Category: Mass Murders
Location: United States
Date: 1978 - 1995
Crime: Kaczynski, known as the 'Unabomber', is a convicted domestic terrorist who carried out a bombing campaign through the U.S. Mail to promote his political beliefs. He killed 3 people and wounded 23 others between 1978 and 1995.
Biography: This intellectual child prodigy, was born on May 22, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. In the fifth grade, he scored a 167 on an I.Q. test, thereby being allowed to skip the sixth grade and go directly into the seventh grade. This proved to have a negative impact on his young, social development as he was subjected to frequent bullying at the hands of the older students that he was in class with. Once in high school, Kaczynski became obsessed with Mathematics and would lock himself in his room for hours at a time working on differential equations. This further stunted his growth socially and intellectually, because he was so far ahead of his classmates that acceptance was unrealistic. He found high school curriculum too basic and was advanced again, eventually graduating high school at the age of fifteen. He was accepted into Harvard at the age of sixteen and was soon scoring at the top of the class in the most advanced mathematics classes available. After Harvard, he earned his Ph.D in Mathematics at the University of Michigan and went on to become an assistant professor at Cal-Berkeley. He resigned abruptly after just two years, many citing that he was unable to relate to his students and became increasingly nervous during lectures. By 1973, Kaczynski had built and moved into a small cabin in the remote woods of Montana. His desire was to live a simple life, away from the world but it became apparent that his beloved wilderness was succumbing to the demands of modern development. During this time, he performed minor acts of vandalism to deter the developers, to no avail. Then one day, one of his most cherished locations in the forest was plowed under to make room for a road. Kaczynski cites this as the event that convinced him that he needed to take more aggressive approach to bring his views to the mainstream. His first bomb was mailed to a professor at the University of Northwestern. The professor was suspicious and had campus police open the package which detonated instantly causing minor injuries to those present. In 1979, he began targeting airlines with bombs sent to executives and one that made it into the cargo hold of a plane forcing the pilot to execute an emergency landing after smoke filled the cabin. If the detonation mechanism had worked properly, authorities state that there was enough explosives to 'obliterate the plane'. The FBI became involved at this point because the plane being targeted was considered a federal offense.
The first death occurred in 1985, when a computer store owner was targeted and killed by a nail bomb which exploded in his store parking lot. In all 16 bombs were attributed to Kaczynski with the last death occurring with the 1995 murder of the President of the California Forestry Association. He then mailed several letters which outlined his plan to continue the bombings unless a major newspaper printed his 35,000 word manifesto, titled 'Industrial Society and Its Future'. On September 19, 1995 it was printed in the New York Times and Washington Post.
Prior to this, Kaczynski's brother David, had suspicions that Ted could be the Unabomber. After reading the manifesto, David searched through old family documents and found several letters that Ted had written in the early 1970's which contained language and theories very similar to those in the manifesto. He then hired a private investigator to discreetly monitor Ted's activities and a lawyer was retained to act as a liaison between David and the FBI. On April 3, 1996, the FBI executed a search warrant at Kaczynski's remote cabin and brought him into custody without incident. Inside the cabin, investigators found a live bomb and an original, type-written copy of the manifesto. He is currently serving a life sentence without parole in a Colorado State Penitentiary.