Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007

The Unabomber, 1996

Ted Kaczynski killed three people and wounded 22 with his mailbombs, but it could have been much worse. He managed to sneak a bomb onto American Airlines Flight 444 from Chicago to Washington D.C. It exploded but only caused a small fire. Otherwise, a Boeing 747 passenger jet might have fallen out of the sky on Nov. 15, 1979. As it is, the mad genius, whom investigators tagged as the University and Airline Bomber, would terrorize the country for nearly two decades. From his cabin in the woods in Montana, the reclusive mathematician would send out bomb after bomb, and letter after letter haranguing victims who had survived his attacks and taunting the media. No one was able to figure out who he was. And then, in 1995, in a blast of egotistical rage, he sent out a 35,000-word manifesto against technology and industrialization, which the Washington Post and the New York Times published in order to prevent the Unabomber from carrying out his threat to blow up a plane over Los Angeles. Someone recognized his ideas in that manifesto. It was his brother, David. And so, the brutal chess game between bomber and government came to an end as a family drama between two brothers, very much alike and yet different enough for one to give the other up for the public good.

From the Archive:
Tracking Down the Unabomber