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Should Brotherly Love Shield a Murderer?
Published on Saturday, December 14, 2002 by the Boulder Daily Camera
Should Brotherly Love Shield a Murderer?
by Christopher Brauchli

It's agony when you love someone, when you want what's best for them, you want to protect them, and yet you are afraid that they may be hurting other people. Certainly my interest from the beginning was to protect life.
David Kaczynski, commenting on his feelings about assisting with the apprehension of his brother.

Some have it; some don't. It's called class. Or perhaps it's morality. Or perhaps it's character. Or perhaps it's conscience. David has it. Billy has never heard the words.

David has led a modest life. He is not the president of any state senate nor does he aspire to hold elective office. David is not the president of any great university nor does he aspire to become one. He has led a successful life by his lights although Billy would probably consider him less than outstanding. He would not offer him a job at the university over which he presides, much less consider him for tenure.

David earned an English degree from Columbia University. He was employed, when he demonstrated what kind of stuff he was made of, as an assistant director for a program that provides shelter to youths in Schenectady, New York. He is a Buddhist, a committed environmentalist and strict vegetarian who doesn't eat eggs or dairy products. He was married to Linda Patrik in a Buddhist ceremony in the couple's backyard on July 14, 1990. He led a quiet, probably ordinary life until he made an extraordinary discovery.

In early 1996 David made a trip from New York to Chicago to help his mother clean out her house in preparation for moving to New York. While cleaning out drawers he made a discovery that reinforced vague concerns he had before undertaking the task. David's brother is Theodore Kaczynski. Although no one knew it at the time, Theodore was the man called the "Unabomber." Theodore was responsible for killing three people and severely injuring two others in a series of mail bomb attacks that began on Dec. 11, 1985, and ended on April 24, 1995.

On Sept. 19, 1995, The Washington Post and New York Times jointly published the Unabomber's 35,000-word manifesto titled "Industrial Society and Its Future" in return for the Unabomber's promise to stop his attacks. David read the manifesto. It troubled him because it was similar to ideas and thoughts Theodore had expressed in conversations the brothers had had and writings he had received from his brother. In going through his mother's house he came across other writings that added to his fears that his brother might be the Unabomber. Knowing of the evils wrought by the Unabomber he did what he knew he must do.

David contacted a lawyer-friend and through his friend contacted the FBI and agreed to meet with their agents. As a result Theodore Kaczynski was arrested, tried and is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. David received a $1-million reward for having turned in his brother. He paid $215,000 income taxes, $250,000 to the lawyer who helped him work with federal officials and gave the rest to a fund for the victims of crimes of paranoid schizophrenics like his brother. Book and movie royalties, if any, he will donate to victims of the bombing.

Like David, Billy had a bad apple in his family by the name of Whitey. Whitey is wanted in Massachusetts for 19 murders and additional racketeering charges. Whitey has eluded authorities since he fled in 1995 after someone warned him of a pending federal racketeering indictment. No one knows where he is except maybe Billy. And Billy won't say.

According to grand-jury testimony that was reported by the Boston Globe on Dec. 3, Billy said he had received a call from his brother shortly after he fled Boston in January 1995. According to the testimony that was leaked to the Globe, Billy said: "I do have an honest loyalty to my brother and I care about him. I don't feel an obligation to help everyone to catch him."

Billy is a very important man. He has very important friends. William F. Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, said that Billy is "a man of honesty, integrity, compassion, and strong character." He knows because he worked with Billy on Beacon Hill where Billy, whose full name is William Bulger, served as president of the Massachusetts Senate for 17 years.

From the Senate Billy entered the same field as David, working with young people. He became the president of the University of Massachusetts where he earns $309,000 and, in addition, is responsible for the education of young people. He leads by example. Here is the example he most recently set.

Subpoenaed to appear before the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, his attorney asked to have his appearance postponed or to let him testify in private. He was embarrassed to have to testify about what he knew in a public forum. In a separate action his attorney asked a federal judge to extend the immunity from prosecution Billy had when he appeared before the federal grand jury lest his testimony before the committee accidentally cause him to be charged with a crime. His requests were denied.

The good news is that Whitey is probably not murdering people anymore. The bad news is he's still at large. Billy won't do anything to help change that. His attorney explained why. William Bulger, said he, "has tried to do his best with a family matter that few of us would envy. . . . My client feels a brother's love, and he bears a brother's ache. He imagines a brotherly relationship where much would have been different but lives with what is." So did David.

Christopher Brauchli is a Boulder lawyer and and writes a weekly column for the Knight Ridder news service. He can be reached at

Copyright 2002, The Daily Camera


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