Imagine this: it is an average workday, no different from any other .A professor from the campus in which an unsuspecting officer is working, receives a call informing him that there is a suspicious parcel in the professor’s possession. The officer arrives at the professor’s location to find the suspicious parcel, he and the professor play around with the idea that “Maybe it’s a bomb (Ferguson, 2010).” The officer opens the package and it explodes in his hands. This is exactly what happened to Terry Marker, a campus police officer at the Northwestern University on May 26, 1978. The Unabomber (university and airline bomber) had claimed his first victim. In this paper through research it is intended to show the link between intelligence and psychopathology in addition find out which of the two led Theodore John Kaczynski III (Unabomber) on a killing spree that held Americans captive for almost 20 years.
The Upbringing of Theodore Kaczynski
Theodore John Kaczynski III was born May 22, 1942 in the ritzy Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park. Kaczynski was affectionately known to his parents as “Teddy John” (A&E Bio, 1996). At the tender age of six months, Teddy John had to be hospitalized and isolated. He was tied down spread eagle and photographed by hospital staff during his examination. Young Theodore was left in the hospital covered in hives alone because it was against hospital policy for parents to stay with their children. “Teddy John’s” mother writes in her diary March 12, 1943“Baby home from hospital and is healthy but quite unresponsive after his experience (Ferguson, 2010).” He would undergo several hospital stays over the next eight months. When he came home from the hospital, his mother noticed he was a different child, he was detached. “Shut down” (A&E Bio, 1996) mode as his family would describes occurs when Ted completely tuned out and isolated himself from everything and everyone around him. These episodes were frequently accompanied by acts of rage.
Kaczynski was a genius with an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) between 160 -170. He was strangely not like other children his age. He spent his free time reading books and composing music with his younger brother and father. His teachers referred to him as bright but antisocial. By Kaczynski’s account, he was abused both verbally and emotionally as a child by his mother.
After skipping sixth and eleventh grade, he was a misfit being verbally tormented and teased by his older classmates. He graduates from high school and was accepted into Harvard on a full scholarship at the age of 16.The family found him to be a “myriad of contradictions. He would go from pleasant and compassionate to rude, gloom, and unhappy (Ferguson, 2010).” In school the complacent young man was part of a group of social outcasts called the “briefcase boys” (A&E Bio, 1996). The briefcase boys were the intellectuals on campus; more into their studies than girls or sports unlike most of the boys on campus. The social group sometimes created small nonlethal explosives in school as pranks; still Ted was the odd man out. Upon graduation from college at the age of 25, Kaczynski was accepted as an assistant math professor into the most prestigious mathematics department in the country at the University of California at Berkeley. After only a short time, he resigned from the university in 1969 telling his family “Well, I’m not going back (Ferguson, 2010).” Ted proclaimed that many students career choice of engineering would destroy the environment. His students recalled him being withdrawn from the class and often lecturing directly from the textbook. Following his sudden resignation from Berkeley his shut down episodes started to become more violent.
During his college years Ted reported questioning his sexuality. Often fantasizing about becoming a woman, Kaczynski would see a surgeon to talk about having a sex change operation. But after going to see a doctor and backing out he was overcome with feelings of shame, rage, and humiliation. In total contradiction he writes to a friend” Consider that your fortune is not all bad, because you have a wife and three children and they are all healthy. Even though you have to endure these difficulties, you will probably overcome them in the end, and your children will thrive and some day they will have children of their own. I wish I had a wife and children!” (Ferguson, 2010)
The only time anyone ever recollected Ted dating a woman was during the time he worked under his brother’s supervision for a company named FCE brother recalled his coming home excited about a date he went on with one of the supervisors from the company. The date had gone well, so well that the two even exchanged a kiss. Soon after she broke it off with him and Theodore began harassing her as a result of the harassment David fired Ted. A bitter break-up and the betrayal by the only person he ever had a social relationship with was too much for the young man to handle these events would lead him into a life of seclusion.
In 1971 with the help of his younger brother, Ted bought a piece of land for $2,100 in which the wilderness was his backyard. The land was perfect: no neighbors for miles complete exclusion from everything and everyone. His mother believed the move would give him time to find himself and that her son would eventually come back home and be a social person and perhaps maybe even grow enough to marry and have children. Exclusion would prove to have a completely different effect on Kaczynski (Unabomber), he would revert into a hermit with a mission for murder. He even stopped communicating with his family. He stopped excepting letters from his family; he told his family it would kill him because it made his heart palpitate. July 1975 Ted built a one room cabin in the woods with no electricity or running water. Here, he would live until his capture in April 1996. Before he was brought to justice his 16 bombs would claim the three lives and injure several others. Some in the mental health profession have arrived at the conclusion that the Unabomber suffers from an untreated case of Paranoid Person Disorder.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health, Second Edition describes paranoid personality disorder as a person possessing long-term, widespread unwarranted suspicions that other people are hostile, threatening or demeaning. Typical symptoms of PPD include suspicious and distrust of others, questioning hidden motives in others. Feelings of certainty, without justification or proof, that others are intent on harming or exploiting them, social isolation, aggressiveness and hostility, little or no sense of humor. Researchers have found that individuals that suffer from PPD have a difficult time adjusting to change. Change in environment is costly to the individuals’ mental state. (Wilson & Fundukian, 2008)
Theodore John Kaczynski III (Unabomber) moved into complete isolation in a one room cabin in the depth of the woods, he was antisocial yet extremely intelligent, he was aggressive and violent during his shut down modes, he also feared the advancement of technology. All of these fit symptoms of PPD. In his words “The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in “advanced” countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human being to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased suffering even in “advanced” countries” (Kaczynski, “Unabomber manifesto”, 1995).
Some researchers suggest that creativity and psychopathology share the same genetic bases as well as cognitive and dispositional traits, traits including allusive thinking and antisocial behavior. Intelligence or psychopathology, what led to this young genius on a revenged motivated killing spree we may never arrive at the answer to the question. Ted has refused recorded interviews and psychological evaluations. Understanding PPD symptoms may aid future researchers in profiling criminals. The research may also help parents in understanding the early warning signs of PPD that they may seek help for a child displaying the symptoms, in addition this insight may help professionals in the medical field in developing preventive measures for children with PPD from engaging in criminal activities.
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