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Brother, Victim of Unabomber Speak of Forgiveness

Brother, Victim of Unabomber Speak of Forgiveness



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The brother of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and one of the man's bombing victims spoke to high school students about forgiveness.

David Kaczynski and Gary Wright of Salt Lake City are now friends. They appear together at speaking engagements across the country, talking about their experiences with Ted Kaczynski and the healing that has happened since he was arrested nine years ago this month.

Wright was injured in 1987 when he drove into the parking lot of the computer company he owned. In his path was a piece of lumber, which he got out of his car to move, thus setting off a homemade bomb.

It was years before the event was recognized as part of a pattern of attacks that focused on businesses and institutions connected to technology. Eventually, the Unabomber was found responsible for 16 attacks, beginning in 1978, that led to three deaths and 29 injuries.

Wright couldn't understand why anyone would want to kill him. He spent three years in and out of casts, had three surgeries and had 200 pieces of shrapnel removed.

It took him six years, to understand that no matter who the perpetrator was, he would have to forgive, Wright told Judge Memorial students Tuesday.

That understanding came to him when he was driving his car, and was so forceful that he had to pull off the road, he said.

"If you believe in Christ," he found himself thinking, "you don't have a choice but to forgive this person, no matter what."

That was the moment, he says now, "when I could begin to heal."

Forgiveness, he told the students, was not about accepting what happened but caring enough about himself "to let the people around me see me happy."

Wright first met David Kaczynski after Ted Kaczynski's sentencing hearings.

David Kaczynski called Wright to apologize for the pain his brother had caused, a call that led to a long, cathartic face-to-face meeting. David Kaczynski also apologized to other victims and to the families of the three people his brother had killed.

David Kaczynski told the students about the soul-searching he went through when he first began to suspect his brother might be the person law enforcement called the Unabomber.

It was his wife, Linda, a philosophy professor at a college in upstate New York, who first wondered if the bomber who hated technology might be his brother.

David remembers his brother as a gentle man, so at first it seemed inconceivable that he could have been so violent.

When the New York Times published his brother's rambling 35,000-word "manifesto" in 1996, he and his wife studied it for weeks, comparing it with letters received over the years as Ted Kaczynski left his teaching position at the University of California at Berkeley and moved to a remote cabin in Montana.

As it became clear that his brother probably was the Unabomber, David Kaczynski realized his dilemma: "Whatever choice we made could cause someone to die."

Ultimately, he says, the choice was between "being responsible or turning away."

Ted Kaczynski, 62, is serving a life sentence at a high-security prison in Colorado.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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