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February 10, 2024 45 mins

The Unabomber was one of the most notorious and longest lasting cases in the history of the FBI. Just because the manifesto reads like he was a fortune teller doesn't make his actions any less deplorable. Learn all about this fascinating case in this classic episode.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, everybody, it's me Josh. For this week's select, I've
chosen our twenty eighteen episode about the unibomber Misunderstood. You
could say that the environmental visionary who predicted some of
the more negative aspects of our modern world. Yes, indeed,
unrelin and killer who didn't care who he hurt. Absolutely,
and that kind of undercuts everything else, doesn't it. Still,

it's a fascinating episode, and I hope.

Speaker 2 (00:25):
You enjoy it.

Speaker 3 (00:29):
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:39):
Hey, and welcome to the podcast.

Speaker 1 (00:40):
I'm Josh Clark with Charles W Chuck Bryant with Jerry Rowland.
Three of us put together, put us in some ray
band aviators, put a gray hoodie sweatshirt on us.

Speaker 2 (00:51):
You got stuff you should know.

Speaker 4 (00:53):
I know, I like your costume today.

Speaker 1 (00:55):
I thought I would dress up to really kind of
drive home the idea that I have. I know what
we're going to be talking about.

Speaker 3 (01:03):
Yeah, you know what's funny is that today, all these
years later, when you see someone in aviators in a
hoodie with the hood up, you say, cheez.

Speaker 4 (01:10):
You know what's up? You in a bomber?

Speaker 1 (01:12):
It's it's part of the social fabric these days. Like
I ran across some I guess an article from the
late nineties or whatever that was talking about that famous
sketch and how it made its way onto like coffee
mugs and keychains and T shirts and like it became
like a pop culture icon.

Speaker 3 (01:33):
Oh yeah, I'm sure it was on some T shirt
design at what's that terrible store?

Speaker 2 (01:40):
Spencer's. Well, no, no, hot topic.

Speaker 4 (01:43):
That one's great. No Urban Outfitters.

Speaker 1 (01:47):
Wait, so you're a Spencer's fan. Huh sure, Okay, Spencer's
over Urban Outfitters.

Speaker 2 (01:54):
I guess that is. That's the great divide.

Speaker 1 (01:56):
You know, well, Michigan, Ohio State Spencer's Urban Outfitters.

Speaker 3 (02:00):
Urban Outfitters is just trendy like stuff that they think
is clever, but it's not Spencer. You could go in
and get a poster of a bikini lady on a Ferrari,
some incense and a giant rubber peanuts, right, Like.

Speaker 4 (02:16):
That's a great store, I guess it is. You know,
everything you need under one roof.

Speaker 1 (02:22):
I can't remember what I was in there for the
other day, but they have like the most extensive selection
of tasteless shot glasses I've ever seen.

Speaker 4 (02:31):
In my life at Spencer.

Speaker 2 (02:33):
Yeah, which, it's like there's people collecting this.

Speaker 4 (02:36):
You can tell I want to know who Spencer is.

Speaker 2 (02:39):
Spencer doesn't want you to know who he is.

Speaker 4 (02:41):
Okay, that's why I called his store Spencer.

Speaker 2 (02:43):
Yeah, his real name is Jackson McClain.

Speaker 4 (02:46):
Oh wow, nice work, Jackson threw me. You sniffed me
off the case.

Speaker 2 (02:51):
Nice. That was a good saved, Chuck.

Speaker 4 (02:53):

Speaker 2 (02:54):
Speaking of good saves, I'm gonna bail us out of
this intro. Let's do it take us back way back
to nineteen seventy nine. Eight.

Speaker 4 (03:03):
I'm a little seven year old eight.

Speaker 1 (03:06):
Sorry, Chuck, We're going to go back one more year
in nineteen seventy eight.

Speaker 4 (03:09):
Yeah, I was seven.

Speaker 2 (03:10):
Oh so you knew I got it wrong. Okay.

Speaker 1 (03:14):
Well, in nineteen seventy eight in the Chicago Land area,
there's a university called Northwestern University.

Speaker 2 (03:21):
Go Wildcats.

Speaker 4 (03:23):
I didn't look this one up.

Speaker 2 (03:25):
I think it is the Wildcats. That's what we're going with.

Speaker 1 (03:28):
And there was a security officer named Terry Maker who
opened a suspicious looking package. That's I couldn't find why
Terry Maker opened it. So I should say everybody, I'm
making the assumption here that it was deemed suspicious and
they were like, gook, get the security guard. But Terry
Maker opened this package and it exploded. Yeah, he got

some minor cuts and burns. I don't see too many
people counting him as a victim of the unibomber, although
I think Terry Maker would probably take issue with it. Sure,
but he was, by all accounts, the first person to
come into contact with the unibomber or one of the
Unibomber's bombs.

Speaker 3 (04:10):
Yeah, he was number one in nineteen seventy eight. That
would go on to be fifteen more bombs over the
seventeen year killing spree. Well, in a way, he killed
three people in the end, wounded many more. And we
won't go through all of the targets, but they ranged

from American Airlines Flight four forty four to the president
of United Airlines, Percy Wood, to a Vanderbilt University secretary,
to a timber industry lobbyist to an advertising executive. Part
of the reason why it was so maddening for so

many years was because there was no rhyme or reason
seemingly to the victims of the Unibomber's wrath.

Speaker 1 (05:00):
No, the one thing that they all shared in common,
and the Unibomber also wrote letters to newspapers during this
whole time. The thing that they had in common was
that they had something to do with technology, or the
advancement of technology, or the destruction of nature, one of
those two. And so these people like that was it.

That was all you had to be doing to be
a target of the unibomber. He was extremely indiscriminate in
picking who lived or died by his hand. And you
have to understand all of these bombs, None of these
bombs were sent to scare people. Every single one of
these bombs, whether they killed somebody or not, were intended
to kill somebody. Who they killed the Unibomber didn't much care.

And you can tell by the kind of insution attitude
he had toward who was targeted, like he would get
names wrong.

Speaker 4 (05:56):

Speaker 1 (05:57):
His last victim a guy named Gilbert Brent Murray. He
was a timber industry lobbyist. He opened the package because
he was the president of the timber industry lobby even
though the package was addressed to his predecessor. The reason
it was addressed to his predecessor was because the Unibomber
had picked the name out of a directory, and it

was an out of date directory. So this guy died
as a result of the bomb.

Speaker 4 (06:24):
You know, that's a very thing to do.

Speaker 2 (06:26):
It really was.

Speaker 1 (06:26):
And I think the unibomber if you talk to the
unibomber today, which you could apparently he's very easy to
get in touch with as and become a pempal of
he would tell you totally fine, like I don't care
who died, Like the head of this timber lobby died.
That was ultimately what I was going for. So he
was killing people who were associated with an idea, a cause,
and the cause that he was opposed to was the

destruction of nature and the advancement of technology.

Speaker 3 (06:53):
Right, So we're talking obviously about Ted Kaczinski. It was
the man's real name and early on innineteen seventy nine,
right after these attacks started happening, the Postal Service, the ATF,
and the FBI got together formed a task course and
that's where they came up with the name unibomb unabom

stood for University Airline bombings, Yeah, because those were the
first bombs that were sent.

Speaker 1 (07:19):
And I guess the name of the case was by
the FBI, but the name Unibomber was made up by
the media covering it, right.

Speaker 4 (07:26):
Yeah, that's usually the case. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (07:29):
In the end, it would become the longest running at
the time. I don't know if it's been outdone yet,
but longest running and most expensive FBI investigation in history.
Eventually had one hundred and fifty full time employees on
the case, which is amazing. And he was tough to

tough to get and you know, he had no forensic
evidence left behind.

Speaker 4 (07:53):
He was very careful.

Speaker 3 (07:55):
He used bombs that were made out of materials that
were easy to find, you couldn't track them.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
He made all of them by hand, painstaking lee.

Speaker 4 (08:02):
Yeah, made them all by hand.

Speaker 3 (08:03):
Like we said, the victims were chosen seemingly at random,
and had it not been for his manifesto, they may
still be on the lookout for this guy.

Speaker 2 (08:12):

Speaker 1 (08:13):
And even still, the way that they were able to
connect these things was because during this seventeen year campaign
he would write letters to the editors of newspapers around
the country claiming responsibility for these crimes. And then I
think half of the bombs had the inscription FC on

parts that were recovered, and FC stood for Freedom Club
because the unibomber, didn't call himself the unibomber. Again, that
was the media. All of these things, including the manifesto,
was signed the Freedom Club.

Speaker 4 (08:45):
A club of one right.

Speaker 1 (08:47):
But he always wrote about we whenever he was referring
to himself. Yes, So the whole thing came to a
head in nineteen ninety six when take Hisski was arrested
in his cabin in Lincoln, Montana. He was known to
his neighbors as the Hermit on the Hill, and he'd

lived there for years and years and years, I think
since the early seventies, I believe.

Speaker 3 (09:13):
Yeah, I mean it was a little primitive cabin off grid.
Inside they found about forty thousand pages worth of journals
describing all his crimes. They found bomb parts, they found
a bomb ready to be mailed, and they knew they
had their guy thanks to his brother David turning him
in essentially after reading this manifesto. He was eventually reigned

in Sacramento, which is where the final murder took place,
and he was sent to jail. Initially, he said, now
I don't want to I don't want to be I
don't want to plead insanity. That's a big, big, point, yeah,
because I don't think he would have admitted something like that.
But he tried to kill himself in earlynineteen ninety eight

and his jail cell that triggered a psychiatric evaluation and
he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which triggered a plea
bargain that basically said, you can avoid the death penalty
now if you take this plea bargain. He did, and
in January of nineteen nine eight, he pleaded guilty, accepted
the eight life sentences with no parole, and is now

living with quite a few other famous bombers at the.

Speaker 4 (10:28):
Florence, Colorado Alcatraz.

Speaker 3 (10:29):
Of the Rockies the eight X there, right, which that
place in and of itself is crazy.

Speaker 4 (10:34):
I looked into it.

Speaker 1 (10:36):
Yeah, I feel like it's come up in plenty of
other episodes before, because it certainly sounds familiar. Yeah, So
I was looking into There's this fascinating article called Harvard
in the Making of the Unibomber by a guy named
Alston Chase, who I think wrote a book on it.
But in this article it was so good you read
it too. Oh yeah, So he really kind of lays

out a pretty great case based on evidence that he
compiled from interviews and things like that, that it's definitely
not a slam dunk diagnosis that the unibomber has schizophrenia.
And he also, I don't know if he says it outright,
but he at the very least intimates that it was
Ted Kaczinski's brother David and his legal team that created

the public persona of the Unibombers as a person with
schizophrenia to keep him from getting the death penalty. This
is much, much, much to the chagrin of the unibomber
Ted Kaczinski, who eventually did cop to this plea bargain
because it became clear to him that if he went
to trial, his defense team was going to put in

an insanity defense, whether he liked it or not, and
he was denied the ability to represent himself.

Speaker 2 (11:48):
So he was presented with a choice.

Speaker 1 (11:50):
Either go to trial it plead insanity, maybe get a
lesser defense, but in the meantime his manifesto would be
painted as the ramblings of a madman because he would
be deemed insane or plead guilty and not insane, defend insanity,
and then, in his hopes also by extension, defend his

manifesto and the ideas in it.

Speaker 4 (12:17):
Yeah. So he is still in prison in Colorado.

Speaker 3 (12:20):
Apparently, like you said, he's got a lot of pin
pals because he lived in a tiny, little primitive cabin
for so many years. By all accounts, he has adapted
pretty well to prison life. Being in a small room
is no big deal to him.

Speaker 2 (12:34):
Apparently not.

Speaker 3 (12:35):
And you can actually go to the and I'm going
to totally check this out. I don't know if I
can do it on this upcoming tour, but you can
go see that original cabin at the Newseum in Washington,
d C. And I've looked up pictures and it's kind
of all right there, which is pretty interesting.

Speaker 2 (12:51):
Yeah, the whole thing is just right there in the Newseum.

Speaker 4 (12:55):

Speaker 3 (12:55):
So he was a brilliant guy. Like you said, he
went to Harvard. He's a nash MERIT finalist, he was
a math prodigy, started Harvard at sixteen, had an IQ
or has an IQ of one sixty seven. And it
was just a is just a brilliant, brilliant guy.

Speaker 2 (13:12):
And I think we should take a break getting a tingle.

Speaker 4 (13:17):
And we'll come back and we'll talk. Well, I guess
we should talk about the manifesto.

Speaker 2 (13:22):
Let's all right, right for this.

Speaker 1 (13:51):
All right, Chuck, and we're back and were kind of
left it off on Well, we promised we're about to
talk manifesto, So let's talk manifesto.

Speaker 4 (13:58):

Speaker 3 (13:59):
And after reading the cliffs notes of this thing in
a few different places, one thing is clear is it's
not the ramblings of a madman a b he has
and I hate saying this, but he has a lot
of very salient points about where society is headed due

to technology.

Speaker 1 (14:23):
Or or where it was headed back in the nineties
where it fully is now.

Speaker 3 (14:28):
Yeah, very much ahead of his time, thinking wise. The
way he went about correcting this was not was abhorrent, obviously,
but when you read parts of this thing the industrial
revolution and its consequences, like here, just let me pull
this one for instance. Okay, here's one pull quote. Once

a technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent
on it so that they can never again do without
it unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation.
Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a
new item of technology, but even more, the system as
a whole becomes dependent on it. Does it sound like
anything that everyone carries in their pocket every day exactly.

Speaker 1 (15:13):
And he also points out that like the way that
this happens, this dependence on technology, it comes about because
new technologies seem good and helpful and useful, and then
we eventually adapt ourselves to fit them better. We change
our behavior, we change the way we see things, we

change the way we think and interact with stuff to
fit the technology.

Speaker 2 (15:39):
And his whole idea was that that is the.

Speaker 1 (15:44):
Inevitable outcome from the Industrial Revolution, and that ever since
the Industrial Revolution, our society has been in a stranglehold
at the service of technology and the people who serve technology,
and society has been restructured and reshuffled to the detriment
of the individual human to local communities as a whole,

and that the only way that this is so ingrained
now in our world, the only way to stop this
is to violently overthrow the current system. And he has
a very lase fair attitude about what comes after. He
said that we have no illusions about the feasibility of
creating a new ideal form of society. Our goal only

is to destroy the existing form of society. That was it,
That was the whole reason for his campaign was to
be one of the provocateurs of this revolution that upended
technological society.

Speaker 3 (16:42):
Yeah, here's another assummation of another part of the manifesto
about the social infrastructure that he says is dedicated to
modifying our own behaviors. This infrastructure includes an array of
government agencies with ever expanding police powers and out of
control regulatory system that encourages the limitless multiplication of laws,
an education establishment and stresses conformism. You biquit his television networks.

Who's Fair is essentially an electronic form of value, and
a medical and psychological establishment that promotes the indiscriminate use
of mind altering drugs. So again, I don't want this
to come across that I like look up to this
guy in anyway. But when you read some of the stuff,
you think, Man, if this guy had only reined it in,

he could have done good.

Speaker 2 (17:31):

Speaker 1 (17:31):
I can't remember what the turning point was, but there
was some there was some potential path that he was
on where he could have done this peacefully, and he
pulled back and went went a violent way. And I think,
I think quite rightly that if he were not locked
up for the rest of his life. He would he
would keep sending bombs out, he would not stop. No,

because he's he doesn't he's not a.

Speaker 2 (17:57):
A moral agent.

Speaker 1 (17:58):
He is rational agent, and he sees this as a
rational and to the means, to his means, which is
taking out people who may or may not be in
a position to advance technological society.

Speaker 3 (18:11):
Well, yeah, and that's what was That's where the line
the delineation occurs, where he was he's such a smart person.
But that's such a dumb like there's blowing someone up,
is gonna is not gonna halt any innovations or change
the course of where we're.

Speaker 4 (18:28):
Headed as a society.

Speaker 3 (18:30):
Right, it was just I mean to call it misguided
is the understatement of the year.

Speaker 1 (18:35):
So and forgive me for armchair psychologalizing here, but now
you start to get into the idea of whether or
not he was fulfilling or indulging his own desire to kill. Well,
you never know, because if he is thinking about things
like this and he is such a rational person, surely

there would have been other ways to do this that
were either more productive or on the other hand, more destructive, right,
like sending a bomb that might take out one or
two or three people is not. It's and by making
these bombs painstaking lee by hand over the course of
months and probably years, sometimes that's not a very productive

way of achieving this goal. So it makes you wonder
did this guy just want to kill people and that
that coupled with this this view of technological society to
form what we know is the unibomber.

Speaker 3 (19:30):
Well, I think that was probably the case, is he
was angry at where things were headed and he wanted
to take it out on somebody.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
Yeah, but again, I want to go back to this
idea that he is schizophrenic.

Speaker 2 (19:42):
Right, there is a that is not necessarily the case.

Speaker 1 (19:47):
He was given a temporary or provisional or conditional schizophrenic
or diagnosis of schizophrenia by a court ordered psychiatrist forensic psychiatrists,
and that was it. I don't I don't believe she
ever went back and made an official diagnosis. Other people
in the media, other psychiatrists were basically diagnosing them from afar.

Some psychiatrists met with him, but they didn't officially examine him.
So basically, just based on his actions and his manifesto
and what was contained within, he was largely given this
diagnosis of schizophrenia, and I couldn't find anything that said
that he's being treated for schizophrenia now, which is kind

of a big deal because it's a twofold big deal.
One it says it dismisses him as just a complete
madman who is delusional, but it also does a tremendous
disservice to people with schizophrenia because it says, this is
what people with schizophrenia do, They send bombs to people.

They go and live in like Montana alone for thirty
years and send bombs to people the whole time. So
it's doing that same armchair psycho logulizing that I was doing.
Is it's worse if you're an actual psychiatrist, you know?

Speaker 3 (21:06):
Yeah, all right, I think we should talk a little
bit about how this manifesto came to be in public view,
because it's a super interesting sub story in itself. The
great great article from the Washington Post where I got
most of this part, but they make the point in
this article is super interesting to me that the time

that this happened, in the mid to late nineties, it
was a transitionary time in technology in and of itself,
and that the Internet was around, but it wasn't ubiquitous,
and it's not where everyone went for everything, including news.
So the fact that this publishing of the manifesto in
the Washington Post, which we'll talk about in a second,

it says here it was perhaps the last one, the
last newsworthy document to appear only in print, and it's
very ironic considering what he was railing against was that
it was before everyone was getting their news from the internet.
So the fact that they actually it was it was
an era that was it was being forgotten the newspaper,

print in print, and that's how he got his message
out finally by sending packages containing this manifesto to the
New York Times in the Washington Post in June of
nineteen ninety five.

Speaker 1 (22:22):
Yeah, so they each one got a package one day
after the other, and the one to the Post had
a return name and address Boon Long Ho thirty six,
nine Renoso Court, San Jose, California, nine to five one
three six. And it turns out that that address and
that person it was a He was a CFO of

a Thai circuit board maker whose headquarters were in San Jose. Yeah,
that was the address for that. So they you can
imagine that Boon Long Ho was pretty nervous, yeah, because
rather than being like the recipient of a bomb, he
was supposedly the center of this manifest to the Washington Post.
But the FBI investigated and quickly cleared Boon long Ho

and the Post and the Time suddenly had a decision
to make because in this package with this manifesto was
a letter that said, if you published this, I will
stop killing people. If you don't, I'm going to start,
or we will start making our next bomb.

Speaker 3 (23:23):
Yeah, so they obviously got in touch with the FBI.
The FBI took one look at the letter and said,
I think this is from the un obomber. They went, duh,
of course it is. There is no well there Actually,
they didn't know at the time how many people were
sending these bombs, but they met with They had three
meetings i think with the FBI's director at the time,

Lewis Free, and the task force. And then two out
of those three meetings, Attorney General Janet Reno came.

Speaker 2 (23:52):
That it's like such a nineties meeting nineties Lewis Free
and Jane Arena.

Speaker 3 (23:57):
Oh yeah, yeah for sure. So they said, listen, we're
not in the safety business. We're not experts on this.
You tell us what you think we should do, and
then we'll make our mind up what we should do. Basically,
everyone said you should probably publish this because A we
can maybe tag and track newspapers in northern California where we.

Speaker 4 (24:17):
Think he might be. B. Maybe someone will recognize this
guy and come forward. Was there a C.

Speaker 2 (24:25):
No, it's the same b okay.

Speaker 1 (24:27):
And so this is a note to all potential manifesto writers. Yeah,
if you are trying to keep your identity a secret,
probably refrain from publishing your thirty five thousand word manifesto
because you're going to out yourself. And that's exactly what
happened with Ted Kaczynski. The Washington Post and The New

York Times agreed to do this. Actually, the New York
Times is like, why don't you do it. We'll just
half the cost of printing and distribution.

Speaker 3 (24:58):
Yeah, I thought that was pretty interesting. They didn't both
want to, but the Post said we'll do it if
you go have these, which is adorable, and they did.
And then they said here's what we'll do. Though, we're
not going to just put it in the newspaper. We're
going to print it in a special section with its
own type face, and it became a sensation. Like people

wanted copies of this thing, like extra copies for themselves,
wrote the newspaper, and they're like, we don't have any
other copies, And like we said, this is the last
time that this was sort of a viable Like now
anyone can throw anything on the internet. So it was
a really interesting time in the course of humanity that
this thing came out.

Speaker 1 (25:38):
As far as like mad bombers go. Having the Washington
Post print your thirty five thousand word manifesto is pretty prestigious.
Oh yeah, especially at that time. I can't decide whether
it be more prestigious today because anybody can just put
it out.

Speaker 2 (25:54):
On the internet.

Speaker 1 (25:55):
Probably so, But yeah, but I think at the time,
I mean, like newspapers were at still at the height
of their influence, you know, yeah, who knows, but at
the very you can imagine take Kazinsky's surprise and delight
when the Times published this thing. And like you said,
it was a sensation. But it made its way into
the hands of Linda Patrick, who was actually a childhood

friend of David Kaczinski and now his wife, and she
noticed this or She read this manifesto and said this
sounds an awful lot like your brother Teddy to David,
and he read it and he said, oh no.

Speaker 3 (26:35):
Should we take a break? Yeah, all right, that's it, man,
what a cliffhanger.

Speaker 2 (26:39):
Nice work.

Speaker 4 (26:40):
Thanks all right, good cliffhanger.

Speaker 2 (27:09):
Thank you. I feel like we're dangling by our fingernails.

Speaker 3 (27:13):
So where we left off was Linda Patrick, wife of Well,
sister in law of the unibomber, wife of David, who
was the younger brother, said take a look at this.
David read it and said, this sounds very much like
my brother. In fact, there was a term what was
the term that he used that was sort of a

dead giveaway.

Speaker 2 (27:35):
Cool headed logicians.

Speaker 4 (27:37):
Yeah, that's not something you hear every day.

Speaker 2 (27:40):
I don't use that very frequently.

Speaker 4 (27:41):

Speaker 3 (27:42):
So he saw that, and I think I can't imagine
just the stomach churning, sinking feeling that he got right
when he saw those three words, especially.

Speaker 1 (27:52):
Yeah, like you said, that was the dead giveaway. I
think if you put the whole thing together. Though he
had been he and his family had been receiving, actually
he hadn't leading up to I think nineteen eighty nine.
He had been receiving letters from his brother about the
same stuff, So I think even without that term, he
probably would have been pretty convinced.

Speaker 2 (28:14):
But he was convinced enough to go.

Speaker 1 (28:17):
His wife, Linda, contacted a friend who was an investigator
for a lawyer, and this woman kind of took charge
of this and hired like a criminal profiler who looked
at the letters from Ted and then the unibomber manifesto
and said, I'm pretty sure this is the same guy.
They hired another lawyer who represented the family, and they

went to the FBI and said, we think we know
who the unibomber is.

Speaker 4 (28:43):

Speaker 3 (28:43):
I thought that was interesting in that he didn't go
right to the FBI, like he took it. It seems like
I don't know how much time, but it said weeks. Yeah,
I went through a lot of effort privately to suss
out whether or not they thought it was legit.

Speaker 4 (28:57):
I mean, I think he didn't.

Speaker 3 (28:58):
I mean, by all accounts, he didn't want to do that,
and he was even worried what his mother would think.
And finally the mother did say, you know. She took
his head in her hands and kissed him and basically
was like, I know you loved Ted and you had
to do this.

Speaker 2 (29:12):
Basically, she said, I knew it was Eufredo.

Speaker 3 (29:17):
So now we should jump back in time and sort
of explain the relationship with David and Ted and how
they got here because they were estranged for twenty years
before this. Interestingly, you know, we talked about had he
not decided to start sending bombs, he could have led
a more productive life.

Speaker 2 (29:36):
Oh easily.

Speaker 3 (29:38):
But David was sort of cut from the same cloth,
like they bought this land together in Montana.

Speaker 1 (29:45):
Hold on, I want to say something here, Chuck. You
just said that he could have led a more productive life.
I said that he could have been more productive earlier too.
Do you realize what we're talking about is we're saying
that he could have better fit into the technological system
that he was railing.

Speaker 3 (30:01):
Or not, or maybe have been an outspoken advocate in
a productive way on Facebook.

Speaker 1 (30:06):
Shit, there you go, Sorry for interrupting. Has had to
point there.

Speaker 3 (30:10):
No, that's all right. So they originally had bought this
land in Montana together. They both had these sort of
similar ideals about removing themselves from society. For David, though,
it was like back to nature, getting out of the
the hustle and bustle.

Speaker 2 (30:26):
Of the world to find himself, to.

Speaker 3 (30:28):
Find himself like a spiritual journey. For Ted, it seems
very much like I don't like people. Yeah, he was
a bit of a misanthrope. And they even have stories
dating back to when he was like seven years old,
when David asked mom, like, what's wrong with Teddy? Like
when people come over to visit, he runs to the
attic and hides something's wrong. And his mom said, you

know what, when he was a baby, he was hospitalized
for a few days with a rash and being separated
from us for those few days is what is caused this.

Speaker 1 (30:58):
So and then she says, so, don't ever abandon Teddy.

Speaker 2 (31:02):
That's what he fears the most.

Speaker 4 (31:03):
Right, Yeah, not quite true actually, So.

Speaker 1 (31:06):
She lays that on this kid, and this is like
her his older brother that she's talking to him about,
you know. But he said that as they grew up,
he was kind of like Ted's entree into socialization, Like
David would go to parties, and I get the impression
that Ted would kind of tag along even though he was.

Speaker 2 (31:25):
The older brother.

Speaker 1 (31:26):
But that's not to say that David didn't. He says
that he looked up to Ted, and Ted was just
this whiz kid, wonder boy, genius when it came to math. Yeah,
you said he went to Harvard at sixteen. Like, say
that again, man, he went to Harvard at age sixteen.

Speaker 3 (31:45):
Yeah, I think he got like in master's and his
PhD in math by the time he was like twenty
or twenty one or something.

Speaker 1 (31:53):
Okay, Yeah, so this guy was a mathematical genius who,
from what the Atlantic article by Austin Chase says, kind
of lays a lot of a lot of this at
his dad's feet for pushing him. Yeah, at a very
early age to become like to go to Harvard, to
jump a couple grades in school, that kind of stuff.

So he was already you could say, misanthropic, potentially socially maladjusted.

Speaker 2 (32:22):
Who knows. He wasn't like the.

Speaker 1 (32:25):
Most easygoing kid on the block, but supposedly once you
got to do him, especially if you were a grown
up and not one of his peers, he was very
easy to be around.

Speaker 2 (32:34):

Speaker 3 (32:35):
Yeah, so little brother David, he looks up to Ted,
he tries to go to Harvard, is rejected, and then,
like I said, they bought this land together. Ted builds
this cabin. David later on says, well, can I build
a cabin? You know, I want to build a cabin
on this land too. Ted was like, no way, dude,
this is my cabin and my land. So David, I'm sure, was,

you know, very disappointed. He goes finds it his own
land in West Texas, built his cabin and they corresponded
for many years, one thousand miles apart, about their journeys
toward living off grid and getting back to nature.

Speaker 2 (33:12):

Speaker 1 (33:13):
I think he lived just like Ted did for at
least eight years, I believe. And then he said his
brother disowned him when he sent a letter saying that
he was moving out of the Forbidden Zone into upstate
New York to go marry Linda Patrick.

Speaker 2 (33:31):

Speaker 4 (33:31):
Yeah, I think he thought he was a sellout basically.

Speaker 2 (33:34):
That's what I get too.

Speaker 1 (33:35):
He sent him, like I think, a blistering twenty page
letter saying I'm done with you. We're done, and that
was it. That was the last contact that he had
had aside from one letter after their dad was diagnosed
with lung cancer. That was the only contact he'd had.
So he hasn't spoken to his brother, corresponded really with

his brother since nineteen eighty nine.

Speaker 3 (33:58):
Yeah, they had this system worked out where if there
was a family emergency, then David was to put a line,
draw a line under the stamp of the letter, and
that's the only thing that he would open. If you
send me any other letters, I'll burn them. And if
you take advantage of this system and fool me by
putting a line under it and it's not an emergency,

then I'm never going to open a letter again. So
he did send that one letter with a line under
the stamp about his father. Ted didn't even reply except
to say thank you for sticking to our system, and
he didn't even mention the fact that their father was dying.

Speaker 1 (34:33):
Right, So that was the last time they corresponded. Yeah,
that was in nineteen ninety four, but that was it
for the correspondence from basically from eighty nine onward, David
and Ted were estranged. And so come nineteen ninety five,
David's already not spoken with his brother for six years,
and now he suddenly has faced with this idea of

turning his brother in. Yeah, knowing that he's probably going
to get the death penalties. So when they finally did
go to the the FBI, and the FBI had their
own linguistic analysis done on these letters and they.

Speaker 2 (35:06):
Said, yeah, this is the guy.

Speaker 1 (35:09):
David started this campaign to paint his brother as mentally
ill in order to thwart the federal prosecutors from seeking
the death penalty. So apparently they told him that they
wouldn't and then they reneged on that, and he felt
extremely betrayed, so much so that he's apparently a crusader

for an anti death penalty activist now based on that
betrayal from the federal prosecutors.

Speaker 4 (35:38):
Yeah, this is amazing. He works.

Speaker 3 (35:40):
He's the head of the New Yorkers Against the Death
Penalty group. And get this, I know you know this
talking to everyone else.

Speaker 2 (35:47):

Speaker 3 (35:47):
His closest friend, his bestie is Gary Wright, who is
one of the computer store owners in Utah who was
a victim of Ted.

Speaker 2 (35:55):
Yeah, they became good friends.

Speaker 3 (35:59):
Friend, two pieces of shrapnel lodge in his body from
one of Ted's bombs, and now he and David Kazinski
are best buds.

Speaker 1 (36:06):
And so also from that same bomb that was nineteen
eighty seven, one of.

Speaker 2 (36:13):
Is it Gary, right?

Speaker 4 (36:15):
Gary us bonds?

Speaker 2 (36:17):
No, Gary Wright?

Speaker 4 (36:18):

Speaker 1 (36:18):
I think Okay, Gary Wright's employee is the woman who
saw the unibomber and gave that description to this sketch artist. Wow,
I know that was a turning point in a bunch
of people's lives right there.

Speaker 4 (36:32):
Yeah, that sketch didn't even look like him really.

Speaker 1 (36:33):
Though, I've seen people be like, gosh, it's the spinning
image of them. It's like, no, once you have oversized
aviators on and it doesn't look like anybody. Yeah, So
David turns on his brother Ted. Kazinski's arrested on April third,
nineteen ninety six. He pleads guilty in nineteen ninety eight,
and he's been serving his eight consecutive life sentences ever since.

And recently there was a big few were I think
in twenty twelve or thirteen. When the twenty twelve I
guess because it would have been his fiftieth class reunion. Yeah, Harvard,
the people running his class, in publishing the class directory,
reached out to him like they did everybody.

Speaker 2 (37:16):
Else in the class.

Speaker 1 (37:17):
That's crazy and send him a form to fill out,
and he filled it out and sent.

Speaker 2 (37:21):
It back in and they published it.

Speaker 4 (37:24):

Speaker 3 (37:24):
He said his job was a prisoner and that he
he listed his that was it eight life sentences as awards.

Speaker 1 (37:33):
Yeah, and gave his address at the Florence, Colorado super
Max facility. And it was a huge Obviously, it was
a huge embarrassment for Harvard because they were not paying
attention and a bit of a scandal too. I think
Ted Kazinski probably thought it was hilarious.

Speaker 3 (37:52):
Yeah, should we finish with a little dy new mom
about this weird Harvard experiment?

Speaker 2 (37:57):
Only if you say d new Ma again, all.

Speaker 3 (38:01):
Right, So going back in time once again to follow
fifty nine through spring of nineteen sixty two, there was
an experiment at Harvard University led by psychologist Henry Murray
and how they describe it here in this article as
a disturbing and what would now be seen as ethically
indefensible experiment on twenty two undergrads. They each undergrad that

took part. Ted Kazinski was one of them, had had
a code name for the purposes of anonymity, and ironically
Ted Kazinski's was Lawful was his code name. So basically
what would happen is is they would get it. It
was interrogation is what they would go through. So they

would go into a room, they would go downstairs, to
this basement room and then a voice would say, you know,
enter the room. They would enter the room, they would
sit down and be faced with a spotlight that would
blind them in an otherwise dark room. And then they
would sit in front of a board of inquisitors that

would order them to do things kind of start slow
and then eventually build up to where they're screaming and
yelling at these kids, these in Ted's case, I guess,
like sixteen seventeen years old, and berating them basically.

Speaker 1 (39:23):
And this was not just like you you dressed like
a slob, or you know, your mother's meat loaf is terrible,
like part step one of all is this was that
you're you were supposed to talk about some of your
most deeply held beliefs, Yeah, the most treasured beliefs in
values and views on things.

Speaker 2 (39:43):
And then these.

Speaker 1 (39:44):
These inquisitors, who were actually like like law student graduate students,
would would harangue you over your beliefs and explain to
you why they were so stupid and why you were
such a useless human being for holding these beliefs. And
the whole point of this, the entire point was to
find out the psychological limits for humiliation and stress brought

on by humiliation and when people would crack. And this
is not a one time thing that he went and
did for extra credit. This was carried out over three years. Again,
the kids sixteen at the time. He's already socially awkward.
He's already isolated from his peers just by the virtue

of his intelligence, let alone his personal choices at being
isolated from everybody, and he's being harangued by like these
people about his most deeply held beliefs. His brother David
said in another article, he doesn't believe that that had
anything to do with creating the UNI bomber. Plenty of
other people are like, no, I'm not so sure about that.

Speaker 3 (40:46):
Well, here's what I think. And what was the name
of the article from the Atlantic. Did Harvard create the unibomber?

Speaker 2 (40:52):
Harvard and the making of the unibomber?

Speaker 3 (40:54):
Yeah, it certainly didn't help, especially when he had this
core belief system that was so firmly entrenched. For to
sit in a room for three years off and on
and be criticized and screamed at and called a liar
and denigrated like that, I'm sure it did not help.

Speaker 1 (41:11):
Yeah, supposedly it wasn't a very relativistic person. It was
things were black and white, and if you believe something
was right, it was right. So to have it as
sailed like that, yeah, surely it had some effect somewhere.

Speaker 3 (41:24):
It just couldn't well, I mean, ka Ted Kazinski later
said that Harvard were the worst years of his life.

Speaker 1 (41:30):
Yeah, so in some small way, I guess he got
him back by getting that published in the directory and
embarrassing the class.

Speaker 4 (41:37):

Speaker 3 (41:39):
Yeah, revenge is a meal best serve of cold through
a tiny slot in a metal.

Speaker 2 (41:43):
Door, doing eight life sentences.

Speaker 1 (41:45):
Yeah, if you got anything else.

Speaker 4 (41:49):
I got nothing else. Man. That was a good one,
it really was.

Speaker 2 (41:52):
And again I think it bears repeating.

Speaker 1 (41:54):
Nothing about what we've said that agreed with the unibomber
and his theories has anything to do with agreeing with
violence of any kind, especially indiscriminate random killing of people
with bombs through the mail. It's probably the most cowardly
way you could injure or hurt anybody. So we don't
agree with that at all. It's fine to say it

one more time, Yeah, for sure. If you want to
know more about the unibomber, it's all over the place
you can go. Type that word you N A B
O M B E R in your favorite search bar
and it will bring up lots of stuff. And in
the meantime, it's time for listener mail.

Speaker 4 (42:35):
I'm going to call this subway episode.

Speaker 3 (42:39):
Remember we release our selects on Saturdays, and I believe this.

Speaker 4 (42:44):
I don't know if it was this one of your picks.

Speaker 3 (42:45):
No, I guess it was mine then on Subways. So
it's an old episode, but a recent re release. O La,
Josh and Chuck. I'm in Andrea from Mexico. I've been
listening to your podcast for a bit over a year now,
but it's first time I'm writing in I listened to
and even though it's a rerun, I really wanted to
comment because I have some fun facts. As you mentioned
in the episode, sometimes digging for subways has led to

curious discoveries. In case of Mexico City, the digging of
the metro led to the discovery of a lot of
the remains of the Aztec city. Even though it was
common knowledge that the Spanish city had been built over
the ruins of Oh here we go, Tina.

Speaker 4 (43:22):
Titlan, that was pretty much it close.

Speaker 3 (43:26):
It was only when excavation started in the sixties that
they could uncover a whole underground world. Since then, they
have uncovered more than twenty thousand archaeological objects and continue
to find new things to this day. If you have
a chance to walk around the city center, you may
find the Templo Mayor right beside the Spanish Cathedral. Who
else can say their everyday commute includes walking by the

altar of eh catal Nice, god of wind. Anyway, I
think these are very interesting fun facts that I wanted
to share with you and the fellow listeners. Maybe one
day you can do how Mexico City works episode. The
history of the city is super interesting. I think it's amazing.
You can literally see the layers of time in the
city today. And she attaches some pictures and this is

Andrea Gonzalez and man, we should do a show in
Mexico City. Sure, man, I bet you we could get
a thousand people.

Speaker 2 (44:18):
We we'll find out.

Speaker 4 (44:19):
Into a room.

Speaker 3 (44:20):
I know we haven't delved outside of English speaking countries before,
but I bet you, of all the cities, we could
probably do so in Mexico City.

Speaker 2 (44:28):

Speaker 1 (44:28):
If Morrissey does good in Mexico City, I'm sure we
could too.

Speaker 4 (44:31):
That's kind of we try and model our career after Maz.

Speaker 2 (44:34):
Did you see that picture she sent?

Speaker 1 (44:36):
Yeah, the altar of the wind God. I'm like humans
were sacrificed on that. Yeah, that's insane that you just
walk past that on.

Speaker 2 (44:44):
Your way to the subway every day. I know, it's
pretty interesting.

Speaker 1 (44:48):
Well, if you want to tell us about your interesting commute,
we always want to hear stuff like that. You can
tweet to us at sysk podcast. You can send us
an email The Stuff podcast at HowStuffWorks dot com. As
always joined us at our home on the web, stuffishoudo
dot com.

Speaker 4 (45:06):
Stuff you Should Know is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 3 (45:09):
For more podcasts my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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