Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, dies at 81

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski dies at 81, known for attacking modern life.

Image Credit: BBC

Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, was discovered deceased in his prison cell in North Carolina, as confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Kaczynski, who was serving a life sentence without parole for a string of bombings that resulted in the deaths of three individuals, passed away at the age of 81. Previously held in a high-security Colorado prison, he had been relocated to North Carolina in 2021 due to his deteriorating health. The exact cause of death has not been disclosed.

Kaczynski was serving a sentence after his arrest in 1996 at his primitive cabin in western Montana. He pleaded guilty to orchestrating 16 explosions that resulted in the deaths of three individuals and the injury of 23 others across the United States between 1978 and 1995. The lethal homemade bombs, which Kaczynski sent through the mail, had a significant impact on how Americans sent packages and traveled by air. One of his devices, triggered by altitude, successfully detonated on an American Airlines flight, further heightening concerns.

In 1995, Kaczynski issued a threat to explode an aircraft departing from Los Angeles over the July 4 weekend, causing widespread disruption to air travel and mail delivery. He later dismissed it as a "prank."

As a Harvard-educated mathematician, Kaczynski vehemently criticized the consequences of advanced technology. His targeting of universities and airlines led the FBI to dub him the Unabomber. The manhunt for him became the nation's longest and most expensive. In September 1995, The Washington Post and The New York Times published his manifesto titled "Industrial Society and Its Future" at the request of federal authorities. Kaczynski had pledged to cease his terrorist activities if a national publication printed his treatise.

The publication of the manifesto prompted Kaczynski's brother, David, and David's wife, Linda Patrik, to recognize his writing and report him to the FBI.

In April 1996, authorities located Kaczynski near Lincoln, Montana, residing in a small cabin measuring 10 by 14 feet, constructed with plywood and tarpaper. He had been living there since the 1970s. Inside the cabin, law enforcement discovered journals, a coded diary, explosive materials, and two completed bombs.

Kaczynski strongly rejected the notion of being labeled mentally ill and, during his trial, attempted to dismiss his attorneys when they suggested an insanity defense. Ultimately, rather than allowing his lawyers to proceed, he chose to plead guilty.

In his personal journals, which were released during the trial at the request of the victims' families, Kaczynski described his motive as "purely personal revenge." He expressed fantasies of targeting individuals he despised, such as government officials, police officers, computer scientists, and unruly college students who littered beer cans in the arboretum.

Kaczynski's bombings resulted in the deaths of Hugh Scrutton, the owner of a computer rental store, Thomas Mosser, an advertising executive, and Gilbert Murray, a lobbyist for the timber industry. In addition, bombs he sent within a span of two days in June 1993 caused severe injuries to California geneticist Charles Epstein and Yale University computer expert David Gelernter.

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