As you may know, “Per a Court Order…, the government has been ordered to conduct a ‘well-publicized’ Internet sale of [Theodore John] Kaczynski’s seized property to be sold to the general public in the effort to pay off a $15 million restitution order to the victims and their families. Unlike other sales, neither the U.S. Marshals Service nor GSA will receive any revenue from this sale. Please click here [PDF] for more details about the auctions.” The auction run from May 18 through June 2.
Ted’s brother David, who famously turned in his brother to the authorities, and is now the head of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (of which I have been a member), wrote a column in which he said:
Now, my brother lived in poverty. The value of his possessions derives almost entirely from public fascination with his crimes. They represent what is commonly called “murderabilia” – souvenirs culled from the careers of famous criminals.
In effect, our federal government is pandering to a sick market that treats high profile killers like celebrities and rock stars. What is wrong with this picture?
The goal of the auction is entirely worthy. If there is no other way to compensate the victims of the Unabomber, then let the auction go forward. I will look away…and I hope it raises a ton of money.
But couldn’t we, to the extent we really care about victims, find a better way?
Meanwhile, “Theodore Kaczynski …imprisoned for life, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants his DNA to determine if he was responsible for the 1982 Tylenol poisonings…CNN says Kaczynski filed a handwritten motion in federal court to stop the online auction of the items authorities seized from his Montana cabin when they arrested him in 1996 in which he agrees to give the DNA sample if they stop the auction.” The so-called Unabomber’s lawyer believes the government wants his client’s DNA to rule him out as a suspect for a crime that has never been solved.
What do you think of the auction? Is it restitution for crimes, ghoulish “murderabilia”, perhaps both? And what would one DO with a handwritten copy of the Unabomber manifesto? An article in The Atlantic suggests that the auction is not doing so well thus far because there’s no mystery over whether Ted Kaczinski actually was the guilty party.