The Unabomber: The Devastating Use of a Brilliant Mind


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00:00
in 1996 the FBI apprehended a man that
00:03
eluded capture for nearly two decades
00:05
his homemade letter bombs struck fear
00:07
across the United States mostly
00:09
targeting airlines and universities
00:11
earning him the nickname the Unabomber
00:13
all told he killed three people and
00:15
injured 23 more he took great care not
00:18
to leave a trace of evidence and unlike
00:20
other serial murderers he didn’t seek
00:22
glory and fame for his killings if it
00:25
wasn’t for his manifesto the publication
00:27
that outlined his disdain of technology
00:29
in modern society he may never have been
00:32
caught after his arrest the world was
00:34
shocked that this backwoods living
00:35
hermit living without electricity or
00:37
running water could be the man
00:38
responsible for such sophisticated
00:40
killings today we explore this man the
00:43
domestic terrorist and lone wolf killer
00:45
Ted Kaczynski
00:53
[Music]
00:55
on May the 22nd 1942 Theodore John
00:59
Kuczynski was born in Chicago to
01:01
blue-collar second-generation polish
01:03
Americans Theodore
01:05
tuck and Wanda Kaczynski seven years
01:07
later the Kaczynski’s had a second son
01:09
who was called David little is written
01:11
about Ted’s early years except for one
01:13
incident that may have been the impetus
01:15
to the boy’s tendency to alienate
01:17
himself according to his mother and
01:19
brother when Ted was a nine month old
01:21
baby he developed a severe case of hives
01:23
that required him to be quarantined for
01:25
ten days in the hospital afterwards
01:27
Wanda reported it took a long time for
01:29
her son to return to his normal happy
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self worried about his shyness and
01:33
social development once acclaimed she
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considered putting her young son into
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studies for autistic children but
01:38
ultimately decided against it
01:40
one neighbor remembered him as strictly
01:43
a loner when Ted was ten years old the
01:45
Kaczynski family moved out of Chicago to
01:47
the southwest suburb of Evergreen Park
01:49
at the time this was a neighborhood
01:51
predominantly made up of Irish people
01:53
Italians Czechs and poles Ted’s parents
01:56
would later say that the move out of
01:57
Chicago was so that the boys could enjoy
01:59
a better class of friends at Evergreen
02:01
Park Ted thrived and seems like a normal
02:04
kids to most people except for one
02:06
exception his remarkable intellect in
02:09
the fifth grade
02:10
Ted was labeled genius after he scored
02:12
167 on an IQ test his high marks put him
02:15
in the same IQ range as theoretical
02:17
physicist Stephen Hawking and Albert
02:20
Einstein dead skipped sixth grades and
02:22
then at the urging of school
02:23
administrators his junior year of high
02:25
school as well Ted would later claim
02:27
that his parents pushed him too hard and
02:29
being younger and smaller than his
02:30
classmates made it difficult for him to
02:32
fit in with his peers still he had made
02:34
some friends and he was the ringleader
02:35
of an outclassed klieg known as the
02:38
briefcase boys at Evergreen Park
02:39
Community High School Ted was especially
02:41
adept in mathematics and science and
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spent hours working out advanced
02:45
problems in high school he joins the
02:47
Ches biology German and mathematics
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clubs
02:50
he played trombone in the marching band
02:51
explored the music of bark and Vivaldi
02:53
and wrote compositions for himself
02:55
his younger brother David and their
02:57
father to perform at home his physics
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teacher Robert riffey described him as
03:01
honest ethical and sociable Ted attended
03:04
summer school and was able to graduate
03:06
at the age of just 15
03:08
that year he
03:09
one of five National Merit finalists at
03:11
his high school one former classmate
03:13
said Ted was never really seen as a
03:15
person as an individual personality he
03:17
was always regarded as a walking brain
03:19
so to speak
03:20
Ted seemed aware of how others viewed
03:23
him he later said by the time I left
03:25
high school I was definitely regarded as
03:27
a freak by a large segment of the
03:29
student body and he felt a gradual
03:31
increasing amount of hostility from the
03:34
other children in 1958
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Ted was accepted into Harvard and as
03:38
part of the recommendation letter his
03:39
high school counselor Louis Gillen wrote
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I believe Ted as one of the greatest
03:43
contributions to make to society he is
03:46
reflective sensitive and deeply
03:48
conscious of his responsibilities to
03:50
society
03:50
his only drawback is a tendency to be
03:52
rather quiet in his original meetings
03:54
with people but most adults on our staff
03:56
and many people in the community who are
03:59
mature finds him easy to talk to and
04:00
very challenging intellectually he has a
04:03
number of friends among high school
04:04
students and seems to influence them to
04:06
think more seriously during this period
04:08
of his life Ted held immense promise for
04:11
his future but he may not have been
04:12
ready to leave home one friend remembers
04:15
urging Kaczynski’s father not to let the
04:16
boy go arguing he’s too young too
04:19
immature and Harvard too impersonal as
04:27
an incoming Harvard freshman Kaczynski
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was 16 years old the Health Service
04:30
doctor who interviewed him as part of
04:32
the routine screening process noted good
04:34
impression created attractive mature for
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age relaxed talks easily fluently and
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pleasantly likes people then gets on
04:41
well with them being among the youngest
04:43
and brightest freshmen Ted was housed at
04:46
eight Prescott Street a three-story
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Victorian house just outside of Harvard
04:50
Yard that year the Dean of freshman
04:52
skiddy von Stade junior decided to use
04:54
the residence specifically for less
04:56
mature boys who needed a more intimate
04:58
nurturing environment it was a place
05:00
where those boys would not get lost in
05:02
the larger impersonal dorms so I’ve come
05:04
to the conclusion that while the deans
05:05
plan was well-intentioned
05:07
putting all the fragile young men
05:09
together had the opposite effect it
05:11
isolated them making adjusting to
05:13
Harvard even more difficult one student
05:15
living at a Prescott later said it was
05:17
not unusual to spend all one’s time in
05:19
one’s room and then rush out the door to
05:21
library or class after his arrest
05:23
Kaczynski’s housemate Gerald burns wrote
05:26
that he was as normal as I am now it was
05:28
just hard on him because he was much
05:30
younger than his classmates
05:32
despite the adversity he took up
05:33
swimming wrestling played trombone and
05:35
pickup basketball he also had a few
05:38
friends
05:38
Kaczynski’s sophomore year marked the
05:40
beginning of in his words the worst
05:43
experience of my life together with 21
05:46
undergraduate students Kaczynski was a
05:47
participant in an unethical study
05:49
conducted by Henry amery the Harvard
05:52
professor and psychologist best known
05:54
for pioneering personality tests before
05:56
Harvard Murray had been a colonel in the
05:58
US Army and an agent for the Office of
06:00
Strategic Services OSS which later
06:03
became known as the CIA according to his
06:05
colleagues at OSS Murray was obsessed
06:07
with mind control and used LSD among
06:10
other drugs to determine how to
06:11
brainwash subjects there is no evidence
06:13
to suggest Murray used LSD in his
06:16
experiments with Kaczynski though the
06:18
study was officially named multiform
06:19
assessments of personality development
06:21
among gifted college men and its purpose
06:23
was to measure how the students reacted
06:25
under stress subjects were told that
06:27
they would be debating personal
06:29
philosophies with other students and
06:30
writing essays detailing their beliefs
06:33
and their aspirations the essays were
06:35
then turned over to anonymous attorneys
06:37
who conducted vehement sweeping and
06:39
personally abusive interrogations the
06:42
participants were electrodes to monitor
06:44
their physiological responses and these
06:46
sessions were also filmed later subjects
06:49
expressions of rage during the
06:50
interrogations were repeatedly played
06:52
back to them some sources have suggested
06:54
that Murray study was part of the
06:56
federal government’s research on
06:57
mind-control
06:58
known as project MKULTRA author Alton
07:01
Shay’s questions whether the purposely
07:03
brutalizing psychological experiments
07:05
contributed to the making of Kaczynski
07:07
the Unabomber
07:08
however by no means can Kaczynski’s
07:10
bombing campaign be late at Harvard’s
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door though his staunch anti
07:14
technological views are recognized in
07:16
part to Harvard’s curriculum in the late
07:19
1950s Kaczynski earned a Bachelor of
07:21
Arts from Harvard in 1962 finishing with
07:23
a 3.1 to GPA in his own words Ted later
07:27
recalls his experience overall this
07:28
Harvard as a tremendous thing for me he
07:30
thrived on the hard work and
07:32
self-discipline
07:33
became enthusiastic about willpower
07:40
Kaczynski enrolled at the University of
07:42
Michigan in 1962 at the age of 20 and
07:44
spent the next five years of his life in
07:46
Ann Arbor he earned his master’s degree
07:48
in 1964 and his doctoral degree in 1967
07:51
Michigan it was not his first choice
07:53
school he would have preferred the
07:54
University of California at Berkeley or
07:56
the University of Chicago he was
07:58
accepted to all three but Michigan
08:00
offered Kaczynski a teaching position
08:02
and a financial aid package the Michigan
08:04
dead received two thousand three hundred
08:06
and ten dollars annually roughly the
08:08
equivalent of about $19,000 today during
08:11
his time there he specialized in
08:12
geometric function theory and completed
08:15
his dissertation boundary functions to
08:16
great acclaim his doctoral adviser Allan
08:19
shields called it the best I have ever
08:20
directed winning the Summoner Byron
08:23
Myers prize for Michigan’s best
08:24
mathematics dissertation of the year
08:26
Kaczynski published five journal
08:28
articles based on this too while
08:29
Michigan and three after despite
08:31
Kaczynski’s academic success here in
08:33
twelve days and five B’s over 18 courses
08:36
and his students rating him as an
08:38
above-average instructor he did not
08:39
enjoy Michigan he thought the standards
08:41
were wretched and the professor’s were
08:43
mostly sloppy callous and poorly
08:46
organized as he said most instructors
08:48
and most students did only what they
08:50
have to do there was no interest or
08:52
enthusiasm or even any sense of
08:54
responsibility about doing a good job
08:56
the mathematics department was
08:58
enthusiastic about him but many others
09:00
didn’t seem to notice him underneath the
09:02
quiet and studious demeanour no one
09:04
suspected his rage was building his
09:06
ideology forming and it was at this
09:09
point that he apparently made the
09:11
decision to start killing Kaczynski
09:13
later said I thought I will kill but I
09:16
will make at least some effort to avoid
09:18
detection so that I can kill again
09:20
according to Sally Johnson who conducted
09:23
a psychological profile on Kaczynski
09:24
during his court proceedings it was
09:26
during his fourth year at Michigan that
09:28
he began to fantasize about breaking
09:30
away from society
09:31
she wrote he decided that he would do
09:33
whatever he always wanted to do to go to
09:35
Canada to take off in the woods with a
09:37
rifle and try to live off the country if
09:39
it doesn’t work and if I can get back to
09:41
civilization before I starve then I will
09:43
come back here and kill someone I hate
09:46
Kozinski also shared with Johnson that
09:48
he suffered from nightmares and sexual
09:50
repression during this time he began
09:51
fantasizing about being female and
09:53
reasons of the only way he would ever be
09:56
able to touch a woman was simply to
09:58
become one Kaczynski went so far as even
10:00
to go to the university’s health center
10:02
to discuss a possible sex change that he
10:04
had a sudden change of heart in the
10:06
waiting room he shared with Johnson his
10:08
feelings of humiliation and of disgust
10:10
and then suddenly felt better when he
10:12
thought about murdering the psychiatrist
10:14
just then there came a major turning
10:16
point in his life he later told Johnson
10:18
like a phoenix I burst from the ashes of
10:21
my despair to a glorious new hope in
10:24
late 1967 Kaczynski became the youngest
10:26
assistant professor of mathematics in
10:28
the history of UC Berkeley he was 25
10:31
years old he stayed on for less than two
10:33
years teaching undergraduate classes in
10:34
geometry and calculus before a sudden
10:37
and unexpected resignation
10:39
no one knew at the time that Kaczynski
10:41
never intended to launch his career at
10:43
Berkeley he only wanted to earn enough
10:44
money to fulfill his plan of checking
10:46
out of the modern world and moving into
10:48
the wilderness by the mid to late 1960s
10:50
Kaczynski had concluded that mathematics
10:52
was too close to the evils of Technology
10:54
which he despised in 1971 Kaczynski
10:57
wrote an essay and it began it is argued
11:00
that continued scientific and technical
11:01
progress will inevitably result in the
11:03
extinction of individual liberty it was
11:06
imperative that this juggernaut be
11:08
stopped
11:08
Kaczynski went on this could not be done
11:10
by simply popularizing a certain
11:13
libertarian philosophy unless that
11:15
philosophy is accompanied by a program
11:17
of concrete action
11:19
[Music]
11:23
after leaving Berkeley Kaczynski lived
11:25
with his parents for two years before
11:27
building his remote cabin outside of
11:29
Lincoln Montana on lands that he
11:31
purchased with his brother’s help the
11:32
cabin was a simple structure with no
11:33
electricity or running water at first he
11:36
survived working odd jobs using an old
11:38
bicycle to get to and from the town he
11:40
told himself survival skills such as
11:42
tracking game and edible plants
11:44
identification as well as organic
11:45
farming he visited the library and read
11:47
classic works in their original
11:49
languages in 1975 he started to see the
11:52
impact of real estate development on the
11:54
Montana wilderness and it enraged him he
11:57
had considered living peacefully but now
11:59
all he wanted was to get back at the
12:01
system by acts of revenge and carry out
12:04
his earlier fantasies of killing from
12:12
1978 in 1995 Kaczynski mailed or
12:15
hand-delivered a series of homemade
12:16
bombs of increasing sophistication he
12:18
took great care not to leave any
12:20
fingerprints behind and he purposefully
12:22
left misleading clues to confuse the
12:24
authorities his first bomb was meant for
12:27
Buckley Chryst a professor of materials
12:29
engineering at Northwestern University
12:30
Crist was suspicious of the package and
12:33
called campus police officer Terry maker
12:35
opened its and the package exploded
12:37
injuring makers left hands a second bomb
12:40
in May of 1979 were sent again to
12:42
Northwestern this time it was a graduate
12:44
student John Harris who suffered minor
12:47
cuts and burns when it exploded
12:48
Kozinski’s next bomb was intended to
12:51
blow up a Boeing 727 American Airlines
12:53
flight 444 traveling from Chicago to
12:56
Washington DC the bomb was placed in the
12:59
cargo hold and thankfully a faulty
13:01
timing mechanism prevented it from
13:02
igniting it did release smoke forcing an
13:04
emergency landing and authorities stated
13:06
that it would have had enough power to
13:07
obliterate the plane had it exploded it
13:10
was at this point that the FBI opens the
13:12
Unabomber case and led a task force made
13:14
up of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco
13:16
Firearms and Explosives and US Postal
13:18
Inspection Service analysis on the bomb
13:21
materials proved fruitless Kaczynski’s
13:23
handmade explosives were made with scrap
13:25
materials found almost anywhere four
13:27
more bombs caused unsuspecting victims
13:29
burns and cuts from 1980 to 1985 the
13:32
first serious injury though it occurred
13:33
on May the 15th 1985 at Burke
13:36
when graduate students and to captain in
13:38
the US Air Force John Houser opens the
13:40
package he lost four fingers and vision
13:43
in one of his eyes this bomb was
13:44
followed by two more bombs in 1985 and
13:47
then on December the 11th of that year
13:49
the blast from a nellen splinter loaded
13:51
bomb killed Sacramento computer store
13:52
owner hugh scrutton this was the first
13:54
of three Unabomber casualties Kaczynski
13:57
targeted another computer store owner
13:58
Gary Wright in 1987 who suffered nerve
14:01
damage when the bomb went off after
14:03
nearly a decade the FBI was nowhere
14:05
close to catching the Unabomber but then
14:07
all of a sudden he stopped sending bombs
14:09
for a period of six years from 1987 to
14:11
1993 the authorities thought he was gone
14:14
they surmised he died by accidental
14:16
death or natural causes or maybe he had
14:18
a change of heart
14:19
Kaczynski’s reign of terror it wasn’t
14:21
over though he mailed four more bombs
14:23
from 1993 to 1995 murdering two more
14:26
people including Thomas J Massa an
14:28
advertising executive and Gilbert Brent
14:30
Murry a timber industry lobbyist his two
14:33
other bombs are severely wounded and
14:34
disfigured david gallant are a computer
14:36
science professor at yale university and
14:38
charles Epstein a geneticist at the
14:40
University of California San Francisco
14:42
Kaczynski’s bombs were often stamps with
14:44
the letters FC and the FBI noted the
14:47
theme of nature and trees since he often
14:49
included bits of bark and branches and
14:51
his explosive packages
14:53
[Music]
14:57
in 1995 Kaczynski contacted the media
15:00
blackmailing the New York Times in
15:02
Washington Post
15:02
into publishing his thirty five thousand
15:05
word essay industrial society and his
15:07
future the media dubbed this the
15:08
Unabomber manifesto and in exchange for
15:11
its release word-for-word he would
15:13
desist from terrorism in his manifesto
15:15
Kaczynski asserts that the downfall of
15:17
the human race can be attributed to the
15:19
Industrial Revolution and modern
15:21
technological society
15:23
he claimed widespread psychological
15:25
suffering has taken place because of
15:27
technology’s destabilizing effect and he
15:29
argues people spend too much time
15:30
engaged in useless pursuits such as the
15:33
consumption of entertainment our society
15:36
it tends to regards as a sickness any
15:38
mode of thought or behavior that is
15:40
inconvenient for the system and this is
15:42
plausible because when an individual
15:44
can’t fit into the system it causes pain
15:46
to the individual as well as problems
15:48
for the system thus the manipulation of
15:50
an individual to adjust him to the
15:52
system is seen as a cure for a sickness
15:54
and therefore as good Kaczynski saw the
15:57
only way of returning to wild nature and
16:00
freedom was to destroy progress which he
16:03
believed was entirely possible the
16:05
manifestos reception was regarded as a
16:07
work of genius by some and entirely sane
16:10
by others it has been compared to Aldous
16:12
Huxley’s brave new world and draw draw
16:13
wells in 1984 James Q Wilson wrote that
16:16
it was a carefully reasoned artfully
16:18
written paper if it is the work of a
16:20
madman then the writings of many
16:22
political philosophers jean-jacques
16:24
Rousseau Tom Paine Karl Marx are
16:25
scarcely more sane
16:27
[Music]
16:32
following the publication of the
16:34
manifesto David Kaczynski and his wife
16:36
Linda noticed chilling familiarities
16:37
between his brothers letters and an
16:39
earlier essay that Ted wrote for three
16:41
weeks they pored over years of
16:43
Correspondence looking for telltale
16:45
clues before contacting the authorities
16:47
once convinced the Unabomber it could be
16:49
David’s brother they hired an attorney
16:50
contacted a criminal profiler to analyze
16:53
the letters and contact the FBI at the
16:55
time agents were actively following up
16:57
on over 2000 tips and a recluse living
17:00
in the backwoods of Montana didn’t seem
17:02
to match their expectations
17:03
not until expert linguists analyzed the
17:05
letters and the essay and determined
17:07
that they were certainly the same man
17:09
FBI agents arrested Kaczynski on April
17:11
the 3rd 1996 at his cabin where he was
17:14
found in an unkempt State a search of
17:16
his cabin revealed a cache of bombing
17:17
components 40,000 handwritten journal
17:20
pages that included bomb-making
17:21
experiments descriptions of the
17:23
Unabomber crimes and one live bomb ready
17:25
for the mailing they also found what
17:27
appeared to be the original typed
17:29
manuscripts of industrial society and
17:31
its future by this point the Unabomber
17:33
had been the target of the most
17:35
expensive investigation in FBI history a
17:38
federal grand jury indicted Kaczynski in
17:40
April of 1996 on ten counts of illegally
17:43
transporting mailing and using bombs and
17:45
three counts of murder
17:47
Kozinski’s defense had attempted to use
17:49
the insanity defense in order to avoid
17:50
the death penalty that Kaczynski refused
17:53
he tried to fire his attorneys and
17:54
attempted suicide by hanging on January
17:56
the 9th on the judge’s order Kaczynski
17:59
underwent a psychological evaluation by
18:01
Sally Johnson who gave him a provisional
18:03
diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia
18:05
regardless he was determined to be fit
18:07
to stand trial and instead pled guilty
18:09
on all charges On January the 22nd 1998
18:13
in exchange for avoiding the death
18:15
penalty at the sentencing Kaczynski
18:16
displayed no emotion or remorse for his
18:19
heinous crimes the contents of this
18:21
cabin was sold at auction and netted two
18:22
hundred and thirty two thousand dollars
18:24
for Kozinski’s victims today Ted
18:26
Kaczynski is serving eight consecutive
18:28
life sentences in a maximum-security
18:30
prison in Florence Colorado where he
18:32
spends 23 hours a day in his cell he
18:35
maintains an oddly active connection to
18:36
many people on the outside through
18:38
letters and contacts the media with
18:40
regularity
18:41
the ladder D collection correspondence
18:42
since his arrest with over 400 people is
18:45
housed at the University of Michigan’s
18:46
Special Collections library further his
18:48
Montana cabin seized by the US
18:50
government is currently on display at
18:52
the Museum in Washington DC so I really
18:55
hope you enjoyed that bio graphics video
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