Unabomber Essay, Research Paper
In Michael Ventura’s essay, “The Ties That Bind”, he explains the dilemma in which David Kaczynski (brother of Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber) faces. He can either: 1) betray his brother turning him in, 2) do nothing and let society down. Either way he is left feeling extreme guilt.
“To be David Kaczynski is to be faced with a moral dilemma both terrifying and unavoidable: Do you or do you not give up your brother? Either way, you live the rest of your life under the shadow of a guilt that no one but you can gauge or bear. If you rat on him, you will be part of the mechanism by which your brother may eventually be executed; if you don’t and he kills again, that blood will be on your hands. Either way, you, too, become a killer.”
If you were David Kaczynski, what would you do? Think about it your brother has wounded or maimed 23 people, killed 3 and has even threatened to blow up airplanes. Yet it’s your brother. Should you turn him in?
Personally, if I was in this predicament, I’d confront my brother first. I’d want to know why he’s been doing the things he’s been doing; why he’s been putting people’s lives at risk. Also, I’d want to make sure that it was him doing these things and that I’m not just mistaken. After all, having substantial evidence is necessary before jumping to conclusions. After talking to him, then I’d start weighing the consequences of both actions.
David Kaczynski ended up turning his brother in. Reportedly, David tried to save his brother by striking a deal with the FBI that he would only give his information if Ted didn’t get the death penalty, if convicted. But unfortunately, he failed in doing so. To me, this effort exhibited by David, attempting to strike a deal with the FBI, showed that he really cared for Ted and didn’t want to see him hurt.
Ventura explains it best. “We may believe David was justified, but this is different from believing he was right. There was no way for David to be entirely right. In this tragic situation, any choice he made was bound to be part wrong, bound to make him guilty, in his own eyes and ours. Not that we blame him. In a sense, he acted on our behalf. Still, we do not trust him. No one can wholly trust someone who turned in his own brother.”