If you are regular reader of this blog you know that I am against the death penalty for a variety of reasons. I am a father of two children killed by a three time drunk driver so I am no stranger to violent tragedy.
The Psychiatric News had an interesting article in the March 7, 2007 issue entitled "Those Most Affected Help Analysts Mull Death Penalty" which reports on a meeting of the New York branch of the American Psychoanalytic Association where two brothers, one of a killer and one of a man killed, discuss their thoughts and feelings about the death penalty. Here is a brief snippet from the article:
At the latest death-penalty session, which was part of the winter meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City, the brother of a murderer and the brother of a murder victim presented their views on the death penalty.
One was David Kaczynski, the brother of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski (see Terrible Dilemma: To Tell or Not to Tell?). The other was Alan Pottinger, whose brother was killed in a pub shooting in 1991 by a man named Edward White. White had been serving a 25- to 50-year sentence for a 1989 murder when he escaped. After that, he entered the pub where Pottinger's brother worked as a bartender. White demanded money from everyone in the pub. Pottinger's brother attempted to intervene. White shot him, killing him.
While Kaczynski's and Pottinger's experiences differed sharply in many ways, they resembled each other in one: each man was tempted to seek revenge for the psychological anguish he was experiencing—Kaczynski against the prosecutor who wanted the death penalty for his brother, Ted, and Pottinger against the man who had murdered his brother. Pottinger's desire for revenge was fueled even more by comments from friends and acquaintances, such as "You ought to kill that sonofabitch."
To understand the death penalty issue from a personal level, I recommend this brief article. To read the whole article, click on the link below.