Unabomber

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Unabomber’s Manifesto Essay, Research Paper “The world today seems to be going crazy”: The Unabomber’s Manifesto It was May 25th 1978, Terry Marker was on his usual patrol on campus at the University of Illinois. This earmark package, addressed to an engineering professor at Rensselaer from a material science professor at Northwestern, was found in a parking lot. What seemed like an insignificant misplaced parcel was about to start a reign of terror and the longest manhunt in U.S. history. Officer Marker retrieved the package and began to open it; the crude triggering mechanism set off the device. A flash of fire and smoke spewed towards Terry’s face as the match heads ignited and the mystery package exploded. This event sparked the “most expensive manhunt in

United States history, ultimately costing upward to $50 million” (Douglas, 31). The reasoning behind this initial attack (and subsequent assaults) was not known for sure until 15 years later in 1993, when the Unabomber’s anti-technology philosophy became public. The Unabomber’s 18 year tirade against technology killed three people and maimed 23 others in a series of 16 attacks dating back to 1978. The Unabomber’s targets were universities and airlines (thus the “un” and the “a” in the FBI’s code name); proponents of technology. The Unabomber believes that the present industrial-technological society is “narrowing the sphere of human freedom” (Unabomber, 93). The crudeness of the Unabomber’s inaugural mail bomb attack was not an indication of what was to

come. The Unabomber’s devices became more sophisticated and deadly as his targets became more specific and focused. “The pressure vessels in his bombs were the most sophisticated ever seen by federal authorities” (Ewell, 3). His later efforts were sometimes concealed in books and hand-carved boxes, had all hancrafted parts carved of wood and metal (he made his own pins, screws and switches), and sometimes had altimeter and barometric switches which would activate at precise altitudes in an airplane. Bombs, like the one planted outside of a computer store in Sacramento, were sometimes fitted with gravity triggers which would detonate the bomb at the slightest touch. Later bombs contained two independent systems of batteries and wires, a backup fail-safe mechanism, installed

to ensure the bombs detonation. The crime scene analyses suggested that each bomb “took more than a hundred hours to construct” (Douglas, 56). The bombs were getting deadlier as the Unabomber’s skill level evolved. FBI agent James Fox says “This guy’s done a wonderful job in self-education (Gleick, 26). On April 24, 1995, Gilbert Murray, president of the California Forestry Association, died instantly when a bomb exploded in his office in Sacramento. The force of the blast was so great that it pushed nails partly out of the walls in other offices in the building. The force of the explosion was so great that the pieces of Murray’s body; when retrieved, filled eleven bags. Evidence was presented to the coroner in paint cans. Some bombs like the one that killed Hugh

Sutton, a computer store owner, was filled with pieces of nails to maximize the devastation to the victim. He also became more devious by targeting either the person to whom the package was sent or the person who supposedly sent it. If the package didn’t make it to its intended victim it would be sent back to an alternate one. The Unabomber left very few clues at the crime scenes. He was a meticulous criminal, “these components bear markings of having been taken apart and put back together repeatedly” said Chris Ronay, the FBI’s top bomb expert in the 1980’s (Anez, 2 ). All addresses were typed on an arcane typewriter to confound handwriting analyses. He hand crafted most of the parts that made up his bombs because of the possibility of tracing store bought parts back