Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company

The Houston Chronicle

April 27, 1995, Thursday, 2 STAR Edition


LENGTH: 662 words

HEADLINE: Unabomber's letter slams college grads and "techno-nerds'



The serial bomber in the ""Unabom'' case appears to be motivated by a deep resentment of college graduates, scientists and advances in computer research, according to a letter made public Wednesday.

FBI officials in San Francisco released a letter, which they believe is from the bomber, that was sent last week to David Gelernter, a Yale University computer scientist who was injured seriously by a package bomb in June 1993.

""People with advanced degrees aren't as smart as they think they are,'' the letter said. ""If you'd had any brains you would have realized that there are a lot of people out there who resent bitterly the way techno-nerds like you are changing the world and you wouldn't have been dumb enough to open an unexpected package from an unknown source. '' The purported bomber, who has struck 16 times since 1978 and killed three people, continued: ""In the epilog of your book, ""Mirror Worlds,'' you tried to justify your research by claiming that the developments you describe are inevitable, and that any college person can learn enough about computers to compete in a computer-dominated world. Apparently, people without a college degree don't count.

""In any case, being informed about computers won't enable anyone to prevent invasion of privacy (through computers), genetic engineering (to which computers make an important contribution), environmental degradation through excessive economic growth (computers make an important contribution to economic growth) and so forth. . . .

""If the developments you describe are inevitable, they are not inevitable in the way that old age or bad weather are inevitable. They are inevitable only because techno-nerds like you make them inevitable. If there were no computer scientists there would be no progress in computer science. . . . But we do not believe that progress and growth are inevitable. ''

Jim Freeman, head of the FBI's San Francisco office, told reporters: ""This is the first time in 17 years we've had any degree of discussion by the Unabomber. '' He said the letter to Gelernter makes clear that his motivation is ""because the doctor is a computer scientist'' and the bomber ""vehemently objects'' to the direction of Gelernter's research.

Freeman said the FBI, which believes the Unabomber is a white male in his early 40s, has no evidence the killer is working with others.

Gelernter said Wednesday that the FBI had asked him not to comment on the letter. He said that his book ""Mirror Worlds'' sold fewer than 20,000 copies.

The letter to Gelernter is one of four, all postmarked Oakland, Calif., sent by the self-described ""anarchist'' last week.

Two other letters went to individuals who have not been victims and whose names were not made public. The fourth was sent to The New York Times, which published it Wednesday.

In that letter, which also indicated a desire to publicize his grievances, the writer demanded that a national newspaper or magazine publish a lengthy manuscript.

The purported terrorist told the newspaper that ""we will permanently desist from terrorist activities'' if a manuscript of 29,000 to 37,000 words ""is published in The New York Times, Time or Newsweek, or in some other widely read, nationally distributed periodical. . . . Alternatively, it can be published as a small book. . . . If the answer is unsatisfactory, we will start building our next bomb. ''

The writer said ""the article will not explicitly advocate violence. There will be an unavoidable implication that we favor violence to the extent that it may be necessary . . . '' The Times received the letter Monday, shortly before a package-bomb killed Gilbert Murray, a timber industry official in Sacramento, Calif. It was postmarked Thursday, the day after the explosion in Oklahoma City.

Officials speculated the bomber was seeking attention in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy.