Dr Theodore John Kaczynski was born in Chicago, Illinois on 22 May 1942. He graduated from Harvard in 1962 and earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. In the autumn of 1967 he became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley but left after just two years and, in 1971, moved to a remote cabin in Lincoln, Montana. Beginning in 1978 and ending with his arrest in 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23 more.
He claimed that modern technology had impacted on the freedoms of mankind, making him less free. The FBI gave the then unknown bomber the code name UNABOM from UNiversity and Airline BOMber which led to the media nicknaming him the “Unabomber”. The first bomb was sent on 25 May 1978 to Buckley Crist, a materials engineering professor at Northwestern University. The professor was suspicious and called the campus police. Officer Terry Marker opened the package, which exploded, injuring his left hand. On 15 November 1979 Kaczynski put a bomb in the cargo hold of American Airlines Flight 444, a Boeing 727 flying from Chicago to Washington DC.
A faulty timer stopped the bomb exploding which would have brought down the aircraft. It was after this that the FBI became involved and a $1 million reward was offered. The first fatality was on 11 December 1985 when Hugh Scrutton, a 38-year-old computer shop owner was killed by a nail- and splinter-loaded bomb in his car park.
On 24 April 1995, Kaczynski wrote to The New York Times promising “to desist from terrorism” if his thoughts (Industrial Society And Its Future) were published verbatim in that paper or The Washington Post. Kaczynski’s manifesto was published in September and his estranged brother, David, recognized the handwriting and some of the phraseology and alerted the FBI.
Lincoln, Montana, USA
Thursday 25 May 1978—Monday 24 April 1995
Kaczynski was arrested on 3 April 1996. To avoid the death penalty, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. He is at United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado.