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A Killer Deal - the Story of the First Modern Domestic Terrorist

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A Killer Deal:

The Story of the First Modern Domestic Terrorist

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By: Joseph Kang

  1. The Situation
  2. Life of the Unabomber
  3. The Manifesto
  4. The Key Players
  5. The Terms
  6. The Options and Alternatives
  7. The Resolution
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works Cited

  1. The Situation

In 1995, a man named Ted Kaczynski, notoriously known as the Unabomber mailed a letter to the well-known newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post and laid down the terms to one of the most notorious deals in criminal history. He would stop his 17-year operation of elusive mail bombing attacks and cease all other terroristic activities if the Times or any other well-known newspaper would publish his personal “Manifesto” titled Industrial Society and its Future. This 35,000-word manifesto illuminated his views on the evils of modern industrialized society and his opposition to an increasingly technologically driven world. For the select few individuals that were forcibly thrusted into this situation, an ethical dilemma of massive proportions was in their hands. The impetus of making the right decision was paramount, with far-reaching repercussions that could potentially affect an entire nation’s well-being. If the Unabomber was to be believed, the power to save lives was now in the hands of the newspapers and the journalists. If the Unabomber is lying, then the newspapers would have ceded control of their organization to the sadistic demands of a terrorist. Even with all this in mind, the situation also offered a sliver of glimmering hope that the end to nearly two decades of untraceable terror and fear was in reach, with only a simple request to make a terrorist’s life philosophy and inner beliefs widely known to the world standing in the way. To top it all off, the Unabomber made it clear that it must be done in the next three months or else the bombings and killings will continue.

  1. The Life of the Ted Kaczynski “the Unabomber”

The Unabomber’s bold and unconventional request to spread his “Manifesto” as the conclusion of his terror campaign was a decision that ultimately could only be explained by closely examining his life and development. The story of the Unabomber begins with an unfulfilling childhood, repressed anger, and social ostrasization. Ted by all standards at the time was raised by an ordinary immigrant Polish Catholic family and had one young brother named David, who he remained close to amidst the chaos throughout his life. Even from a young age, Ted displayed signs of superior intelligence from a very young age. “A neighbor said Teddy was in grade school when Wanda began reading him articles from Scientific American that a college student might find challenging. But with her help, he seemed to grasp concepts with ease (NY Times).”

By the time Ted was 10 and in fifth grade, his intellectual gifts were obvious to both his peers and his teachers, both leading to, or creating a situation where he was a loner and ostracized from his peers. And with this pattern of behavior being established early on, Ted’s combination of genius and emotional and social handicaps followed him into adolescence.  By high school, Ted’s status as social loner and boy genius had been sealed in stone, as observed by his teachers who stated that he was far ahead in all subjects like mathematics and science. However, his emotional development and social interactions also seemed to be far behind his peers as described by one teacher as “while the math club would sit around talking about the big issues of the day, Ted would be waiting for someone to fart." However, most teachers who taught Ted spoke that he was rather quiet and affable, with the potential of developing the next theoretical math theorem or winning a Nobel prize. This was the troubled boy genius that would enter the esteemed halls of Harvard University at the young age of 16. However, it is important to note that Ted’s story is not unlike the stories of many troubled individuals with superior intellects, facing challenges fitting in with social conventions while struggling with making emotional connections. In actuality, the story of the formation of the Unabomber began on the college campus of Harvard University in the fall of 1958.

At the young age of 16, Ted Kaczynski, a brilliant but extremely vulnerable boy entered the venerable halls of Harvard College. Being two years younger than his peers, the pattern of alienation and ostrasization continued. For the first two years of college, Ted was a very average student, earning average grades and being undistinguished in academics.  It was at this extremely lonely time in his life that he met professor Henry Murray, a famed psychologist who who came to the university after training spies for the CIA during World War II. Ted quickly found solace and friendship in Professor Murray, a seemingly rewarding and productive relationship between young student and knowledgeable professor, someone who Ted regarded as receptive towards his views and opinions. Dr. Henry Murray was the chairman of Harvard University’s Department of Social Relations and at the time was devising an experiment for the Office of Strategic Services (Later the CIA) which would test an applicant’s ability to withstand harsh interrogation. Exploiting his relationship with young Ted, Dr. Henry Murray chose to subject Theodore Kaczynski to a series of exceedingly stressful, ethically deplorable experiments that would eventually form the basis of MK ULTRA and Project Monarch, a CIA operative that used trauma to gain mass mind control. The intent of the experiment was to undermine the students’ sense of self-worth by subjecting them to intense aggressive verbal attack. Murray himself described the intensive interrogation the students were subjected to as ‘vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive’ attacks that assaulted the subjects’ egos and most cherished ideals and beliefs. (AHRP).” According to Dr. Alston Chase, writer of the novel Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist, the undergraduates were asked to write an autobiographical essay describing their most personal beliefs and aspirations, as well as their deepest sexual desires. As he describes,

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