February 20, 1987: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski Blows Up Computer Store!

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A Brief History

On February 20, 1987, one man’s hatred of modern technology led him to blow up a computer store!

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find the U.S. domestic terrorist known as the “Unabomber” striking for the twelfth time with a bomb disguised as a piece of wood!

The bomb had been left in the parking lot of a computer store, and it severely injured the store’s owner.  The Unabomber would go on to strike four more times before he was finally caught.

Professor Ted Kaczynski was a mathematical genius who had an IQ of 167 but also mental-emotional issues that perhaps resulted from an awkward childhood when he got advanced in school and did not fit in with the older children.

Or, the mental problems might only have first started in college when he took part in an extremely stressful and demeaning psychological experiment!  It is also rumored that Kaczynski was a subject of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) experiments in college as well.

In any case, Kaczynski became a professor at age 25 and abruptly resigned at age 26, possibly because of a lack of connection to his students who rated him very poorly in teacher evaluations.  Shortly after resigning, Kaczynski moved to a cabin in Montana that was without electricity and began a weird life of shunning modern technology.

After he started his campaign against technology at universities and airlines, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) named him “UNABOM” (for UNniversity/Airline BOMber), and this name was stretched by the media to the familiar Unabomber.

Having killed three people and almost destroying an airliner with his bombs, Kaczynski’s rambling diatribe against technology (commonly referred to as The Unabomber Manifesto) was published with the FBI hoping someone would recognize the bomber from his writing.

The FBI was correct, and David Kaczynski, Ted’s brother, alerted authorities that Ted seemed to be their man and advised the FBI where to find him.  Ted was arrested without a standoff, and David’s anonymity was spoiled by the news channel CBS leaking his identity.

Ted Kaczynski was allowed to plead guilty and to be sentenced to life without parole because the FBI wanted to deny him the opportunity to use a trial as a platform for his anti-technology rants.

A bizarre angle to this case includes the strange fact that Kaczynski was also suspected of being the “Zodiac Killer,” although authorities dismissed him as a suspect after his arrest for the bombings.  Still, it cannot be proven that he was not the Zodiac Killer.

Ted Kaczynski resides in a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, where he has been a prolific writer, sending letters to hundreds of people.  Another bizarre angle to his case is the habit of those recipients auctioning off his letters to Ted’s dismay!  Kaczynski also objected to the government auctioning off his property (writings, etc.) and giving the proceeds to his victims.  Not surprisingly, Ted has never responded to any of the scores of letters sent to him by his brother, David.

Obviously, this case has generated its share of articles and books, as well as the 1996 film Unabomber: The True Story.

If all this information were not cracked enough, you can visit the Unabomber’s cabin at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. to where it has been moved and put on display!

Question for students (and subscribers): Have we taken technology too far?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Biography – Ted Kaczynski: The Unabomber.  A&E Home Video, 2007.  DVD.

Douglas, John and Mark Olshaker.  Unabomber: On the Trail of America’s Most-Wanted Serial Killer.  Pocket Books, 1996.

Kaczynski, Theodore J. and David Skrbina.  Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber”.  Feral House, 2010.

Purdy, Jon, dir.  Unabomber: The True Story.  Direct Source Label, 2007.  DVD.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.