Last Act for the Unabomber?

I’m working on two longer pieces about the death of Ted Kaczynski—the “Unabomber”—at the age of 81, apparently by suicide. (Start the Jeffrey Epstein jokes if you like.) But there’s one detail included in the New York Times obituary that is worth a special pause:

At a super-maximum-security prison in Colorado, Mr. Kaczynski struck up friendships with inmates in neighboring cells: Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, and Timothy J. McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. Mr. Kaczynski shared books and talked politics with them, and he got to know their birthdays, Yahoo News reported in 2016.

It is a mordant irony that Kaczynski ended up friends with Timothy McVeigh, because McVeigh was the proximate cause of Kaczynski’s undoing. It was only a few days after McVeigh’s massive bomb attack on the Federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that Kaczynski send his next bomb that killed Gilbert Murray in downtown Sacramento (about six blocks from my house at the time, as it happens), and then followed up with his public demand that the media publish his “manifesto,” in exchange for which he promised to stop bombing.

I thought from the beginning that it was professional jealousy that prompted Kaczynski to send his next bomb and go public with a demand for attention. McVeigh and his co-conspirators had just showed up the Unabomber! It is a strange circumstance that they ended up in prison together. I wonder what those conversations were like.

When the manifesto—and more about that in due course—was then published by the New York Times and Washington Post, I was certain that the identity of the Unabomber would soon be figured out at last. Somebody was going to recognize who wrote it. And it turned out to be his brother.

P.S. The FBI found another nearly completed bomb in his shack when they raided it the next year. It is unlikely he was going to keep his promise to stop bombing.

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