Unabomber's brother to speak on mental illness at GCC Tuesday evening
The Wellness Center at Genesee Community College is pleased to partner with the Mental Health Association in Genesee County for a presentation by David Kaczynski, brother of Ted Kaczynski, the man known as the Unabomber. David Kaczynski, 63, will share the story, both fascinating and heartwarming, of the impact his older brother’s mental illness had on their family. His presentation is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7 in the Stuart Steiner Theatre on GCC’s Batavia campus.
David Kaczynski’s talk at GCC is being held in conjunction with an exhibit in the lobby of the College’s Genesee Center for the Arts. “Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family” is a museum-quality photo-text traveling exhibit featuring photographs and interviews with families whose lives are affected by mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
The community is invited to view the exhibit at a pre-talk reception at 6 p.m. Space is limited. Pre-registration is requested by calling the Mental Health Association at (585) 344-2611. A suggested donation of $10 is appreciated.
The Kaczynskis grew up in Chicago. Ted, who turns 71 on May 22, was a mathematics prodigy who entered Harvard on a scholarship at age 16. He went on to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in 1967 and then moved west to teach at the University of California Berkeley.
He resigned just two years later, and moved to Montana where he took up a survivalist life in isolation, developing anti-government and anti-technology philosophies. He made his first bomb in 1978, sending it to a professor at Northwestern University. He then sent two bombs to the president of American Airlines. The FBI dubbed the case UNABOM, for University and Airline Bombing, and the suspect was termed the Unabomber. Over a 17-year period, Kaczynski’s explosive packages killed three people and injured 22 others.
David Kaczynski, who lives in Woodstock, helped authorities capture his brother in 1996 after reading the so-called Unabomber Manifesto, a 35,000-word essay Ted wrote about the problems of modern society. Though he was estranged from Ted, David and his wife, Linda, recognized the writing style and some of the ideas expressed as Ted’s.
Ted Kaczynski eventually pleaded guilty and has been serving four life sentences for the bombings at a Federal Correctional Facility in Colorado. David has said he writes to him without response.
David became an advocate for violence prevention and spent a dozen years as executive director of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He recently became director of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and retreat center in Woodstock.
The “Nothing to Hide” exhibit will remain on display throughout the month of May, which is Mental Health Month. It’s made possible with funds from the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council.
The exhibit's compelling accounts demonstrate strength, courage, integrity, and accomplishment in the face of the adversity and stigma of mental illness. By bringing visibility to these individuals and families, “Nothing to Hide” dispels harmful stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions about mental illness.
For more information, contact GCC Wellness Director Roberta Noto at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6293, or by e-mail [email protected]. or Sue Gagne, assistant executive director of the Mental Health Association in Genesee County at (585) 344-2611.