Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 Star Tribune

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

April 27, 1995, Metro Edition

SECTION: News; Pg. 14A

LENGTH: 415 words

HEADLINE: Unabomber sends taunting letter to computer expert hurt previously SOURCE: News Services

DATELINE: San Francisco, Calif.


Federal officials Wednesday released the text of a letter in which the mysterious serial bomber in the Unabom case ridicules one of his victims for opening the package that exploded and maimed him.

The letter was sent to David Gelernter, a prominent Yale University computer science professor who was injured in June 1993.

"People with advanced degrees aren't as smart as they think they are," the writer taunted. "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 three-paragraph letter, postmarked Oakland, Calif., April 20, went on to criticize Gelernter's 1991 book, "Mirror Worlds."

"In the epilogue of your book," the letter said, "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."

Law-enforcement officials long have believed that the bomber was violently opposed to changes in society brought about by computer technology. But until now, their intuition about motives were based almost wholly on circumstantial evidence.

The FBI said Wednesday that in addition to letters received this week by the New York Times and Gelernter, two other letters had been sent, but it refused to reveal their recipients or contents.

The FBI said all four letters were mailed April 20 from the Oakland, Calif., area.

By sending the letters, the bomber sharply increases the odds that he will be captured, investigators said.

A San Francisco-based task force investigating the bomber is taking advantage of new technology that includes testing for DNA in any saliva traces on envelopes or stamps.

Along with the compulsion to explain himself, there were indications in Monday's bombing that the Unabomber has become sloppier.

The bomb that killed California Forestry Association President Gilbert Murray was addressed to William Dennison, who left the job a year ago. Also, the package was addressed to an old name for the group, the Timber Association of California.

It was the second Unabom fatality in five months and the third since the bombings began in 1978. Twenty-two other people have been wounded.