THEODORE KACZYNSKI Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Theodore John Kaczynski (born May 22, 1942) is a Polish-American terrorist who attempted to fight against what he perceived as the evils of technological progress by engaging in an almost eighteen-year-long campaign of sending mail bombs to various people, killing three and wounding 29. Before his identity was known, the FBI referred to him as the UNABOM (from “university and airline bomber"). Variants of the codename appeared when the media started using the codename, including Unabomer, Unabomber, and Unibomber.


Early life, education and career


Born in Chicago, Ted Kaczynski was extremely gifted as a child and known to be extremely shy and aloof. While an infant, Kaczynski had a severe allergic reaction to medication. He was hospitalized for several weeks and allowed infrequent visits from his parents, during which they could not hold their child. The once-happy baby reportedly was never the same. According to his mother, he initially cried incessantly and would plead for her comfort. Afterwards he became increasingly withdrawn and unresponsive to human contact, developing “an institutionalized look.”


Friends and neighbors have said that the boy’s intellectual gifts were apparent, but his social skills were severely lacking: “I would see him coming in the alley. He’d always walk by without saying hello. Just nothing,” said Dr. LeRoy Weinberg, a former Kaczynski neighbor. “Ted is a brilliant boy, but he was most unsociable … This kid didn’t play. No, no. He was an old man before his time.”


He skipped two grades, graduating from high school in 1958 at the age of 16. Afterwards, he earned a bachelor’s from Harvard University in mathematics in 1962 but did not particularly distinguish himself there. After graduation, he attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning a master’s and a Ph.D. in mathematics.


Kaczynski began a successful research career at Michigan, though he continued to make few friends. His early career was ultimately the basis of his popular image as an evil mathematical genius. This conclusion should be treated with caution, not only because many scientists and mathematicians are popularly portrayed as geniuses, but also because mutual admiration is a common academic habit. For example, one of his professors at Michigan, George Piranian, said, “It is not enough to say he was smart.” This can be read as an allusion to the fact that Kaczynski, in his Ph.D. work, solved an open problem that had frustrated Piranian.


Kaczynski’s speciality was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory. His ideas in this area were original and formidable, but they were also obscure. “I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 people in the country understood or appreciated it,” said Maxwell O. Reade, a retired math professor who served on Kaczynski’s dissertation committee. In 1967, Kaczynski received a $100 prize recognizing his dissertation, entitled “Boundary Functions", as the school’s best in math that year.


At Michigan he held a National Science Foundation fellowship, taught undergraduates for three years, and published two articles related to his dissertation in mathematical journals. After he left Michigan, he published four more papers.


Kaczynski was hired as an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall of 1967. Against the persuasion of the department staff, Kaczynski resigned without explanation in 1969. Calvin Moore, vice chairman of the department in 1968, said that given Kaczynski’s “impressive” thesis and record of publications, “he could have advanced up the ranks and been a senior member of the faculty today.”


After resigning his position at Berkeley, he did not hold permanent employment. He lived in a remote shack on very little money, occasionally worked odd jobs, and received some financial support from his family.
The bombings


The first mail bomb was sent in late May 1978 to Prof. Buckley Crist at Northwestern University. The package was found in a parking lot at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with Prof. Crist’s return address (and a send to address of Prof. E.J. Smith at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York state). The package was sent ‘back’ to Crist. Suspicious of a package he never sent, Crist notified campus police. A campus police officer by the name of Terry Marker opened the package, and it exploded; Marker sustained minor injuries.


The initial 1978 bombing was followed by bombs to airline officials and bombs designed to explode on airplanes. Initially, the bombs were of amateur quality and did not cause much harm.


The first serious injury occurred in 1985, when a Berkeley graduate student lost four fingers and vision in one eye. The bombs were all hand crafted and carried the inscription “FC” - at one point reported to stand for “Fuck Computers,” but later found to mean “Freedom Club.” A Californian computer store owner was killed by a nail and splinter loaded bomb lying in his parking lot in 1985. A similar attack against a computer store occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 20, 1987.


After a six-year break, Kaczynski struck again in 1993, mailing a bomb to David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale University and developer of Linda, a distributed programming system. Gelernter has written a book on the subject, Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber. Another bomb in the same year maimed the geneticist Charles Epstein. Kaczynski wrote a letter to The New York Times claiming that his “anarchist group” called FC was responsible for the attacks.


In 1994, an advertising executive was killed by another mail bomb. In a letter, Kaczynski justified the killing by pointing out that the public relations field is in the business of developing techniques for manipulating people’s attitudes. This was followed by the murder of California Forestry Association president Gilbert Murray in 1995.


The manifesto


In 1995, Kaczynski mailed several letters, some to his former victims, outlining his goals and demanding that his paper Industrial Society and Its Future (commonly called the “Unabomber Manifesto"), be printed verbatim by a major newspaper; he stated that he would then end his bombing campaign. After a great deal of controversy, the pamphlet was indeed published by the New York Times and the Washington Post in September 1995, with the hope that somebody would recognize his writing style (as indeed happened; see below).


The main argument of Industrial Society and Its Future is that technological progress is undesirable, can be stopped, and in fact should be stopped in order to free people from the unnatural demands of technology, so that they can return to a happier, simpler life close to nature. Kaczynski argued that it was necessary to cause a “social crash", before society became any worse. He believes a collapse of civilization is likely to occur at some point in the future; thus, it is better to end things now, rather than later. If it does not occur, he says, humans will have the freedom and significance of house pets, although they may be happy, in a society dominated by machines or an elite social class.


Its critique of technological society makes the manifesto a neo-Luddite tract, sharing some ideas with other contemporary anti-technological writers (though its scope is broad, as Kaczynski also devoted large sections to railing at “leftists” and “oversocialized types"). The stigma of its author’s criminal acts has limited its popularity as a source in discussions of technology, but Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, quoted it in his April 2000 Wired magazine article on the dangers of technology, “Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us", as an example of dystopian concerns that deserved a response. Selective quotation from the manifesto has been used to attack more mainstream environmentalists by painting them as similar to Kaczynski, as in 1999 when a widely publicized Web page  compared statements by Kaczynski with Al Gore’s book Earth in the Balance.


Apprehension and trial


Kaczynski’s younger brother David recognized Ted’s writing style from the published manifesto and notified authorities, who sent officers to arrest Kaczynski on April 3, 1996 at his remote cabin outside Lincoln, Montana. David Kaczynski had once admired and emulated his elder brother but had later decided to leave the survivalist lifestyle behind and become an ‘everyman’. David had received assurances from the FBI that he would remain anonymous and that in particular his brother would not learn who had turned him in, but his identity was later leaked - prompting an unsuccessful internal investigation by the FBI.


In addition, the family received guarantees, which were later betrayed, that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty against Ted. David donated the reward money - less his legal expenses - to families of his brother’s victims. A professor of English noticed that the Manifesto resembled the outlook of the protagonist Verloc from Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent. It was discovered that Kaczynski grew up with a copy of the book in his home.


Kaczynski’s lawyers attempted an insanity defense, which he rejected; a court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia but declared him competent to stand trial. Kaczynski avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty on January 22, 1998. He later attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing it was involuntary. Judge Garland Burrell denied his request, and that denial was affirmed by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As of 2004, Kaczynski was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.