, let's see Chicago, Berkeley anti technology.
Maybe it's just coincidence but.
Maybe these are pieces of a puzzle that add up to your brother.
And I gotta admit, I was talking about denial.
I was very resistant at the time.
I'm saying look, there's a lot of radical environmentalist.
Ted has never been violent.
This is all a coincidence, and Linda at that point extracted me from a promise, and the promise was that if the manifesto were ever published.
I would get a copy of it, read it and give her an honest opinion about whether it could be my brother's writing.
It was a couple weeks later that the manifesto was published.
I remember the first time that I got to read it was actually online.
There had been just the 1st 6 pages posted somewhere on the Internet and I remember sitting looking at the screen.
And Linda was kind of sitting Kitty corner to me, but I realized very quickly she wasn't looking at the screen.
She was looking at my face.
She didn't know Ted.
She knew my face would tell her more than the words on the screen.
And I was all set to turn to her and say, look how silly I've been.
I know, Ted, I know how your rights I know already thinks it's not him.
And instead, as I began to read, you know, I got a kind of sinking feeling.
I realized I couldn't say that in good faith to my wife and at one point she says, well, David, do you think it could be her brother?
And I said look, honey, I'll be honest with you.
Some parts do sound like Ted other parts I really can't connect with maybe.
And here I was, trying to be reassuring. I said maybe there's one chance in 1000 that Ted wrote this.
And then Linda got kind of thoughtful and she said, David one chance in 1000 that your brother is this serial murderer.
Don't don't you think we need?
To find the truth.
As most of you probably remember, I mean the Unabomber was the most wanted person in America at that point, probably in the world over a period of 16 years he had mailed or placed in public places.
Over a period of 17 years, he'd play 16 bombs.
A number of people had been injured, some seriously three people at this point had been killed.
Uhm, huge. If you watched America's Most Wanted or any of these programs which help us find the Unabomber.
And here I am suddenly confronting the possibility that could be my only, you know, my only brother, a family member, somebody I love and somebody I've been very.
Very worried about.
For the next couple of weeks, Linda and I kind of decided we'd try to investigate on our own.
Linda teaches philosophy.
She's really smart.
I must be attracted to smart people.
And and I was an English major, so we had the manifesto. There was 78 pages long and over the years I'd saved many of my brothers letters.
I had almost 100 of them saved and so we would sit down every night. Linda would come back from college.
The college where she taught I would come back from my work at the youth shelter. We'd have dinner, go to our living room instead of having a you know a conversation or read a book here we would sit there combing through the manifesto day after day, comparing looking for similarities and differences. In Ted's letters. For me, it was like.
A roller coaster because some days I'd be sitting there and I just suddenly think what?
This is crazy.
What am I doing?
My brother, the Unabomber, come on.
Am I crazy to even think such a thing?
You know, I think you know this is projection I've been worried about my brother see that psychology course I took in college had some usefulness to me.
This is projection I've I've been worried about.
My brother and Linda planted this germ of suspicion.
I'm seeing something that I'm afraid to see, and that's that's why I'm seeing this.
And then you know the next night.
I might be reading some passage in the in the manifesto and all of a sudden that get confused and think it was one of Ted's letters and it would be almost like I could hear his voice there, and I'd say to myself, am I in denial?
You know, am I refusing to see?
What would be obvious?
If I would just allow myself to see it.
One night I remember.
Uhm, well, one morning I woke up and.
It's it's strange in a sense.
It's almost like the it's sort of the revelation, in a sense, came in a dream.
I remember waking up one morning.
Saturday morning, so I slept in a little bit late and I'm.
Lying there in bed and thinking that's the worst nightmare I've ever had in my life.
And then as the cobwebs started to melt, I sort of woke up.
I realized it's not a nightmare. I'm literally considering the possibility that my brother is Public Enemy #1
I remember walking to the breakfast table. Linda had gotten up a little bit earlier. She was eating a bowl of cornflakes and I just caught her eye and just through this fog of despair I said to her, you know, I think there's a 5050 chance that.
Linda knew what it cost me to say that this is the first time I'd really come close to validating her suspicion, and you can imagine how upset she was at this point.
We had the obvious question, is Ted the Unabomber?
But then there's this other whole question that begins to dawn for us is like what do we do with this?
This is a man who's killed three people.
If it is Ted.
Aren't we obligated morally to stop him from doing that?
On the other hand, this is my brother, you know the the person I see as fragile, damaged the person who my mother said to me.
Don't ever abandon and you know I'd been a lifelong opponent of the death penalty.
I never imagined that I would have like a personal confrontation like with a capital punishment and.
Here we wanted to make a choice that would save lives and yet you know there was no life affirming choice here.
If we do nothing, we might.
One might wake up some morning and realize, hey somebody else got killed and they died because we had failed to act.
You know we'd have to go through the rest of our lives with the blood of an innocent person on our hands.
I mean, that's unthinkable.
Linda is a professor who teaches courses in ethics.
I'm working with young kids and trying to be a good role model and and talk to them.
You know about the the dangers of risky behavior and violence and.
The other, of course, the other horn of this dilemma is the realization.
If we turn Ted in, if he is the Unabomber, there's a fair likelihood, maybe even a high likelihood that at some point he's going to be executed.
You know, I thought about, you know, the impact on Ted, obviously.
At one point when he was out there in the wilderness and before I told him about Linda, he had written to me and said, David, I want you to know, and this was uncharacteristic for Ted.
He was not a very emotional.
Or at least expressive person, he said.
I want you to know that if something ever happens to me, you're the only person I've ever loved.
So what would it be like for this paranoid guy with one friend in the world, his little brother to be turned in by his little brother?
It would be like to be the elimination of hope from his universe.
I thought of the guilt I would carry if my brother actually got executed.
But you know more than Ted and me.
Guess who I thought about?
I thought about mom at this point. She was a 79 year old widow. She'd worried for years and years and years about her elder son.
Believe me, Mom's worst nightmare about what could be wrong with Ted didn't come close. You know, to the suspicion we were struggling with. Maybe he is a serial murderer.
I'm thinking wow man, if Mom gets wind.
Of this, if.
This, you know, comes to something.
I mean, she can't survive.
She won't sleep.
Her happiness will end.
She'll probably have a heart attack or a stroke.
I could lose my brother to the legal system.
I could lose my mother, you know, to the stress of all of this.
It was like the end of.
As a family.
Talk about double binds, right?
I mean it's like wow.
I remember, you know, as Linda and I were struggling with the suspicion of, you know like this question of what do we?
Do with this.
You know we got to the end of that first day and I I think I was just so.
I think both of us were just exhausted.
It was like we were chasing our tails, so it's like we couldn't work our way quite out of or through this dilemma.
And as we're lying there in bed bed, and I kind of with everything unresolved, we kind of hoped.
Well, maybe we'll we'll sleep on this.
Maybe, maybe in the morning we'll make up wake up with clearer minds.
We'll be able to take another approach at it.
And as I'm lying there, another sort of question dawns in my mind, and the question is, who is my brother like?
I thought I knew who he was.
I mean, I.
I puzzled by his behavior, but.
Is he evil?
Did I grow up with evil and my own family?
How could I not see that?
You know, how can I?
Be blinded to it.
And I began sort of talking out loud, thinking out loud to Linda, sharing with her some memories from my life and childhood.
And I was trying again searching for this question. Who is my brother and I told her this one story that had a very powerful effect on her. I told her that when I was I think it was about 2 1/2.
Old our family moved from this inner city apartment in Chicago out to a home in the suburbs.
It was our first single family home.
It was the first time I had a backyard that I could play around in as a little kid and I remember I used to with delight, push my way out through the screen door we had in the back and play around in the in the backyard and talk.
With other kids, meet other kids and I was having a ball.
The only frustration during that time was that I was so short at the age of three that I couldn't quite reach the doorknob to the screen door to open the back door and let myself back inside the house.
So it became a kind of daily ritual where I would stand in the back patio and say mom dad Ted, let me in and sooner or later one of them would come until one day after you know a.
Few weeks of this.
I remember I saw Teddy fiddling with something at the back door.
I remember walking up there thinking what steady
Doing and I saw he had taken the spool of thread from Mom sewing kit and he removed this so he has his bear school.
He'd taken the thread off and he had a hammer and nail from Dad toolkit and he put the spool onto the wooden screen door.
He put the nail in the hole and he hammered it down there.
And when he was done.
He said Dave see if this works.
And all of a sudden, I realized what he'd done.
He'd made this little makeshift door handle for me, so he's always a very ingenious person.
I mean, at the time I took it for granted, Ted's big, he's smart, he does nice.
Things for me, that's that's just the way he is.
But here it is like 42 years later I'm struggling with this awful suspicion. Is my brother a serial murderer?
What should I do about it?
And whoa, this memory floats up, you know from.
42 years ago.
And as I'm sharing it with Linda as we are lying in bed, there I hear this little sound and I kind of look over at the Linda's head on the pillow next to mine.
And there's just enough light coming through the shades so that I could see that her face is just flooded with tears.
And pretty soon she's sobbing and we're hugging each other, trying to comfort.
Each other, it's like suddenly it meant so much to me that you know Linda was not just giving me an argument why it could be Ted, but you know the immensity of this tragedy, not only for our family, but for all the families affected, had gone down for.
And somehow, mysteriously, the next day when we woke up, we knew we had to take action.
I have this question for you.
You know there's the decision and I won't talk too much about it to go to law enforcement.
But but let me ask you this question, as professionals, it's a question we asked ourselves.
Should we tell Mom what's going on?
You know, I thought in some sense, well, you know she has deserves to know, right?
I mean she's if you talk about a stakeholder, she's a stakeholder.
Number one may be here after Ted, but what would you do or what would you advise somebody to do in this situation?
I don't know if there's a right or wrong, but I'm actually interested in your.
Advice or thoughts on it?
Really tell you.
What to do?
But our goal as psychiatrists.
Is to say.
What are the risks?
What are the benefits?
And you'll have to be a little decision on that.
Nice strategy for evading the question, so let me ask you if you were.
In my shoes, what would you do?
Well, I can tell you based on my own experience I.
Told my mother.
I was divorced and she had a stroke.
Which you have different levels still.
So I have the version telling parents such thing.
Any other thoughts, yes.
Or you could let the police investigate that they found.
Out it was nothing.
You know you wouldn't.
Have any reason to leave?
Upsetting your mother.
Right, she would never have to know, perhaps.
I suppose in terms of risks though.
The thing that would be on my mind.
Is if this words?
That pan out into something substantial who?
Would she find out?
About who she find out about it from.
And when and one?
Idea might be that it may be easier for her to have that.
Come from you first.
And you know on views or however else you.
Might have thought.
Good point if she's going to hear this terrible difficult message better from me than from the news media or someone in law enforcement, I would think.
Not directly applied to this particular situation, but have a guidance or law tarasoff law that we operate.
Then if if he were to get angry at his own family, you know mother, he could have done some harm to them so.
It's like how is it right?
I know this information that it is my obligation to protect everybody form everybody that you that you are engaged or somebody out there and.
What if so you're suggesting?
What if Ted sent one of these bombs to mom, shouldn't she?
At least we have to take precautions.
Wouldn't this have a precautionary value to tell her?
Interesting yes yeah. I'm a mother and even if I was 79 years old I would want to be able to support my son no matter what he did.
So I think.
She had that right to know.
So that she could make a choice on what she.
Wants to do with that.
Yeah, if we're really respecting people choices, don't they need the information?
They need to make those choices, so is it?
Are there limitations to that guiding principle?
Maybe so, but I could certainly hear your point, yes.
I think at this stage you know you are.
He also said, not sure.
I think Mr subjecting her until you have a little bit more complicated information and things like that may be better to.
Do what we.
Need to do and when you are food then maybe.
Try to make the texture and.
Tell her in a sort of before she hears from somebody else.
Right, I'm thinking 5050, you know, 5050 is a large possibility that you know Mom would.
Have enormous stress without any need to have the enormous stress.
And also you have.
To take into consideration about alcohol.
Yeah, she she hadn't been in very good health.
Yeah, yes Sir.
It's a very.
Stressful psychological conflict to you.
I guess if you tell your mom.
During the test you are telling the truth.
And probably there could be some selfish motive to.
You will be.
Relieved of this conflict, maybe it is therapeutically.
I did get the truth.
So there is no conflict.
So the principle is if you always tell the truth, then in some sense it's the universes.
Sort of things.
You don't know whether or not to care.
So by telling the truth is good.
At the same time, the conflict is developing, right?
Is not getting along.
I sort of think there.
Would still be a lot of internal conflict no matter what dealing with the consequences of telling the truth.
'cause then the question would be what's mom's opinion about turning Ted in? How do I?
Deal with that.
Lots of things.
I don't know if there's any way.
Out of the conflicts.
So there is no way out of the conflict.
But it's not just you funkis and so you tell it.
It's a wonderful story.
The way you tell it and.
But it's not just about her intent.
It's about you and her.
Talk about being home for one month.
And and that that kind of should get lost in worrying about.
Telling what your suspicions are as opposed to you're in this horrible situation and having this feeling that you need to do something and she is your mother.
Not just that.
So you think I need her in her role as mother to make to help sort of shoulder this burden?
To to be a mother.
But but there's also this dimension of like if I don't tell her to.
How does that affect our future relationship?
If I've taken actions that she has a deep interest in without her knowledge or consent, how does that affect our relationship going forward?
I I guess I would have a third person.
Coming who's absolutely sure that that's what the situation and.
Have them come and talk.
To you or the family you you already.
Knowing what's going on.
Because then it's.
Not coming from you.
And he's not going to be looking at you.
As the person who.
The one thing that made it very difficult to go to a third person is that this is the Unabomber.
There's like $1,000,000 reward. It's like this is beyond like a family counseling situation. It's like, yeah, yeah.
In that trial.
You're damned if you do, and you're damned.
If you don't, any arena that you look at.
You can't ship her.
Out to Hawaii on an island you know you can't do that.
She's going to find out, you know and.
Unless unless they investigate and find out Ted's innocent, maybe she never has to know anything.
It is going to be stressed no matter what, and I just think if there's a third.
Party that it can do it well.
Can come in and sit down and.
Talk with the family.
With the thought in.
Mind that this is a really bad thing.
That had the problem then.
It's really helpful for me to hear all this and to get through this story.
We probably should cut it short.
You know this particular discussion short right now, but you could see how complex it is for families, and I think the point it's not just between her and Ted.
It's between me and mom and how how all these family dynamics take.
Take place in the the incredible sort of stress for everyone involved.
I didn't tell Mom at that point and I don't know if it was the right thing to do some time later.
Actually way down the line, she had a moment.
I think she'd spent a lot of time trying to protect me later on, but she had a moment where she said, David, I wish you'd told me.
Maybe I couldn't bear to tell her.
Maybe I had to postpone that moment until it was absolutely necessary.
Maybe it was truly my love for my mother.
I couldn't bear to inflict this this burden on her unless I really the time came.
Maybe I worried about her ability to handle it.
I think in many ways I sure.
I I didn't give my mother the credit.
It turned out she deserved at many points in this story.
Anyway, we went to the FBI.
I remember, yes.
So if we did, I would.
Start your mind.
If she said no.
Work with you with responsibility.
It would have certainly made complicated the decision making if she said no.
You may know about going to the.
Cross your mind at that time.
What did she said now?
Yeah, it certainly crossed my mind.
I don't know if I played out all the consequences of that, but it would have made it much more complicated.
You know, in some sense as Linda.
And I were.
We're sitting there and I'm very proud and talk about the family dynamics here.
Very proud of our relationship.
We made a pledge to each other that we would act together and really try to do the right thing and we'd really talk it out.
And it wasn't just a process.
It could be done within a couple of days.
You know it's very interesting.
We always think of conscience or actions, sort of located in a sole decision maker, particularly in our sort of individualistic culture.
I think the truth of the matter is that you know this was not my decision.
It was a family decision.
It was a joint decision made by two people who had loved each other.
For a long, long time and the media, with its brother, narrative and all of that stuff, they cut Linda out completely.
It was like she didn't even exist when she.
Was absolutely key.
To this and I I would make the further point that some of the most important decisions we made are actually made in the context of relationship.
Either within a family setting or a clinical team setting, or as a whole culture that really relationship and the integrity of relationship is a key to having an authentic process.
I remember when Linda and I were in high school high school.
This was like how many years 20 some years earlier there had been the story of this woman in New York City who had been murdered by the name of Kitty Genovese.
And there was a whole media signal about bystander behavior because.
While she was assaulted over a period of 30 minutes, it turned out that there were something like 29 or 30 witnesses who saw the entire assault and who never called the police.
And you know some of those witnesses had said things like, well, I thought they knew each other like that would make a difference.
Some some of the witnesses said, well, I didn't want to get involved, and in some sense that became the national headline.
And as Linda and I compared our story to that story, we realized, you know, any one of those 29 witnesses could have said let somebody else do it.
Maybe that was their excuse.
Well, well, there was nobody else.
There was nobody who knew Ted well enough to actually take action here.
When we finally did go to the authorities, they were skeptical at first they weren't jumping up and down and blowing whistles.
You know they invited us to a meeting in Washington DC, 2 weeks after our first contact, we had two full days and I think by the end of those two days they had bought, brought in someone with some like serious sort of profiling.
Experience who really began to?
With what we were saying and on the second day, I remember they had one of the agents come back into the room with this rural map of Montana.
Like a topographic very detailed map of the part of the county where Ted lived and he said David, could you show me where your brother's cabin is and believe me at this point there's no turning.
In fact, the die was cast.
Our decision had been made, but I can't tell you how painful it was to go to that map and put my finger down and realize I could be in effect sending my brother to his death.
A few weeks later, actually, they investigated for a couple of.
Months we were.
Often on the phone with them, I still hadn't told Mom.
When I got a call from one of the agents who said David, I'm really sorry to have to tell you this.
We're at a point in the investigation where we.
Your brothers moved to the top of our suspect list and we really feel like we need to talk with your mother.
So do you think you could go to her, tell her what's going on, and perhaps persuade her?
To meet with us.
Linda and I decided it would be better if I did that.
Not that she not be part of it.
Heard enough sort of mother-in-law thematics to think, you know we didn't want to create a lightning rod toward Linda.
You know if Mom was going to get really angry at someone, let it have to be me.
So I remember I went to her apartment.
She lived at that point about 3 miles from us and knocked on her door and Mom opens her door and takes one look at me and says David, you looked terrible and something happened.
And I said, Mom, I think you better sit down.
Probably the years of worry or you know, a mother's intuition. She just says, Oh my God, did something happen to Ted?
Is he alive?
And I said Mom as far as I know.
Ted is in good health, but there's something really difficult.
I have to tell you, it's going to take a little while to explain.
Let's go in and sit down and I'll try to explain it to you.
Mom sat down in her lazy boy chair and I'm really too agitated to sit down.
I'm kind of pacing the room back and forth and trying to think.
Is there some way I can deliver this news that doesn't cause her to?
Have a stroke that doesn't crush her and.
You know, I started sort of trying to say, well, Mom, have you heard of the Unabomber?
And of course everybody had heard of the Unabomber and?
I pointed out the Unabomber had lived in certain places, and then I you know that the Ted had lived in some of these same places and and you know, there was really no protecting her.
At some point the light bulb.
Illumination and Mom is a very bright woman and you know, within a few minutes she's just looking at me with this look of horror.
On her face.
And I can't believe what she's hearing and not saying a word.
And at that point, I really felt like the intensity of a kind of crisis, because I knew that my mom loved me.
I knew that she loved Ted.
With all her heart, I had no idea how a mother would reconcile the idea that her son is a suspect.
The other son has turned him in.
The outcome could be serious, even up to an execution.
I wasn't sure that mom would still love me after I told her what I'd done.
Remember, she said never abandoned your brother.
Well, I wasn't just abandoning him, I was handing him over to, you know, an institution that could kill him.
It might be a betrayal that she could never forgive.
She'd always known her son needed protection.
He was fragile.
He was different at at any rate, at some point I just realized I had to kind of lay out all the cards.
I was crying a little bit, you know, obviously very upset and when I got down and I said.
Mom, I've actually.
I've actually taken these suspicions.
I've shared them.
With the FBI, and they're now investigating Ted to see whether he might be responsible.
I'll never forget what Mom did next.
She's a tiny little woman.
Under 5 feet tall, so she's more than a foot taller than me, but without saying a word she just got out of her chair.
She walked up to me.
She just reached her arms up around my neck and pulled me down.
It's a familiar gesture.
Just so that she could reach my cheek and put a kiss on my cheek.
And the first thing she said.
David, I can't imagine what you've been struggling with.
I mean, this had to be the most awful, horrific moment of her life, and here she is concerned.
About my feelings and I.
Guess parents are sometimes like that.
And then the next thing she said was the most healing thing I could have.
Comforting thing I could have heard.
At least she said David, I know that you loved him.
I know that you wouldn't do this unless you truly felt that you had to.
I still marvel at Mom doing that and I think if she, if she'd acted very differently, if she'd like, yelled at me, she said, how could you if she threw me out?
If she even hit me, all of that would be fairly normal human behavior.
A reaction to a serious severe trauma.
You know, maybe it was those years of worry that had prepared mom in some way.
The nightmares or water for the worst when it finally came, but I still marvel at her.
You know her ability to be so so focused and so kind to me at that moment.
And of course it was.
Then I realized I hadn't lost mom love and now Linda mom and I, would, you know?
Walk this difficult.
You know Mom was about where I had been when Linda had told me, you know, it's like but David, you know he's never been violent, right?
I mean, Ted is so sensitive.
I mean is we worried about him 'cause he was too sensitive?
You know he loves animals.
I can't imagine him.
Doing something violent to hurt you, know strangers like this, it just doesn't make sense.
You see, they're going to investigate. They're going to find out Ted's completely innocent David. All this is going to go away like a bad dream.
So she's trying to comfort me, but at this point I.
Don't really have a lot of hope left.
And it's at this point I.
Have to tell her.
That the FBI would like to talk to her.
At at first she's kind of reluctant.
She says, well, you know, I don't know anything about this.
This is all new to me and I had to explain that the investigation involved a lot of psychological analysis.
And looking at the language of letters and of course, she had many letters from Ted and Ann.
I said, you know, you know they're looking at postmarks too.
Maybe a postmark had proved that Ted was in Montana when the Unabomber was someplace else?
That would be good, and she said, well, David, I trust your judgment.
You know whatever.
When did they want to talk to me and it was.
Then I had to tell her.
Mom, they're actually outside right now.
I want to talk to you now.
I think from the law enforcement folks, they didn't want her to contact a lawyer they didn't want to try to reach Ted.
Wanted to see.
If they could get in at a moment where they could have an honest conversation with her and they were very gentle, they were very professional.
You know you sometimes hear about police people in law enforcement.
Being very intimidating or using the third degree, that was not their approach and I think it was to their self-interest.
Mom, I know her well enough.
She would have tossed him out if they had, you know, tried to strong arm her and and at one point one of the agents said well Mrs Kuszynski do you have anything like letters, family photographs?
Anything that could help us?
Let's move this case forward.
The investigation for.
And at that point Mom sent me to her closet where she had this big old footlocker is where she had her treasures.
So on one side is the David side and the other side is Ted side.
And I remember dragging this thing out into the middle of the living room floor swinging, open the cover.
And here we're talking baby shoes.
Photograph, albums, letters.
Ted's papers, some of my trophies from Little League.
Many years later and so, here's mom down on her knees.
You know, handing up you know packages of letters and remember.
At one point she picked up this photograph album and opened it up and said, you know?
Look, we're good family, you know, look here we went camping a lot.
Ted caught his first fish here, you know they were really good kids.
You know as much.
Say, well, you know what happens when you put together a mom with family photographs.
You're going to get stories, but Mom stories had an agenda and the agenda was basically to say you're looking in the wrong place.
We'll do anything to help you, but you know you're not going to find the Unabomber, a serial killer in a family like ours, and then at one point she pulled up.
It's a little blue.
Book she held it up. Would you like to see this? This is Ted's baby book. It's a diary I kept during the first year of his life.
And of course, she's opening that book and showing to the nine month period he was in the hospital.
She's hedging their bets if, God forbid, teds done something horrible.
Well, it must be because of this hospital trauma.
And I just kind of lost it there.
I mean, Mom was so brave and advocating for.
Her son and showing I thought tremendous courage.
Ted was arrested about a week later.
Maybe it was ten days later.
I don't remember.
It was like sudden national news.
We didn't find out about it from the FBI.
Reporters started calling me at my job.
I called Linda at her work. I said, you know, I think something's going on. We better get to Scotia, to protect Mom.
And so we we wound up the three of us sitting.
She hadn't been watching television.
But then, pretty soon we're sitting on her couch watching the television screen.
And the story has broken.
You know, after 17 years and 16 bombs and three deaths at long last, the FBI has Russ arrested a suspect and his name.
Is Theodore J.
Kaczynski so you know what was this?
Scarcely whispered secret between me and Linda and then shared with the FBI.
And finally with Mom.
It was like the whole world.
There was like no way to take it back, and God forbid you're ever in that circumstance and you see that kind of a brand that your family, your good family name is suddenly equated with murder, violence, and madness.
The realization that it won't.
Be for the.
Rest of time it will trigger those kinds of thoughts in people.
It won't mean anything good to people.
And at some point they had a film clip of Ted being arrested and.
You know he looked absolutely awful at this point. He weighed 122 pounds. He had not bathed in many, many months.
His hair was long, his face was covered, kind of with soot from his wood burning stove.
He had this kind of gazed look as he's being LED along between.
Two federal marshals you know we've seen these kind of images before.
But his mom and I are looking, you know, our hearts are jumping out of our chest.
We, you know, we still love him no matter what he might have done.
And yet the rest of the world is looking at this same, not seeing a brother, not seeing a son, but seeing a monster.
The person who killed those people.
A little while later I heard like a lot of commotion outside my apartment was on the 2nd floor.
I remember looking out and it was like a dam had burst.
The media trucks are all rolling in and people are jumping out and you know, pointing cameras up at the window and I closed the drapes and thinking well I guess I was naive about the media.
But I was thinking why are they?
Here they would received a promise, a solemn promise that nobody would ever know, that we turned in our family member.
Now you guys know about confidentiality, I thought I thought the FBI would have a tremendous interest in preserving the anonymity of witnesses, you know?
Forget it, you know.
I think it was Dan rather, and this was painful, just the way it was expressed on the Evening News.
Saying, you know, we have an interesting sidelight to this story.
Apparently, Kaczynski was turned in by his own brother David.
Except he didn't say turned in, he said fingered by his own brother David.
You know almost like a you know.
A mafia term or something and.
We ended up having our House surrounded for.
Almost two weeks by media, you know this is so strange to to be sort of the focus of the world media interest and at the same time feel so isolated.
It was hard to see any horizon beyond this moment, to imagine that we could ever recover any kind of normalcy in our lives.
I guess the worst thing we found out, I suppose, was that there was no doubt that Ted was the person responsible and the most chilling piece of evidence they found in his cabin was another live bomb under his bed, apparently ready to be mailed to someone.
If there was any, you know, I guess at that point you know.
We we thank thank God that we had made the decision we've made, otherwise we'd have had to live with somebody else's death.
The trial had all this sort of stuff.
You know we went two years before the trial took place.
It was kind of two years of hell.
At one point I felt like I wanted to preserve what was left of our privacy, and then, you know, the lawyers basically said David.
If you want to save your brother's life, you've got to go out there. You've got to tell his story. You've got to let people know that.
He's mentally ill.
You've got it.
You've got to remind people that his family played a role in his arrest in stopping the violence, and so even mom who was most reluctant there.
She was with 60 minutes and Mike Wallace answering these difficult questions again, bravely advocating for her son.
And of course all this stuff in there.
Is he crazy?
Is he bad, mad or bad matter badge?
You know, it's like we conflate the two.
We don't know how to separate the two.
Maybe we don't authentically know how to separate the two, but you know to have the notion of.
Punishment, particularly capital punishment, Trump any sort of the human considerations.
Of of causality here was was very disturbing to me.
When did you meet your brother?
Yeah, you know we.
He certainly found out pretty quickly.
I heard a story from one of the lawyers that my brother was very surprised to have been caught like this was within the second day after his arrest and he said.
To the lawyer, how did they ever catch me?
And the lawyers said, well, didn't you know your brother turned you in and this was heart rending for me to hear?
He said Oh no, David would never do that.
David loves me and they had like a discussion back and forth.
'cause you know Ted was always very sure of himself and the attorney actually went out and got a copy of the New York Times and showed it to him and.
And at that point you know, he's.
I guess he felt deeply betrayed.
Mom and I had rented an apartment in Sacramento, CA.
For the duration of the trial, we thought it would be a long trial that ended up being very short.
Ted actually asked the judge on the first day of the trial for permission to fire his attorneys, and the reason was this.
You could say it was stigma.
It was his delusion.
Some combination of the two.
But for Ted, it was a fate worse than death to be described as he put it as a lunatic in open court.
As you know, many people with schizophrenia do not know.
That they're ill.
Uhm, Ted was deeply invested in whatever sort of thought processes were involved in.
In his in his actions.
He actually made an attempt and this was one of the most probably the worst moment of my life was when at one point, some of the paralegals on the case dropped by our apartment and sat us down and very gently told us that Ted had tried to kill himself in his prison cell.
Well, he said he could not endure a trial.
In which he would be described as crazy.
And so here we are, our only hope is that maybe we could save his.
Life and the only hope you know at this point, that was the one thing Ted didn't want.
His only way out of this was to kill himself.
There was a lot of media pressure, we think of our courts having this sort of like this purely well.
There were influenced by lots of thematics that go on outside.
There were a lot of editorials and newspapers saying the man has a diagnosis of schizophrenia was turned in by his family.
Remember this is a case if any deserves mercy.
And in the end, the Justice Department did offer a plea bargain.
For life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, Ted took it not to save his life, but to avoid the trial, which he said he couldn't endure, and for us it was almost like this incredible sense of.
Relief, no joy, but sense of relief that we weren't going to have to go through this process for years and years and years, leading perhaps to an execution at some point.
But on that day when mom and I had.
Learned in court that Ted had accepted the plea bargain, that it was over.
We were just kind of sitting there quietly in the apartment when the telephone rang in the evening and it turned out there was a chaplain.
She identified herself as someone who worked with law enforcement in Sacramento, CA, where the trial took place and she said she was calling because a family of somebody who had been.
Killed by my brother.
Was very interested in meeting with us.
Actually, again I'm here again.
I'm trying to protect Mom, not really giving.
Her the credit.
For the strength and courage she had.
I think I said mom, you know, they've just learned this day that they're you know that Ed, who killed their loved one is probably going to die in natural and death in prison.
It could be very, very angry.
I think, you know.
I'll go I I need to go and if they're asking to meet with us, but I think you should stay home.
I I don't think you should have to deal with this and mom said, oh David, how could I say no if they want to meet me, huh?
Did I say no?
I also think she probably wanted to sort of support me as well.
At any rate, the chaplain came and picked us up, drove us back to the federal courthouse building.
At this point, it's.
You know, during the day it was like a live abuzz with media now.
It's a very quiet.
Building she takes us up in an elevator, walks us down a hallway and his mom.
She ushers mom and me into this room and we walk in there and we see that there are five chairs in the middle of the room arranged in a circle.
Two of them are empty.
Obviously waiting for Mom and me to sit down, but the other three chairs had.
The widow of a man my brother had killed with a bomb.
And her late husband sister.
So as mom and I walk in, there's really only one thing we could be saying.
Which is, we're sorry.
We're so sorry I saw Mom crying a little bit and.
I have to say, even to us those words were so sorry, sounded hollow, I guess because they were just words you know they couldn't undo any of the harm.
That our family member had done, and as we sat down, I was almost kind of bracing myself for the blast of anger that I expect.
And then the widow spoke.
She explained that why she had invited us there and she said.
We discussed this between ourselves during the trial.
Not everybody in our family wants to be here, but we decided that if there was ever an opportunity, we wanted to thank you in person for what you did.
Turning in your brother your son, she said she couldn't imagine anything more painful and I'm thinking I can't imagine anything more painful than you know, losing your loved one to a maniac spam and it was just seemed like so incredibly gracious after all she'd been through.
And here is this family.
And we all were crying pretty quickly.
You know we stood up.
We hugged each other.
I was in therapy.
I needed to be in therapy and it was.
It did me good stead and we had many friends and family members who surrounded us to support us but no encounter, no interaction I had with any human being was as meaningful to me as this opportunity to meet the victims family.
You know, I guess for me it it gave me a little bit of promise that in this sort of torn world, wounded by violence, shattered by violence.
Maybe there was some opportunity for healing.
I mean, maybe there was a future in which.
You know the the damage could be healed and.
Mom, I think probably made a mistake she.
But I think you know it's it's.
It's clear we forgive her because she is.
She's a mother.
There was one thing she wanted the family to know and that was that her son was not an evil human being.
Her son was.
Very very sick.
She wanted them to understand that he wasn't a monster.
So she began talking about mental illness.
She began talking about schizophrenia.
Mom had read a lot of books she'd educated herself.
She's talking about some of this.
She talked a little bit about the hospital trauma.
She talked about, you know what it was like as a mother to lose her son into these shadows and never be able to get him back.
And as I happen to be looking into the faces of the victims while Mom is talking about mental illness, I realize they don't like what they're hearing.
You know Mom was trying to tell them one thing.
What they were hearing was somebody making excuses for the man who had murdered their loved one.
I almost wished I could, you know somehow?
Quietly tell Mom to change the subject you know, and then clearly mom, I think crossed the line, she said.
You know, it really really wasn't my son.
We should be blaming.
It's his illness.
And at that moment, the widow just blurted out I don't think she could contain herself.
She said he knew what he was doing.
And all of a sudden it was like the room was frozen in silence.
It was like, you know, we felt so close to this family, but now with Ted in the mix, the Grand Canyon is between us and it's like, wow, we can see these distant figures.
But Wow, we're on almost different planets and I was wishing there just be some way to leave the room gracefully so that.
You know we took the good and left the bad back there left the hostility back there.
Anyway, when the widow said that mom I saw her kind of visibly hunched over scrunch up like she's a small woman anyway, but.
Lower her head and she said, I think what was clearly instinctively on her heart.
She said I really wish he had killed me instead of your husband.
I think that's the truth.
She would have gladly laid down her life to undo any of the harm Ted had done.
But his mom said that I happened to be looking in the window space and.
It changed like the the hardness that had been there, softened and then pretty soon her eyes started to well, well up with tears.
She's a mother too.
She had three sons, you know, and and she got kind of thoughtful.
I saw her very slowly.
Get that out of her chair.
She knelt down on the ground right in front of mom and put her hand up on Mom shoulders.
Looked up in her face and she said Mrs Kozinski.
You don't deserve any of this.
None of this is your fault.
Don't ever think for a moment this is your fault.
We don't blame you.
To me it was a very powerful moment, you know, with all the attention and then to see it sort of trumped by this sort of grace and compassion suggested to me.
Like with so many conflicts in life, there's there's a better way.
There's a way we can get beyond it, and it usually does involve.
Compassion and understanding and really understanding that we all hurt the same.
We all bleed the same.
We all love people.
We all lose people.
And and for much of the advocacy and or work I've done since, it's been very important for me not to pit one side against another.
You know that's not the answer.
The answer is sort of collaboration and and trying to.
Work thoughtfully and with our hearts to found a better way forward.
And most people have this like the good heart that surprisingly on that that occasion this woman was able to show.
This is sort of a poignant moment for me.
Mom lived to be 94. She passed away three weeks ago.
You know, and there's sad parts.
I called the prison.
Ted had no contact with the family over that time and I just thought maybe maybe he wants this last chance.
And please don't don't let this leave the room necessarily.
I don't want people to resent Ted, and I don't think you would, but I called the prison, spoke to the person designated his counselor.
She thought she could easily get him on the phone and then ended up having to call me back and he said that, you know, she said that he had decided not.
He doesn't want to speak to him under any circumstances.
I think one way to think of this.
You know, Ted really is in two prisons.
One is very obvious.
It's the physical prison, but but the more dire prison, the more painful prison really is.
This prison of mental illness?
Uhm, I don't.
I don't blame him.
Mom didn't blame him for his treatment of us.
But it's a profound puzzle.
You know how?
How can this happen?
I know I understand the diagnosis.
I can see the pieces I've talked to psychiatrists who say it's a classic case and yet there for me.
There's this unanswered question.
What happened to Ted, you know?
I really don't know.
I guess the thing I would invite you to do really, you know when you see family members come and you see them upset.
And I'm sure often they're upset they're under a lot of stress.
They're probably feeling somewhat guilty, like they couldn't help their son or daughter.
And maybe they're partly responsible on one level or another.
What do we do?
Sometimes we try to what?
What is it displaced?
Blame is that I don't know if displacement as well the technical.
Term is but you know you guys are set up to be targets of hostility from some of these families 'cause they don't want to be to blame.
Well, it must be the hospital.
It must be the institution.
It must be the doc.
I think just it's so important to understand where we're coming from.
We're coming from a place of really serious human hurt and trauma, and the folks wouldn't be showing up if they didn't feel on some level.
A deep human connection with their loved one, no matter what that loved one, might have done.
Probably many of them are here for having heard family members.
I'm just guessing.
So it's all extremely extremely complicated.
We do know now, as I say.
Said before from research, there is very strong body of research that says family interactions as complicated as even disruptive as they may seem and not in general and in the longer range.
Our part of the treatment and when people leave.
Often family, maybe an important part of their support system, a support system.
They're going to need when they get out, so.
Thank you for listening to my story.
I think it's you know, I don't know.
I don't know if it's all that helpful for you, it's it's certainly helpful to me to be able to tell the story to hope that it has some meaning.
You know the worst thing is that it's all just sort of meaningless and people died and Ted was lost and Mom died.
Broken hearted but.
You know, if we can create a sense of a mission about helping people and understanding the role of family and that helped, that would make it.
Somewhat easier to endure.
2nd isau Ted only at the trial he had actually asked, insisted that to his lawyers that the family not be allowed.
The lawyers actually wanted us there, but they also told Ted what was true, that we had a right to be there.
So the only time I saw him after his arrest, he came in from a door behind the judges bench and he was almost walking down the aisle almost straight toward mom and me where we were sitting.
But it was like he his eyes were veiled.
He didn't see anything.
He he kind of turned mechanically and sat down.
It was as if he wanted us.
I'm sure he must have seen us, but he didn't want to acknowledge us.
And good feeling.
But running home.
I don't know, you know.
I've lived long enough to feel like I'm not sure I know myself that well, like I think the things I.
Don't quite I discover things about myself from time to time.
I don't think I feel guilty.
I feel a tremendous sense of sadness of my brother.
Promise that was lost.
A lot of our work.
Against the death penalty has involved reaching out to murder victim family members, whether they're with us or against us to try to show this this.
Isn't about you know the offender.
It's really about all of us that the death penalty isn't a good answer, and so I've really been sensitized over the years to the victims experience as well.
And I'm just very, very thankful there were no more victims.
Well, I have a question that when your brother left.
University of California at Berkeley.
Going over the course of years, was he financially supported?
You know at one point he wrote to me great deal of pride and said this is in the 70s.
But still, it's amazing that he had kept accounts for an entire year and been able to live on an average of $0.12 a day.
So you know he brought bought he and I both bought the property kind of outright, and it was fairly cheap back then.
He he had a garden he haunted.
He knew wild foods in the forest.
He was extraordinarily disciplined.
It was amazing that he was able to do this, but at some point, whatever his savings ran out and now.
I mean they just sent.
Actually both of us. Every birthday, every Christmas they'd send us $500.00. That was like I Brooklyn and for Ted, Ted was able to save money and $1000 a year.
Was the way he lived.
They tried to Beijing after he was arrested.
If they tried to treat him.
Did you try to treat?
Him or was he treated at all?
Uhm, I don't know.
In fact, when she was alive, Mom tried to call, he's in the federal maximum security prison in Florence, Co.
Now what we're told is that treatments are available in that institution.
It's not an institution like this one.
It's not designed as a treatment setting.
I wish we were in a place like this, I.
Think in a better world.
He would have some like really.
Committed skillful counselor Doctor Who would try to work around whatever that delusional structure is to see if he could get him to try something.
Or, or, you know.
I have no idea if Ted is so resistant.
It's hard for me to even imagine him ever popping the pill into his mouth because that was, you know, that was his fear.
People are trying to take away from me my my clear insight about the dangers of technology.
But they always told my mom that they couldn't share any information, that Ted as a federal person had a right to privacy, that he wasn't signing any releases, particularly not for his family and so they couldn't tell.
At one point actually, mom, you know she can be pretty persistent, still using the present tense I guess, but she could be pretty persistent and she asked; well can I talk to your supervisor? Can I talk to your supervisor? Actually got up to the warden of that federal ADX prison and she kind of played her trump card at one point.
She said; “sir do you have children?”
And he said; “yes ma'am I do.”
And she says; “you love them no matter what happens in life, do you believe that?”
He says; “yes ma'am I do believe that.”
And she said; “look, I send my son letters, I’ve sent him some books for presents, I never hear anything back, can you at least tell me if he's receiving those letters and books?”
And I think it was a little chink in the bureaucratic armor, probably he shouldn't have even said this, but he said; “well ma'am I can tell you this, I happened to be walking by your son’s cell the other day, he looked to be in good health, and he was reading the book that you just mentioned.”
And for mom, you know everything is relative, but the idea that he would accept a gift from her and that you know she could do something, however little it might be to lighten his load, meant a great deal, I mean she was like walking on air for a little while.
But, basically the rules are, if the inmate in this case doesn't want contact or information given to his family, none is given.
[Hard to hear question about the Harvard psych experiment:] Hey, this is something I read In a book I mean opens. Instantiate it like. There was. I guess there's a report that your brother was involved in that as this one of the subject or the psychological psychological experiment playing the Harvard. And I don't remember. The telephone involves a lot of stress at the mediation and I was just wondering if the result that true, and if so, what's your opinion on. What am I like stuck on my? IPad on hand with this phone ability.
Yeah, it's it's really interesting in the you know, the aftermath of the Cold War.
There was a lot of thought that you know the.
I think it was especially there was a movie The Manchurian candidate, and I think we ever thought that prisoners of war in Korea had come back and maybe had.
Some mind control stuff done on so we were trying to catch up on our side so the CIA actually had at one point hundreds of you know professors in colleges receiving salaries from the CIA without any public acknowledgement of that.
The records of that whole period, I think there was a particular program called MK Ultra that included involved experiments on unwitting human subjects somewhere in prison somewhere in mental institutions somewhere in elite universities like Harvard, we don't know for sure if Henry Murray.
You probably recognize the name.
His study of alienated young men at Harvard was in an MK ultra program. We're not 100% sure, but there's a good possibility that it was.
Murray had worked with the OSS during World War Two, debriefing prisoners of war, and trying to figure out which Nazis we wanted.
On our side and which we didn't.
I guess maybe that's a flip way to put it, but the end result that the experiments that were performed, including the one on my brother, whether it was CIA funded or not was were unethical by today's standards.
There was no informed consent and there was clear.
Potential for harm.
It involved actually taking bright young men and attacking their values and philosophy of life through tactics that were not just intellectual debate but personal humiliation and so forth and years later, Ted.
Lawyers said, why did you even he was in this study for three years?
Why didn't you quit and so Ted?
His answer was well, I wanted to prove that they couldn't break me, that I could take it.
So I again I, I think we're you know, I don't always tell that story because I don't, you know, I don't think.
My message really is like who can we blame for this, you know was it the hospital, was it this? Was it some family dynamics? Was it genetics? I don't know.
I think it's a very complex mix that we don't completely understand, but if you look at the shape that's heads.
Delusions took it could well be that those experiments at Harvard sort of shapes what that delusion would ultimately look like among the people he attacked were psychologists.
Well thank you very much, I really appreciate the opportunity, thank you for the work that you do most importantly, it's just, for families like mine you can't believe how important and meaningful it is to us.