The Insanity Defense

American Voices ISSUE 33•02 Jan 21, 1998

Last week, the judge in the Unabomber trial ordered defendant Ted Kaczynski to undergo tests to assess his mental condition, sparking debate about the legitimacy of using insanity as a defense in criminal cases. What do you think?

  • “Mr. Kaczynski has always impressed me as an extremely stable and mentally balanced homicidal Luddite mail-bomber.”

    Donald Paciorek –
    Waiter

  • “I think the definition of insanity needs to be clarified. For example, what is the real distinction between 'bat-shit insane' and 'ape-shit insane'?”

    Faye English –
    Guidance Counselor

  • “We've got to start cracking down on America's utterly lucid murderers.”

    Rachel Bradley –
    Systems Analyst

  • “If Kaczynski wants to get acquitted by reason of insanity, all he has to do is something insane, like, oh, I don't know, like maybe blow people up with letter bombs for a couple of decades.”

    Kenny Porter –
    Civil Engineer

  • “I just got a great deal on a 27-inch TV down at Krazy Karl's Save-A-Tarium. Karl is obviously insane to offer such low prices, but that doesn't mean he's innocent of great bargains.”

    Stewart Mota –
    Architect

  • “Who is the man who is capable of judging another man? Judge Wapner, that's who.”

    Ronald Issel –
    Math Teacher

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