A Psychiatrist's Take on Brother Bombers
Eugene, writing in response to our “Running to Do Evil” podcast, about the brothers Tsarnaev and Kaczynski:
Speaking as a psychiatrist,
With your re-examination of the Kaczynski brothers, you captured my running hypothesis regarding the interpersonal dynamic of the two Boston Marathon bombers. It was like you read my mind by unarchiving that interview you did so long ago with Ted Kaczynski. Scary.
I’m sure you knew this as you’ve probably talked to many of my ilk during and after this interview done long ago. But the bizarre way Ted flips the tables on his sense of victimhood, as well as many other aspects of his interview, are pretty consistent with a textbook description of narcissistic personality disorder.
The best way I can describe this pathologic narcissism is if you can imagine a person’s perceived sense of self and identity as being a beautiful shiny but extremely brittle eggshell. When they glance in the mirror they see nothing wrong; however it doesn’t take much for that facade to crack and for the person to then aggressively find ways to protect what’s actually inside… as it could be rotted to varying degrees. They don’t want to see it, nor do they want others to see that bit of rot, that bit of darkness.
You’re definitely on to something by presenting this parallel between the sets of brothers. Its important of course, to make the distinction you clearly made at the end between the younger brothers’ behaviors, as they apparently went in completely different directions.
But regarding the brother in the most recent case:
A “true believer” of extremist ideology would not have given himself up in the boat.
A “true believer” of extremist ideology would not have cooperated as much as he’s done in this last week.
The distinctly separate pictures painted of the two brothers by their friends, family, and colleagues should be noted as well.