The Unabomber | Atomic Pearl | 1American Scandal
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- 1 Dec 2020
Ted Kaczynski faces a painful rejection in high school. Then he endures an abusive psychology experiment at Harvard. Kaczynski may be an academic prodigy, but he feels lonely and out of place. His solution? He's going to get revenge on modern society.Listen to new episodes 1 week early and to all episodes ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App https://wondery.app.link/americanscandal.
One. It's the morning of July 2nd, 1982, Patrick Webb hurries through campus at the University of California, Berkeley. His eyes dart left and right. He spots police cars, a crowd of students. There's yellow crime scene tape stretched across the computer science building. And everywhere, onlookers point and murmur. You all seem to be saying the same thing, that there was an explosion. A big one might have been a bomb. That's why Patrick Webb is here.
Webb is a bomb expert who works for the FBI. He's 37 years old and normally he has an easy smile. But today his expression is grim because he knows the onlookers are right. This could have been a deliberate act of violence. So he needs to move fast. Webb needs to figure out what exactly happened and if there's any evidence of foul play. He and the FBI need to start looking for suspects before it's too late. When it reaches the computer science building and flashes his ID, the officers move aside and Webb ducks beneath the yellow tape as he approaches the building, he's met by another FBI agent.
The two enter together and walk up a stairwell. They exit on the fourth floor and head for the faculty break room. Their web pauses and he stares in horror at the sight. In front of him, chairs like tipped over scorched debris litters the floor. There's a faint smell of coffee in the air, but it's overpowered by the reek of gasoline.
Webb squats down and examines the floor.
There are shards of glass and a metal pipe. He spots fragments of a battery and scraps of parcel paper. There's no question that this was a bomb. Looking at the scraps, this could have been a plastic man filled with gasoline and would have been wrapped in parcel paper as a disguise for the detonator, a pipe bomb with batteries. When someone triggered it, the device would have exploded like one giant Molotov cocktail. Webb rises and turns to the agent who let him in.
So we had a victim. Yeah, the professor. He's got severe burns and might lose some fingers. God, was there a note? Anything. The agent, Hans Weber, Ziploc bag inside is a burnt piece of paper. It's a typewritten note. Is it no ransom, no demands, just. Whew, it works. I told you it would.
No nothing else. Webb grits his teeth and gazes across the destruction. He's never heard of a bombing case without demands. Most bombers ask for money. The return of a political prisoner, something, anything. This is bizarre and not nearly enough to give him a read on the bomber's motivation. As Webb surveys the room, the other agent speaks up. You know, this could be Unabomber, Unabomber. I heard about him at a conference last year. Remember that United Airlines bomb back in 79 almost took down a plane in Chicago that was Unabomber.
He also mailed a bomb to an executive at United Air. What airlines have to do with a break room at UC Berkeley? Well, that's where the Unabomber comes from. The name Unabomber. We believe the same guy is also hitting university professors to send bombs in northwestern Utah, Vanderbilt. So Unabomber University and airline bomber Web taps his foot, stares at the agent. That's a weird connection. You think he did this? I talked to some lab techs of the conference in this bomb here.
Well, this looks exactly like what they describe Web. Exhales If they're dealing with a serial bomber, then things just got a hell of a lot more complicated. But there's still something he can't wrap his head around. He turns back to the other agent. But now tell me something, he sets the explosive in front of a coffee machine. Yeah, right out in plain view. So anyone could have been the victim. Yeah. Yeah. He wasn't going after any single person.
So no target. Just a bomb in the break room. I don't know what the motive could be. Once again, glances around the destroyed room, then it hits him terror. He was going for terror. Web squats back down and gazes at the debris on the floor again, he'll probably be here all night and these may be the only clues he has to work with. They'll be tedious work. But if this is the work of a serial bomber and Webb knows one thing for sure, there will be more explosions and more victims.
So now Webb has just a single goal to track the bomber down before anyone else gets hurt. American scandal is sponsored by Headspace. Life can be stressful even under normal circumstances, but 20/20 has rivaled even the most difficult of times. You need stress relief that goes beyond quick fixes in that headspace. Headspace Headspaces, your daily dose of mindfulness guided meditations in an easy to use app. One of the only meditation apps advancing the field of mindfulness and meditation through clinically validated research.
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Hey everyone, it's MSNBC's Chris Hayes on my podcast. Why is this happening? I talk with uniquely qualified guests about the issues. I don't always have time to cover in-depth on my TV show All in Everything From America's Opioid Crisis to How Creativity Can Flourish Amidst a Pandemic. Stay tuned for a special preview at the end of this episode and search for why is this happening wherever you're listening right now to subscribe to the series.
From one, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American scandal. Political violence is nothing new to America, these extreme measures have been the reaction to a wide variety of issues, from slavery to war to changes in the nation's economy. Those who commit political violence often believe that their actions are the only way to create change, but others only seek to create terror. Whatever the intent, political violence has cost countless lives and loomed as a spectre during troubled times.
From the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, America lived through one of these troubled episodes. A man named Theodore Kaczynski mailed or planted 16 bombs around the country. These devices injured 23 people and killed three and left a nation on edge. Known to the FBI as the Unabomber, Kaczynski railed against technology. He believed that industrial life had harmful effects on the human spirit, and he believed that technology was hurting the planet. He sought to change the world with his bombs.
The manhunt for the Unabomber began in 1979. Over the course of nearly two decades, it would grow into the longest and most expensive case in FBI history. But despite what he become, Ted Kaczynski wasn't born evil.
Still, his experiences in childhood and a college would leave him alienated and angry, and he grew determined to take revenge on everything he despised. This is Episode one, Atomic Pearl. It's the spring of 1957, Ted Kazinsky stands in the hallway of his high school watching students stream past one after the other, they walk by Kazinsky, gossiping, laughing. Kazinsky stares at them and his arms tremble. It seems like all the other students at Evergreen Park High School have friends.
They all seem like they fit into a group, but not Kazinsky. No one seems to notice him. Not today, not ever. Kazinsky runs a hand through his hair. It looks around at least the day, though no one's picking on him. That's a small improvement. Kazinsky leans back against the locker and wait. He knows he has to be one of the most unpopular high school honors in all of Illinois. Probably doesn't help that he skipped two grades.
He's already younger than everyone else. And on top of that, he's small for a 14 year old. And it also doesn't help that most people think he's weird and different. It's true. He likes to think logically, to argue. But every time he gets into these conversations, people seem to clam up and turn away altogether. High school has been a miserable experience. The only exceptions are science class and band. But that's not enough. And Kazinsky has made a decision.
He's going to change things. He's tired of being a loner and being ignored by everyone. He wants to somehow feel like he belongs. And there's one person in particular he wants to get to know. Her name is Joanne. She's beautiful. Today, Kazinsky is going to make a move and he's going to impress her with his greatest strength, his mind.
Kazinsky reaches into his pocket and grab hold of what feels like a small tube of paper. It's a firecracker called an atomic pearl. And he made it himself at home last night. He carefully twisted a little piece of paper into the shape of a barbell. On one end, he placed Timonium on the other end iodine. When you untwist the paper, the crystals mix and then they explode. Anyone who sees the invention will be wildly impressed. And there's one person he wants to impress most.
That's why he's going to give the firecracker to Joanne. Kazinsky sees Joanne approach her locker. Her brown curls frame a heart shaped face. Kazinsky walks up and she looks at him with a weak smile. Then he reaches into his pocket and hands her the firecracker and squints at the gift. That's why she should open it. But Kazinsky says she just needs to trust him. Joanne is reluctant, but finally she untwist the paper. There's a sudden pop and the firecracker explodes, sending a wisp of purple smoke into the air.
Joanne shrieks and jumps back. Nearby, students stop and stare. Joanne's eyes are wide open, in shock, and for a moment, Kazinsky feel his knees go weak. Suddenly, this seems like it was a terrible idea. What was he thinking? Joanne is scared and now it feels like the whole school is watching him judging. But then Joanne starts laughing and Kazinsky feels the blood return to his face, he grins back. Pretty neat, huh? Joanne nods, but then she warns him to be careful.
This could get him in trouble. Ted smiles and shakes his head. He says there's no way that'll happen. He's too smart to get caught. The two stand in silence and then Kazinsky begins to feel lightheaded because he knows this is his moment to make a move. He's not scared anymore. He has to take action. So Kazinsky blurts out an invitation. He asked Joanne if she wants to see a movie this weekend. She stiffens and stammers that she's busy this weekend.
But Kazinsky isn't ready to give up. So he asks. About next weekend, Joanne inches away, clutching her binder. She apologizes and says she has tennis lessons next weekend and she should really get to class. Now, Kazinsky is about to ask if she's actually taking tennis lessons all weekend, but before he can get the words out, Joanne is gone now. Alone in the hallway, Kazinsky slams against the locker. He thought the atomic pearl was his best hope.
He feels deflated, ready to give up, but he also knows he can't go on like this. He's a loner without any friends or prospects for a girlfriend. He has to do something, something else. Soon after Joanne walks away, Kazinsky hears the bell and takes off for class, but then he gets the feeling that he's not alone. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots a student from his chemistry class. Boy, six feet tall with facial hair already.
He's beefy and wears a letterman's jacket. As the student approaches, Ted cringes. Instinctively, he knows that something bad is about to happen. He hurries up trying to get away, but the student hurries after him and grabs Kazinski by the shoulder because then he goes limp as the boy steps in front of him. But then something completely unexpected happens. The big student shoots Kazinsky a big smile and he says the kazinsky is pretty smart. He saw that little bomb.
He wants to know how to make something like that because as he looks at the ground and asks if the boy is serious, Boy says he is.
And so with his eyes still on the floor, Kazinsky start to explain that it's not a bomb, it's just a firecracker. And there's a difference between the two.
Kazinsky begins to explain what the big student interrupts him. He says it doesn't matter. What does matter is that he's got a proposition. If Kazinsky can give him the recipe to make a bomb, he'll put in a good word with some girls. He likes Kazinsky in the eye and asks, Is it a deal? Kazinsky Swallow's? He wants a girlfriend more than anything in the world. So he looks up, nods and then explains the recipe for a bomb.
The student punches him in the arm and runs off, saying he's going to tell everyone the kazinsky is cool. Kazinsky stands there suddenly feeling a glow like some religious halo because he knows that this is the start of a new day. A year later, a Pontiac pulls into the parking lot at Evergreen Park High, it sputters as it comes to a stop. Tork Kozinski steps out of the car and looks up at the school building. He shakes his head, feeling annoyed.
This building looks fine. There's no sign of damage from the event. Last year when some Jocke blew out the windows during chemistry class, the boy blamed it all on Turk son Ted. Remembering all those accusations and all of those school meetings, Turk still gets angry. But he's in a better mood today as he's back on campus for a different reason. Ted's band teacher, Mr. Oberto, has invited him to a meeting. Turkey is certain that the teacher wants to offer some well-earned congratulations.
Ted is only 15 years old, but he was just admitted to Harvard, the most prestigious college in the country. It's true that Ted has no real friends. Turki's tried to whip him into shape and call him sick and emotionally disturbed. He knew this hurt Ted, but the boy needed to hear it in order to shape up. Still, despite his flaws, there's no question that Ted is a genius. As Turkey steps into the band room, a few students are warming up and then he notices Mr.
Oberto, who approaches with a generous smile. Mr. Kazinsky, hello. Please grab a seat. The two pull up a pair of plastic chairs and turn gazes across the classroom. How's the band this year? Ted says you're his favorite teacher. Well, that's that's very flattering. He's a special kid. A special is an understatement. I'm guessing you heard he got into Harvard. Oberto pauses, suddenly looking weary. Yes. That's actually why I asked you in today.
I don't know exactly how to say this, but what have you considered that maybe Harvard isn't right for Ted? You're kidding me. The boy's got an IQ of 167. Yeah, Ted is clearly brilliant. But but emotionally, well, he's just not as mature as other seniors. And I don't think it helps to skip him to grades. I mean, you take the bomb last year, that wasn't Ted's fault. All he did was share some basic science.
Regardless, it shows poor judgment. Plus, Harvard's hundreds of different social sphere students there come from a certain class, Churchville says, face Grocott. Just because I make a living making sausages, that means my son isn't good enough for Harvard. I see. I see. You know where Ted gets his IQ from? From me. Well, I don't doubt that, Mr. Brzezinski. But but there's an elite of them at Harvard that has nothing to do with intelligence.
And in Harvard, it's just a pressure cooker for anyone, let alone someone so young. Have you considered Oberlin College? I suggested because it's got an excellent music program. TURC stares at the music teacher. You can't believe this man thinks he can just intrude on their lives. Mr. Kazinsky, I'm going to be blunt. I know you're proud of. Damn right I am. What you pride will doom him. Harvard is not in his best interest.
Turn bolts up. He can't take it anymore, you know what's not in his best interest? Having to listen to idiots like you. Before Roberto can, protester throws open the door and stalks out, he took off work today and for what? To have his judgment questioned. Evergreen Park thinks a dead end school he should have expected this term gets into his car and slams it in gear. As he pulls out of the parking lot, he makes a promise to himself, his boys going to Harvard.
That's final. Later that year in the summer of 1958, Ted Kaczynski stands on his front lawn waiting impatiently. He desperately wants to get in the car and finally head off to Harvard. But first, he has to deal with his parents. His mother is making a huge fuss. She's trying to get a photograph of what she keeps calling Teddy's big day. Ted scowls that she and his father fidget with a camera. Ted is, of course, excited about Harvard.
For the first time in his life, you'll be able to meet people just like him. Smart, curious about the world. It'll be a different universe than Evergreen Park, Illinois. Maybe he'll even meet a girl. He also can't wait to get away from his parents. His mother, Wanda, is always telling him what to do. Join a club, try and make friends this way or that way. Even today, she's trying to control everyone.
She made him dress up in a sports jacket just for the photo. And she did the same for Ted's little brother, David. The boy is barely nine. And here on the front lawn, he looks miserable. In an oversized jacket, Ted watches his mother struggle to tame David's cowlick. When he can't stand it anymore, he barks at her to take the picture. Finally, the family lines up. There's a click and the photos done. Ted exhales He's ready to leave.
But first, want to pull him aside and says she wants to talk for just a minute. Ted groans You can hear it in her tone. He's about to get another pep talk. And sure enough, Wanda says she knows he had a rough time in high school, especially socially. But Harvard will be better. Ted mutters to himself and starts to walk away. But his mother grabs his sleeve surprisingly hard and she looks right into his eyes, says that she's proud of him and she hopes her head hates this.
He doesn't understand why people are always touching, so he just stands there stiffly. Finally, Wanda pulls away and says, I love you, Teddy. Ted rolls his eyes, says he's in college now. It's Theodore Teddy. His mother looks hurt, but she repeats the message, I love you, Theodore. And grudgingly, he says that he also loves her. The front door of the house swings open and Ted's father, TURC, comes bounding down the steps.
He says they're going to be late. Ted breaks free from his mom and tosses the suitcase in the back of the car before she can hug him again. He jumps in the passenger seat, locks the door. Ted sees his brother David standing in the doorway. That gives a quick wave and then turns away as his father starts the car. Soon, their little brick house disappears into the distance. Ted feels himself relaxed for the first time in months, maybe years.
Finally, he's leaving Evergreen Park Town full of small headed people, people who are never smart enough to understand him. That's why he never fit in, why he never made friends with Harvard. Harvard will be different, Ted smiles. He knows the worst days are behind him and he can't wait for his next chapter to begin. American scandal sponsored by Better Help, the holidays can be a rough time, and this year even more difficult, so much has been disrupted.
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Still, right now, Kaczynski has all he needs is trombone in his sheet music. He's on his way to band practice, but he needs to hurry. Otherwise he'll be late as he races through the quen. Kazinski can't help but feel Adul frustration coursing through him, because even though it's hard to admit Harvard's been a tough adjustment back home, he never had to worry for his straight grades. But at Harvard, he's barely pulling sees the social scene is even worse.
Everyone's dad is some rich banker or lawyer or even a senator and all his classmates want to do is sneak liquor and go to dances. He's not interested in either, but band is different. The kids there are quirky and creative. It's his only refuge, the one place where he feels he belongs. That's why Kazinsky has been looking forward to band practice all day. But now, as he turns a corner, he stops and surprise. Normally the band practices inside, but today everyone's out on the lawn and they're spread out information.
Kazinsky finds the trombone section leader and asks what they're doing. The girl explains that now that it's cooled off, it's time to practice. Marching, marching, Kazinsky grimaces. In high school, he hated marching, made them feel like they were all a bunch of army grunts, that they were following orders just because someone told them to. For no logical reason. Kozinski tells the section leader that he doesn't like to march. She just snorts and says that if he wants to play in band, he has to march.
Kazinsky protests says his high school band teacher let him skip marching practice. But the section leader looks exasperated. She tells them that if that's what he wants, then he should go back to high school. Then she adds that he's the right size for Kazinsky feels his stomach drop. He's always been sensitive about being small. But then a fury takes hold of him and he says he refuses to march. That's final. Girl shrugs and says if that's the case, then he can't be in band.
She then pushes past him for a moment. He's stunned. And then Kazinsky turns and storms off, furious. He can't believe that this is what Harvard is like. Even the musicians were conformists. You can feel it in his bones. He's glad to quit.
He heads back through the quen, but as he returns to his dorm, he realizes he now has nothing to do but study. He doesn't have plans tonight or all weekend. He realizes then that he needs to find something else to occupy him.
Something intellectual doesn't know what it is yet, but he'll start looking. A year later, Wanda Kazinsky is cleaning out Teddy's old bedroom in Evergreen Park. She finds a stack of old magazines and stops. She takes them and sits down on Teddy's twin bed. She begins flipping through issues of Scientific American bittersweet memories come flooding back with every page. She remembers how when Teddy was a child, she told him on her lap to read these magazines to him. He always had the smartest questions.
Pains are to remember how close they once were. Now, Ted is a sophomore at Harvard. She hardly hears from him. To make matters worse, it sounds like he's lonelier than ever. She wishes she could do something to help him. But sitting here halfway across the country, she's not sure what she could do. One hears a thud from the front of the house, it sounds like the mail arrived, she could use a break from her heavy heart, and so she gets up and heads downstairs.
She's flipping through a pile of coupons and catalogs when she spots an envelope with a crimson seal. It's something from Harvard. Want to tear it open? It's a letter from a research psychologist there, someone named Dr. Henry Murray. He says he wants to enroll Teddy in a psychological study. It will be a friendly discussion about philosophy and life. The goal of the study, Murray says, is to contribute to the solution of certain psychological problems. But Murray says the issue is that Tenny is still only 17.
He needs Wanda's permission to enroll him in the study. One frowns. She's not sure what psychological problems Murray wants to study, but she reads the letter again and her concern for Teddy overtakes her. He was supposed to meet friends at Harvard and maybe even a nice girl, but he's spiraling more than ever. He even quit, man. That was the one place he was happy. Wanda looks again at the permission for this. Dr. Murray is a psychologist, someone who helps people with their problems.
Maybe he can help Teddy. She's not sure about the study, but she is sure that if she doesn't get help soon, he'll be in big trouble. So she grabs her pen, signs the form and goes to find a stamp. She's going to mail this off today. A month later, Dr. Henry Murray takes a seat inside the Harvard Psychology Index, Murray is a 66 year old psychologist and right now he's inspecting the room where his next experiment will take place.
It's covered in wallpaper with tiny yellow flowers. An entire wall is dominated by a one way mirror. Murray cracks his knuckles and turns to the young man sitting in front of him with his freckles and red hair. The man looks young enough to pass as a student, but Murray knows the truth. This man is actually a lawyer, and he's a key part of Murray's psychological study, which begins today. When the study's participants arrive, they'll be told that they're debating a fellow student about their philosophy on life.
In truth, they'll be debating one of the fiercest young litigators in Massachusetts. Murray wants this lawyer to break the students down. That's the point of the study. But right now, Murray is frustrated. The lawyer keeps asking whether he really should be so aggressive. Murray shakes his head and tells a lawyer he needs to attack the students. He needs to make them squirm. What Murray doesn't say is that he has ties to the intelligence community in Washington, D.C. and throughout World War Two.
He worked for the precursor to the CIA. Murray studied spy interrogations, harsh ones. And this study is the culmination of his work in the field. Now he wants to see what happens when a group of 22 students are verbally brutalized and receive this treatment on an ongoing basis. But first, this lawyer needs to toughen up. Murray tells the man that he can't be soft. The U.S. is still at war with Russia and the country needs this research.
With that, Marie asks who the first participant is. The lawyer consults a sheet in his lap and says the first up, his code name lawful. Murray's eyes light up. He's been eager to test lawful his code name for a sophomore named Theodore Kazinsky. He's young, blue collar and appears to be the most alienated. That should make for a highly combustible mix. Soon, the interrogation will begin. Murray pulls up a chair behind a one way mirror and settles in to watch the sparks fly.
It's the fall of 1960, and a year later today, Ted Kaczynski is once again sitting under bright hot lights in the observation room of the Harvard Psychology Annex. Two lights are aimed into his eyes. He squints at the bright light and dabs his forehead, wiping away beads of sweat. He feels like he's overheating. Doesn't help that he's recently grown a beard. It's another hopeless attempt to look older than just 18. Across from Kazinsky sits an older student with bright red hair and freckles.
The two sat facing each other. The chairs are the only furniture in the room. Sitting next to Kazinsky has a heart rate monitor with wires connected to his chest. Monitor beeps Every now and then in a movie. Camera whirs in the corner recording the psychological study. Right now, Kazinsky is trying to make a point about technology. It's something he has heard in one of his classes. And since then, he hasn't been able to stop thinking about it.
But he's been involved in these debate sessions for a year. And as always, the other student keeps interrupting, twisting his words. Kazinski jaw clenches and he decides he's going to try and make his point another way, what I'm trying to say is that technology limits humankind spiritually. I mean, the other student shoots Kazinsky a look of pure contempt.
That's so cliche because it's true. A new technology may seem positive at first, but in the end, it almost always has a cost. It takes away your independence, your dignity. So technology's bad. How about cancer drugs, huh? Curing little kids with brain tumors that limit your freedom? No, that's not that. It's like I was saying about the Amish, again, with the Amish.
Just listen. You're supposed to listen during a debate. So you get to make the rules of the debate that right. Kazinsky squeezes his eyes shut and slaps his own leg. Just listen. The Amish do it right. They accept some technologies but reject others. They lead a simple life away. You're an atheist, right? Right. But the Amish are Bible beaters. You're completely contradicting yourself. No, I'm not. You can still admire some aspects of their life.
The other student leans back in his chair smirking. Why are you smiling? I never saw it before. Now I know why you like the armor so much. Oh yeah? Why that stupid beard of yours. You even look Amish are the student then reaches forward and Tug's Kazantzakis beard hard and he makes a billy goat noise. Kazinsky recoils and rips the heart rate patches off his chest, he jumps up, glaring fiercely into the mirror he knows at the psychologists are watching him from the other side.
And for a moment he considers smashing his fist into the glass. He hovers there, his body shaking. He doesn't want to give up. He doesn't want to let them win. But he decides he's had enough. He turns and runs for the door. As he does, the other student begins laughing and says he looks forward to their next meeting. In a week, Kazinsky grabs the doorknob and pauses. He feels small, humiliated because the worst part is Kazinsky knows this guy is probably right.
He's getting paid for each session and he needs the money. Kazinsky throws open the door and stalks down the hallway. And as he runs down the steps of the psychology annex, there's only one thought coursing through his mind. He wants to burn down the whole building, every last person still inside. American Scanlan's sponsored by the CW. Tis the season to be catching up on your favorite CW shows for free. Now is your chance to stream every available episode of Stargirl, Nancy, Drew and Batwoman free on the CW app.
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He's sitting inside a small, dark room. A psychologist stands behind him. His breath is rancid and hot, and he whispers that Ted is sick, that he is worthless. Ted swivels in the chair and sees that the psychologist is holding some sort of device. He's using it to control Ted's mind. And he's also going to use it on Ted's younger brother, David, like he does most nights. Kazinsky lashes out and attacks the psychologists in his dream.
That's when he starts thrashing in his sleep and wakes up in a sweat. It takes him a full minute to realize where he is, he's lying in his dingy apartment surrounded by piles of clothes, books on math, inflatable food, he sits up and tries to slow his breath. It's been a terrible six years since he finished school at Harvard. He didn't know what to do with himself when he graduated. And so he decided to follow one of his only real interests to study math as a graduate student at the University of Michigan.
He knows that people here consider him a rising star. He's published several impressive papers and even received a job offer at the University of California, Berkeley. It's one of the top math departments in the world, but inside, Kazinsky boils with anger. He hates academia. His colleagues were supposed to be brilliant, but they mostly argue over titles and parking spots. The petty conformists, not free thinkers. And more and more, all Kazinsky dreams about his escaping somewhere to just disappear.
He goes for long walks in the woods, and sometimes he doesn't want to turn back, but he knows he has to because he can't figure out how to live without money. Kazinsky falls back onto the pillar right now, lying in bed, he has more immediate needs to get back to sleep. It's only two a.m. He has classes to teach, but just as he's drifting off, something thuds against his wall. He jumps up, his adrenaline surging, and he hears another loud thud and then another in a slow building rhythm, Kazinsky groans and sinks back down into a sheet.
It's the young couple next door, their insatiable never quite so Kazinsky pounds his fist against the wall.
The only response is a muffled giggle. He lies back down in bed, listening in misery.
He's been at Michigan for years and he hasn't gotten a single date. He's a full grown man now, six feet tall. But the insecurities of high school still eat away at him.
Kazinsky buries his face in his pillow and screams. He's leaving for Berkeley in a few weeks. When he gets there, his life has got to change. It must. Two years later, Ted Kaczynski sits on a bench on the campus of UC Berkeley. It's an overcast day and bells chime out from a nearby tower. Kazinsky turns the page in his book and takes a bite of an apple. He's trying to concentrate, but right now he can't. He looks up his impatience rising once again.
Those damn protesters, their shouts and chants are never ending. It's 1969 and the media has been calling the campus Berkeley. And with good reason, Black Panthers are gathering for a march. Anti-war protesters are waving signs in their black pea coats and berets nearby. Some long haired communist sell copies of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.
Kazinsky scowls at all. The assembled protesters. They're convinced that politics will change things, that they can reform society.
Kazansky snorts. He knows they're wrong. No matter what sort of government they set up, technology will always be there.
That's the real danger. He has no doubt industrial society chokes off everything that's meaningful about human life. And it's not just human life. The planet is dying to. Kazinsky has seen all this firsthand. He's now a professor at UC Berkeley and he's seen how the university and its professors are part of the problem. Math, physics, chemistry, psychology. They're all advancing the agenda of an industrial society and ruining the world. Kazinsky knows that somehow he has to stop this, but he won't be doing it by marching.
Kazinsky can't help but smile at the irony. All those hippies think he's the square because he's the math professor in a tweed suit.
But soon they'll never know that he's far more radical than they'll ever be. Kazinsky rises and tosses the half eaten apple in a trash can. He walks past a group of protesters and grins as they shout their anti-war slogans. Right now, Kazansky has to go teach a class what? He's not going to do this forever. He has other plans, and soon his life and his work are going to look a lot different. Two months later, Ted Kaczynski strides down the hallway of the math building at UC Berkeley, bulletin boards lined the hallways and are pinned with flyers about poetry readings and upcoming protests.
Kozinski hardly notices them. He's heading to a meeting with the chair of the math department, and he's feeling annoyed they shouldn't have to have this meeting. Kazinsky already wrote a letter, made his intentions crystal clear, but he'll do them the courtesy of explaining himself again. So there's no ambiguity about his big decision. Kazinsky arrives at the office of John Addison Addison as the department chair, and at the moment he's frowning over something. His desk is piled with books and stacks of papers.
And in front of him, this Kazantzakis letter, Addison looks up to come in. Take a seat. Can I get you some coffee? No, thank you. Tea? Anything else? I've stated my preference. Oh, all right. Well, let me turn this down.
Addison steps over to a radio and shuts it off. Then he turns back to Kazinsky. Really is beautiful, isn't it? Music. Math, that one in the same. I just love Beethoven. That wasn't Beethoven. It was Mozart. All right. Well, let's get down to it. I've read your letter and I have to say I'm stunned and I'm afraid I can't accept your resignation. You don't. I don't need your acceptance, John. Come June, I'm leaving.
But Whitehead, you're a star, the youngest assistant professor in the history of the entire department, B.A. to Stanford, potch you, Harvard, whatever salary they offered, we can try to match it.
No one offered me a job, but I had to tell you, I'm baffled. I just don't understand your resignation. So please, are we through or. Wait, just just tell me why you're doing this. Why are you quitting? Kazinsky stared at him for a long moment. He was hoping to avoid this, but Addison might as well hear the truth. I'm leaving because I'm through with it. I can't support the technological industrial complex Addisons Quint's look of confusion, his eyes.
I'm sorry what I said. I can no longer support the technological industrial complex. I heard you pretend you're a mathematician. Math, field, science, science fields technology. But we do pure math which gets twisted into terrible things. Math helps people drill for oil or make some new insecticide that kills birds and trees. Math is the gasoline on the fire. Oh, you're serious. You realize you're throwing away your career. That's exactly my intention. What are you going to do?
Just Linsky smiles. Who knows? Goodbye, Professor. You're a fool, but you are always decent to me. Kazinsky heads for the stairs, then walked outside to glorious day, the first real day of spring. For the most part, he believes every word he said about technology. But he did tell one lie. He knows exactly what he's going to do with himself. Now, Kazinski is going to save up his last few paychecks. Then he's going to buy a piece of land somewhere remote, maybe in Canada.
But he won't just escape if technological society has been choking him to death with an Kazinsky knows he's fully justified in fighting back. The thought makes him feel strong. He breathes deep and starts to whistle as he walks. He spent his whole life getting bullied and jerked around. And what has he ever done? But take it, take it and then take it some more time for taking it is over. He's going to give give himself time and space.
He needs to give himself an escape from the technological world and give everyone else hell. Next on American Scandal, Ted Kaczynski falls in love, but when he has his heart broken, the retreats into the wilderness of Montana pushes forward with a deadly bombing campaign from Hungary. This is Episode one of the Unabomber for American Scam. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and leave a review. Be sure to tell your friends, subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you're listening right now.
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Be sure to listen to my other podcast to American history tellers and American elections, where a game and a quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said, but all our dramatisations are based on historical research. If you'd like to learn more about the Unabomber case, we recommend the books, Harvard and the Unabomber by Allston Chase Every Last Time by David Kazansky and Hunting the Unabomber by lease. We'll American Scandal is hosted, edited and executive produced by me Lindsey Graham for Airship Audio Editing by Molly BOQ Sound Design by Derek Barens.
This episode is written by Sam Kean, edited by Christina Mooresboro. Our senior producer is Gabe Rezvan. Executive producers are Stephanie Jahns, Jenny Lowry Beckman and Hernan Lopez for wondering what. Tech entrepreneurs are in an all out race to cash in on our collective addiction to social media. It's a fight that started in Silicon Valley that's now gone global. Hi, I'm David Brown, the host of Wonderings Show Business Wars. We go deep into some of the biggest corporate rivalries of all time.
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