Nine years after he began a life sentence, Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski is fighting to reclaim more than 40,000 pages of his writings so he can preserve them in their rawest form for the public to read, the New York Times reports. Kaczynski, 64, is in a legal battle with the federal government and some of his victims over the future of the handwritten papers, which include journals, diaries, and drafts of his anti-technology manifesto. The journals contain blunt assessments of 16 mail bombings from 1978 to 1995 that killed 3 people and injured 28, as well as his musings on the suffering of victims and their families. The government wants to auction sanitized versions of the materials on the Internet to raise money for four victims.
Citing the First Amendment, Kaczynski argues that the government is not entitled to his writings and has no right to alter them. The four victims pursuing restitution were initially reluctant to agree to the auction, fearing it could ghoulishly generate more notoriety for him and further publicize their pain. Some were just as horrified by the prospect of Kaczynski’s reclaiming his writings. One victim, Gary Wright, a computer-store employee seriously injured in an attack 20 years ago, said it was difficult for the four to reach a consensus. One victim not seeking restitution, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, hopes Kaczynski’s writings will be destroyed, possibly “sealed for a century at least and then made available at no charge to scholars of depravity.” A federal judge in Sacramento has approved the government's auction plan as a way for the group seeking restitution to collect some of the $15 million it is owed by court order. The judge ordered that any references to Kaczynski's victims be deleted.