Jailed “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski wants to make his papers available to researchers and libraries that will keep his unique beliefs in circulation rather than see the documents sold in a court-ordered auction.
From a maximum-security federal prison in Florence, Colo., where he is serving a life sentence, one of America’s most notorious modern-day criminals told Reuters in a letter received this week that he fears private parties would consign his teachings to oblivion.
Kaczynski, 64, killed three people and wounded 29 with homemade bombs he sent by post from 1978 to 1995. After years of searching for the so-called Unabomber — a name derived from UNABOM, FBI’s code name for the case of the “university and airline bomber” — investigators tracked him down in 1996 with the help of his own brother.
“It is important to bar sale of my papers because they will be sold to private parties who probably will not make the papers available to the public, or will make available only a selected sample that will give a slanted picture of the Unabom case,” Kaczynski wrote.
“I want to put the papers in libraries where they will be available to scholars, researchers and the public generally,” he added in his response to a letter from Reuters.
A former mathematics professor, Kaczynski withdrew from society decades ago and developed radical anti-technology beliefs. U.S. agents arrested Kaczynski and seized his property when they raided his tiny remote Montana cabin in 1996.
In August, a federal judge ordered the online sale of thousands of pages of his writing, as well as axes, typewriters and other items seized from his cabin. Proceeds from the sale would go toward a $15 million restitution order to pay victims and their families.
The infamous Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. petitioned the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in October to block the sale.
“The government has proposed to round up and seize every copy of everything I’ve ever written or ever will write,” he wrote in clean penmanship on two sheets of lined white paper.
He used proper style formatting, giving his name, inmate number and address in the upper right hand corner, followed by the recipient’s address to the left below, and signing the document “Sincerely Yours.”
“This is a barefaced attempt to suppress both my ideas and the truth about the Unabom case,” he wrote. “If the government is allowed to suppress my ideas of the truth about the Unabom case, then it will soon suppress something else, and some day it will suppress the ideas that the truths that you think are important.”
Judge notes copies available
In his August ruling, U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. said Kaczynski had copies of all of his writings.
“Kaczynski has not demonstrated what protected speech is contained in the originals that is not contained in the copies, or how a sale of the originals, when he possesses copies, implicated the First Amendment,” he wrote.
In his letter, Kaczynski ignored questions about whether he regretted his past crimes, focusing rather on his possessions.
“As for property other than papers and the like, it is the government that wants to bar sale of some of that property,” he wrote. “I want all property, apart from papers and other First Amendment expressive materials, to be either sold or returned to me, at the government’s option.”