Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, died on Saturday at the age of 81. Kaczynski was a Harvard-educated mathematician who conducted a 17-year bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 23 others. He had been held in the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, since May 1998 before being transferred to a prison medical facility.
Death and Cause of Death
Kaczynski was found unresponsive in his cell at the federal prison medical center in Butner, North Carolina, and pronounced dead around 8 a.m. on Saturday. According to Kristie Breshears, a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Prisons, a cause of death was not immediately known.
Bombing Campaign and Manifesto
Kaczynski committed 16 bombings between 1978 and 1995, permanently maiming several of his victims. He later issued a manifesto titled “Industrial Society and Its Future,” in which he detailed his reasons for committing the crimes and blamed technology for society’s ills. The Washington Post and New York Times published the manifesto under threat of more attacks. Ironically, the publication drew the attention of Kaczynski’s brother, who recognized the language and sentence patterns and called authorities.
Impact of Bombing Campaign
Kaczynski’s homemade bombs led to changes in mailing and boarding procedures for airlines, and at one point shut down air travel on the West Coast in July 1995. Authorities captured him in April 1996, when he was arrested at a 10-by-14-foot plywood and tarpaper cabin outside Lincoln, Montana. Inside were journals, a coded diary, explosive ingredients, and two completed bombs.
Kaczynski has been portrayed in and inspired multiple works, including the 1996 television film Unabomber: The True Story, the 2011 play P.O. Box Unabomber, and the 2021 film, Ted K. He also authored several books.
Overall, Ted Kaczynski’s death marks the end of a notorious chapter in American history. While his actions were reprehensible, they also led to changes in security protocols and sparked a national conversation about the effects of technology on society.