It was 20 years ago Saturday that the world awoke to a strange treatise published in print by The Washington Post. The piece espoused extreme hatred for technology, what the manifesto’s author described as the “industrial-technological system” that would someday end up “depriving people of dignity and autonomy.”
The author turned out to be Theodore John Kaczynski, the Unabomber. He infamously sent the manuscript to the Post and The New York Times, saying if they published his rant against technology, he would stop killing and maiming people with letter bombs. After consulting with the FBI, the newspapers jointly published the manuscript, a move based largely on the belief that doing so could end the nearly two-decade long killing spree and perhaps lead to the author’s capture.
The Unabomber’s brother, David, read the published manuscript, realized it was his brother, and turned him in. Suddenly, the nation’s longest and costliest manhunt for a domestic terrorist was over. The Unabomber is serving three life terms in connection to a nearly two-decade terror spree that injured 23 people and killed three others in the United States between 1978 and 1995. He was labeled the Unabomber because his main targets were university scholars and others associated with science and technology.