Best Known For
Ted Kaczynski is a mathematician best known for a campaign of letter bombs he sent as "The Unabomber" over a 20 year period, resulting in three fatalities.
For almost 20 years, Ted Kaczynski conducted a campaign of terror across the United States by sending homemade bombs as packages. Kaczynski aimed at ridding society of technology, and returning it to a more primitive state.
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Working with the U.S. Postal Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started up a task force to look into these mysterious attacks. The case was known by the acronym UNABOM, which stood for UNiversity and Airline BOMbing. Eventually the unknown assailant received the nickname "The Unabomber."
By 1982, his bombs became more destructive. A secretary at Vanderbilt University and a professor at University of California Berkeley both sustained serious injuries from Kaczynski's explosive packages. His first fatality occurred in 1985, when a computer store owner was killed by a bomb outside his shop. The Unabomber then killed two more people before his capture in 1996. In all, he killed three people and wounded 22 others.
The big break in the case came when Kaczynski sent out a 35,000-word essay on the problems of modern society. He even threatened media outlets, such as The New York Times, to publish his so-called "Unabomber Manifesto", telling them he would blow up a plane if they failed to do so. David Kaczynski read the manifesto, and suspected that the Unabomber was his brother. The two had become estranged over the years, but David recognized the writing style, and some of the ideas expressed, as Ted's. He eventually shared his suspicions with the authorities.
On April 3, 1996, federal investigators arrested Ted Kaczynski at his cabin in Montana. News outlets carried images of the bearded and disheveled Kaczynski, giving the country and the world its first glimpse of the infamous Unabomber. At his cabin, they found one completed bomb, bomb parts, and about 40,000 pages of his journals. He described his crimes in detail in these pages.
In January 1998, Kaczynski attempted suicide as he prepared to go on trial for his crimes. He was insistent that his lawyers did not use any type of insanity defense, and rejected any implication that he was mentally ill. After a bid to represent himself in court, Kaczynski decided to plead guilty to 13 federal bombing-related charges. It has been thought that he made a deal to avoid the death penalty. He received four life sentences for his actions.
Kaczynski is currently an inmate at the Florence Federal Correctional Complex in Colorado. For a time, he was housed in the same unit as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.
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