Peace Corps and the Unabomber Insanity Plea

When I was in the Peace Corps, the FBI captured the Unabomber and he was facing a trial for his crimes. The Unabomber was responsible for killing three people with package bombs that he mailed or delivered himself over the course of 17 years. He could have faced the death penalty, so his attorneys argued that he was insane. Their specific reasoning for declaring him insane included that he lived alone in a cabin. Now, a cabin is not too far from a hut, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I was living away from “civilization.”

While this may not be how it happened exactly, it was how we saw it in Guinea. I didn’t think I was insane for joining the Peace Corps and living in a hut, but you can be judge. Get your copy of “My Life in the Peace Corps” today.

That was all that we heard about the Unabomber. He was captured and his attorneys entered an insanity plea. It was only after my service that I would learn the Unabomber argued against the plea and decided to plead guilty after striking a bargain to take the death penalty off the table. He wanted to defend his treatise, and he couldn’t do that if everyone thought he was crazy.

News at the time was hard to come by. In my small town, I had spotty access to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and VOA. I really only listened for the basketball scores. However, the idea that the Unabomber was insane because of where he chose to live was something that stayed with me in Guinea, West Africa.