Ted Kaczynski biography
Ted Kaczynski, also known as the “Unabomber,” was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. A mathematics prodigy, Kaczynski taught at the University of California before retreating to a survivalist lifestyle in the Montana woods. Between 1975 and 1995, Kaczynski mailed bombs to universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23 more. FBI agents arrested Kaczynski in 1996.
Infamous criminal Ted Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in Chicago, the oldest child of a Polish American couple, Wanda and Theodore. As a baby, Kaczynski had an allergic reaction to some medication and spent time in isolation, recovering. Some reports indicate that he had a noticeable change in his personality after being hospitalized. The arrival of his younger brother David also allegedly had a strong effect on him as well.
Both of Kaczynski's parents pushed him hard to achieve academic success. A bright child, Kaczynski skipped two grades during his early education. He was smaller than the other kids and regarded as "different" because of his intelligence. Still Kaczynski was active in school groups, including the German language and chess clubs. In 1958, Kaczynski entered Harvard University at the age of 16 on a scholarship. There, he studied mathematics and participated in a psychological experiment conducted by professor Henry A. Murray.
After graduating Harvard in 1962, Kaczynski continued his studies at the University of Michigan. While there, he taught classes and worked on his dissertation, which was widely praised. Kaczynski earned his doctoral degree from the university in 1967, then moved west to teach at the University of California Berkeley.
Kaczynski struggled at Berkeley, having a hard time delivering his lectures and often avoiding contact with his students. He resigned his assistant professorship in 1969. By the early 1970s, Kaczynski had given up his old life, and settled in Montana. He built himself a small cabin near Lincoln, where he lived in near total isolation. He hunted rabbits, grew vegetables, and spent a lot of time reading. Over the years, he developed his own anti-government and anti-technology philosophy.
In 1978, Kaczynski moved back to Chicago to work in the same factory as his brother. He had a relationship with a female supervisor that turned sour. In retaliation, Kaczynski wrote crude limericks about her, which got him fired. His brother David, a supervisor himself, was the one that actually had to break the news to Ted.
That same year, Kaczynski made his first homemade bomb, which he sent to a Northwestern University professor. The letter was opened by a campus security officer, who sustained minor injuries when the bomb exploded. Another bomb was sent to the same university the following year, but by this time Kaczynski had returned to Montana.
Kaczynski then targeted American Airlines with two bombs—one in 1979 and one in 1980—addressed to the company's president.
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.