Episode 157: Ted Kaczynski: the Unabomber

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look at the life, imprisonment, and bombings of Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber. Over the span of an 18 year spree, Kaczynski allegedly mailed 16 bombs which killed 3 and seriously injured 23 others. His targets were almost all University faculty (the “UN” in Unabomber) and people involved in airlines–including the airplanes themselves (which is where the “A” Unabomber comes from). He eventually expanded his targets to include people involved in technology in general, making him the past century’s most famous luddite.

After abandoning a career as a mathematical genius and professor at UC Berkeley, Kaczynski lived off the grid in a twelve foot by ten foot shack in Montana, eating wild rabbit and building bombs out of scrap materials and wood. His bombs were quite ingenious, and they contained almost no forensic evidence to get him caught.

Why did he send these bombs? Well, he answers that questions in his famous Manifesto which he had published by newspapers in 1996. He threatened to blow up airplanes and kill more people if a major newspaper didn’t publish his writings, and eventually the FBI capitulated and allowed the work to be published by the Washington Post and the New York Times. The work was officially called Industrial Society and Its Future, and it espoused his hatred for “the system” which eliminated human freedom and destroyed the planet. Before you agree and think he was right, however, he also has dozens of pages of rants about “Leftists” and all sorts or really crazy nonsense that rounded the document out.

Why did it take so long for the FBI to catch this person from their most wanted list? What part did his brother play in his eventual arrest? Why did he write dirty limericks at a factory job he had that got him fired? How did this man go from a 16 year old Harvard genius to a crazy serial bomber living in the back woods? Why did Dave think he once had a class from the Unabomber in college? Why does Brad think Kaczynski might be innocent? Listen, laugh, learn.

Here is a bonus link to the full text of the Manifesto: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm

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