Why The Unabomber Was America's Worst Nightmare
Writing: Jonathan Grant
Editing: Jack Stevens
Script Development: Steven Rix
Hey, thoughty2 here, in these technological times we're bombarded with an overload of information as we doggedly doom, scroll through a never ending feed of depressing or irrelevant stories whilst our group messages ceaselessly ping to alert us of the inconsequential micro frauds of people we don't actually give a **** about. It's little wonder that many dream of ditching this digital chaos. It's tempting, isn't it? Lobbing the laptop in a lake, telling the socials to sod off and embracing her simpler, more wholesome existence. But this desire to trash the trappings of technology can have a darker side. And I don't mean forgetting your mum's birthday because Facebook no longer reminds you. For one man, what began as a rejection of modern life quickly descended into a catastrophic campaign of explosive violence that left dozens mutilated and free dead. This is the story of Theodore Ted Kaczynski, child prodigy, brilliant mathematician. Passionate ecologist. And domestic terrorists. From his survivalist style shack deep in the Wildwoods of Montana, Ted built a series of homemade bombs that he mailed to his victims, blazing a trail of terror across America as he waged war on anyone he felt was responsible for destroying the great outdoors that he loved. Or advancing the machines he had come to despise, so elusive with his reclusive masterminds, that he evaded capture for 17 years despite the FBI spending $50 million on what was the longest and most expensive investigation in their history. And he might never have been caught. Had his own brother not gone to the threads to identify him. By the time Kaczynski finally met justice, he'd become one of the most infamous criminals of the modern era, known to the world by a name that still makes postmen shutter in their shorts even. Day The Unabomber, born in Chicago in 1942, Young Ted stood out like a vegan at a BBQ. At 12, this precocious prepubescent scored 167 on an IQ test. Considering Einsteins was around 160, I'm guessing the queue to copy kazinski's homework. Must have circled the entire schoolyard. Ted's overdeveloped intelligence saw him skip several grades, but he was bullied mercilessly by his older classes. Whilst his peers were out climbing trees, unstopping knees, Ted retreated further into the mathematics he'd loved, devoting hours to mind bendingly difficult equations, Ted treated high school like a Super Mario speed run. He graduated early and entered Harvard at just 16 on a scholarship. Most students leave university feeling like they've had their brain squeezed for a mangle, and their bank account set on fire but not Ted. His uni scars were much deeper. He willingly participated in a series of experiments led by Harvard psychologist Henry Murray, who was interested in observing how people react. Under extreme stress, Ted and his peers were asked to write essays in which they shared their innermost beliefs, hopes and dreams. The experiment has then used this deeply personal information as the basis for a tirade of bespoke verbal abuse that was delivered whilst the test subject was hooked up to a bunch of electrodes. This whole thing was filmed and replayed to the subject on a continuous loop, but this psychological waterboarding got much worse because Ted was forced to endure this ordeal not once, not twice, but every single week for three years. Nobody knows what mental scars were left behind by these weakly tongue lashings, but it sure didn't do Ted any good. Emerging from Harvard with a degree and the self esteem of a recently divorced mall cop, Kaczynski moved to the University of Michigan to earn his Masters degree and doctorate, and from there he went to Berkeley, where he secured an assistant professorship. For all his mathematical brilliance, Kosinski was a woeful teacher. His debilitating shyness prevented him from forming meaningful relationships with other staff members, and his students struggled to connect with him. They would have had an easier time connecting to Wi-Fi, and that hadn't even been invented yet. Ted, it seemed, was destined to become a professor. And spend the rest of his life in dusty libraries, solving the sort of sums that would have sent Stephen Hawking into Stack Overflow. Yet in 1969, after 17 years in. Idemia Ted made a very unexpected lifestyle choice. He resigned from his job out of the blue and after living with his parents for a couple of years, built himself A1 room log cabin in the woods outside the tiny town of Lincoln in deepest Montana, with no electricity or running water, and only a gas stove. The heat. Now the media played a major role in the Unabomber case. Kaczynski demanded that the Washington Post and the New York Times published a manifesto in which he, quite ironically, argues that mass media has significant negative effects on individuals and society as a whole.
So far as anyone knows, Ted's trip into the wild started off perfectly peacefully. But as time ticked by, so began his terrifying metamorphosis from kooky hermit into criminal mastermind. Angered by the destruction of The Woodlands near his cabin, he began to commit minor acts of eco terrorism. Vandalising equipment used for mining and logging and setting crude booby traps at local construction sites, his early efforts included putting sugar in the fuel tank of a mining truck and setting fire to a log loader. But these petty acts were merely the Bunny slopes on which he learned to master the black runs that were yet to come. In 1978, Ted returned to Chicago, where his brother David got him a job in the foam rubber factory where he was a supervisor. What could have been an opportunity for Reassimilate Zion into society ended in a psychopathic display of anger. Kosinski had been on a few dates with a co-worker when she told him she didn't want. To see him anymore. Rather than take it like a typical man by going fishing or sitting at home playing with his tackle, Ted wrote a bunch of obscene limericks about his ex and posted them all over the factory. There was a young woman called Joan who had hands that weren't just for foe. You get the idea. Displeased by Ted's dirty ditties, David fired him. It was around this time that Kaczynski made and delivered his first bomb. It was addressed to a professor at Northwestern University, but was opened by a security guard on campus. It exploded, but thankfully caused only minor injuries. A year later, he sent a bomb hidden in a cigar box to the same university, this time injuring a student. Kaczynski intensified his bombing campaign in 1979, and it was only luck that prevented hundreds of people from losing their lives. This time, he stashed a bomb on a plane flying from Chicago to Washington. It didn't explode because of a fault with the. Time, but it did start to smoke, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. Had it gone off as planned, the aircraft would have been utterly destroyed. The following year saw Bomb sent to professors at Yale, the University of Utah and Kaczynski's former employer, Berkeley, as well as the President of United Airlines, because he seemed to be targeting universities and airlines with bombs. The FBI assigned the case the file name. Yuna bomb, from which the media created his murderous moniker, the unit. But far from being a carefully curated hit list, it was later discovered that the victims names were chosen almost at random after research Kaczynski did in the library where he volunteered. But there was nothing random about the way he built his bombs. These were constructed with the meticulous attention to detail you'd expect from someone with a genius. For IQ and nothing else to do with his time, but read philosophy and hunt squirrels to barbecue for dinner. This eye for detail was also a big part of the reason Ted was able to evade capture for so long. He made sure there were never any fingerprints on the bombs. He built them from readily available and therefore hard to trace scrap metals and every single component was made by hand. He even carefully concealed red herrings to throw off the FB I. This would have been impressive enough if he'd been working in some high. Heck, secret lair, like the budding bond villain, he was fast becoming, but he did it all in a shack so basic it didn't even have a. Fremont, the fact that his bonds were untraceable, that he had no connection to those he targeted and that he lived almost totally off grid meant Ted's reign of terror continued unbroken for a staggering 17 years. During that time, anyone working in the industries he targeted must have felt genuine fear. Every time an unexpected parcel arrived at the post. As the years passed and the IEDs kept coming, the FBI grew ever more frantic. The task force dedicated to tracking him down ballooned to more than 150 full-time investigators, and they even put up a $1,000,000 bounty for any information leading to his capture. Despite this mega manhunt. The FBI were about as close to catching him as I am to understanding the point of the Kardashian. By the late 80s, the Unabomber had sent a bomb at least every couple of years for a decade. But between 1987 and 93, suddenly he went eerily quiet. It appeared he'd gone to ground and that the case would remain one of the great unsolved mysteries of the modern age, but the bombings. Zoomed with renewed ferocity in June 93, when the Unabomber struck twice in just two days. Another bomb was sent in 94, and yet another in 95. Tragically, both of these killed their recipients. Had Ted been content to stay out of the limelight, he genuinely may never have been caught. He was that cunning. But as with most terrorists, the world wanted to know why. And so he used his battered old typewriter to bash out a 35,000 word essay. In which he railed against the evils of technology and the damage it was doing to the world. He then mailed his terrifying tracts to various media outlets, along with a letter claiming the bombing would only stop if the document was published in the national press. Although controversial at the time, the FBI agreed to this demand, allowing the essay Industrial Society and its future to be published in the Washington Post. Negotiating with terrorists might sound a little off brand. For the FB I. But it turns out they had their. Reasons often to list point. Hundreds of thousands of man hours and 10s of millions of dollars had achieved the square root of ****** all. Perhaps the general public would succeed where the experts had failed. After all, the Washington Post had a huge readership. If just one of those recognised the ramblings of a colleague or a loved one in the Unabomber's rhetoric, it was a lead that the FBI could work with, exposing thousands of people to a very dangerous ideology was a huge gamble. But boy, did it pay off when Ted's brother and earthed while boss David read the article, he knew it once he'd written it. The problem was the FBI had been inundated with tip offs as half of America suddenly decided the Unabomber was that weird guy at the pub who dresses like homeless Santa and is always marrying off about how the government puts autism in your tap water. You know the kind. So the only way David could guarantee his voice was heard above the noise was to gather. Some concrete evidence. He hired a private investigator to look into what dear Teddy was up to in the wood. He also contacted a criminal profiler to see if letters he'd received from his brother over the years matched the style of the Unabomber manifesto. When it became clear they did, David contacted the FBI and they quickly came to the same conclusion. Ted Kaczynski was the Unabomber. On the 3rd of April 1996, federal agents raided Kaczynski's cabin and arrested the bearded and dishevelled man they found inside on account of the facts that he was surrounded by handwritten notes on bomb making, numerous bomb components and the ready made bomb short of sitting there in a I'm the ******* Unabomber T-shirt. It couldn't have been more conclusive after 17 years, 3 deaths and 23 injuries, the FBI had finally got their. Ted was soon safely behind bars, but he had no intention of going quietly despite 2 psychiatrists concluding that he was suffering from schizophrenia. He was declared fit to stand trial. Given the nature of his crimes, Kaczynski's defence team wanted to plead insanity, but he was having none of that. He was so affronted by the idea that he'd be presented as a crazed lunatic that he tried to fire the entire team and replace them with Maverick civil rights attorney Tony Serra, who'd previously successfully defended Huey. Newton, leader of the Black Panthers. As his trial had already begun, the judge ruled that it was too late to switch. In response, Kaczynski tried and failed to commit suicide in his cell. He eventually pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 8 consecutive life sentences without parole. He was shipped off to Florence Supermax prison in the depths of Colorado. Where his fellow inmates included other domestic terrorists, mafia bosses, serial killers and even the Co founder of Al Qaeda, he would stay there for the following 33 years. When at the age of almost 80, his declining health saw him transferred to a secure hospital and finally, in a very. Eerie coincidence. Ted did finally commit suicide in his cell in June 2023, during the production of this very video. Thanks for watching.