Ever since I became pen pals with Ted Kaczynski, I’ve had conflicting feelings about the mail.
Still, I joined the Freedom Club sometime around 1981. What can I say? I was young and impressionable. And I had an insatiable bloodlust for then-United Airlines president Percy Wood. To me—like most six year olds at the time—Wood was the living embodiment of the techno-fascist state. (Behind Reagan, obviously.)
In 1998, shortly after Uncle Ted tried to hang himself, I wrote him a letter of solidarity. I told him to “keep his chin up” and implored him not to drop the soap.
When his response finally arrived from the ADX Supermax in
I responded with a letter written on Hello Kitty stationary. I told Ted about my life, my hopes, my dreams. I told him about Cave In’s Until Your Heart Stops and Iron Monkey’s Our Problem, both of which had just been released. I figured maybe he could identify with Our Problem cover artist Mike Diana, who had been unjustly persecuted (and prosecuted) by the Floridian authorities for the supposedly “obscene” contents of his Boiled Angel zine.
In his second letter, Uncle Ted said he had never heard of Mike Diana. But he sent me a copy of a short story he had written called Ship Of Fools, along with a Xerox of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. The tone of his letter was excited—he had spent one of his rare “fresh air” hours lifting weights with Larry Hoover of the Gangster Disciples and Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. He had also spotted John Walker Lindh walking around the exercise yard with Omar Abdel-Rahman. They were holding hands—not because they were into man-on-man butt sex, Uncle Ted explained—but because that’s how friends roll in the
I was fascinated. By now it was the year 2000, and the hard drives of the world had not crashed like Uncle Ted had predicted. Better still, I had purchased my first CD burner. I made Uncle Ted copies of all the shit I was into at the time—Electric Wizard’s Dopethrone, Gogoroth’s Incipit Satan, Scissorfight’s New Hampshire, and SubArachnoid Space’s These Things Take Time. I’m not sure if he had a CD player, though.
Then I received a package wrapped in brown paper and posted with a neatly-arranged row of Eugene O’Neill one-dollar stamps. The return address was 04475-046,
Inside was a copy of the Department of Defense’s Improvised Munitions Handbook. I guess Uncle Ted had stolen it from the prison library. The enclosed letter was written in some kind of mathematical Zodiac Killer-type code. “This is it,” I thought, “Uncle Ted is asking me to continue his fight against technological subjugation.” I fished through the packing peanuts—Uncle Ted had lovingly drawn a smiley face on each and every one—to see if he had included anything else I might need to begin my training.
That’s when I found them. Uncle Ted had returned the music I had burned for him. I thought of consulting the munitions handbook and sending him a taste of his own medicine in the form of a nail-and-splinter pipe bomb. But that’d be stooping to his level. Besides, it would never make it past the guards.
“Fuck Uncle Ted,” I thought. I knew he was full of shit all along.
This bullshit originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Decibel magazine.