Ted Kaczynski: A No-Show At Harvard Reunion

unabomberTed Kaczynski, not attending his 50th class reunion at Harvard.

I’m no psychic, but I’d imagine there were some pretty tense moments over in the Harvard mail room recently leading up to the publication of its alumni report for the class of 1962, which included an update from Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

“Look. We just got a letter from Kaczynski.”

“Are you gonna open it?”

“Nah, that’s okay. You can open it.”

“Yeah, I opened the last couple. I suppose I can let you can have a turn.”

The people fielding letters were surely not the only ones surprised to see that Kaczynski opted to chime in before his 50th reunion this week to let his ol’ Crimson chums in on the latest haps. In his update, published in the “red book,” Kaczynski didn’t dish any gossip from the laundry room or wax on about the vagaries of life inside a federal Supermax penitentiary. Rather, he kept it simple, providing but nine lines of info: his full name; his address at a prison in Colorado; his occupation: prisoner; the name of his old dorm on campus; his academic degrees and his 2010 book “Technological Slavery,” which echoes his infamous views condemning technology.

But it was the last two lines of his alumni update that’s really struck a nerve. Under the heading “Awards,” Kaczynski wrote: “Eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998.”

A child prodigy, Kaczynski went to Harvard at age 16. In 1978, he began a 17-year-long letter-bomb campaign, mailing 16 explosive devices to airlines and universities. Federal agents finally caught up with Kaczynski in 1996 when they arrested the recluse at his cabin in Montana. Kaczynski’s bombs killed three people and injured 23, including Kaczynski’s first victim, Terry Marker, a campus policeman at Northwestern University who opened the menacing piece of mail and suffered burns and other injuries.

Understandably, victims were upset at Harvard’s alumni group for publishing what could be seen as a left-handed way for Kaczynski to revitalize — even for a moment — his notoriety and twisted crusade. In response, the Harvard Alumni Association issued an apology Wednesday evening, stating, “While all members of the class who submit entries are included, we regret publishing Kaczynski’s references to his convictions and apologize for any distress that it may have caused others.”

If they haven’t done so already, perhaps an apology is also due to the brave souls in the mail room.