After the anonymous Unabomber demanded in 1995 that his manifesto, titled “Industrial Society and Its Future”, be published in a major newspaper as a condition for ceasing his mail-bomb campaign, the New York Times and the Washington Post both published the manifesto, hoping somebody would recognize the writing style of the author.
David recognized Ted’s writing style, and notified authorities. On April 3, 1996, police arrested Ted Kaczynski in his quiet rural shack in Lincoln, Montana.
David had received assurance from the FBI that his identity as the informant would be kept secret, but his name was leaked to the media. In addition, he sought a guarantee from federal prosecutors that Ted would receive appropriate psychiatric evaluation and treatment. The Justice Department’s subsequent active pursuit of the death penalty for Ted and attorney general Janet Reno’s initial refusal to accept a plea bargain in exchange for a life sentence was seen as a betrayal by David and other Kaczynski family members, and motivated David to become an anti-death penalty activist.
In 2001, David Kaczynski was named executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, a coalition of individuals and organizations who seek abolition of capital punishment. He regularly speaks against the death penalty. He is often alongside Bill Babbitt, who was present at San Quentin prison when at one minute after midnight on May 4th, 1999 the state of California executed his brother, Manny Babbitt. Kaczynski has repeatedly said that if it were not for his family’s financial ability to hire competent counsel, his brother, like Manny Babbitt, most likely would have received the death penalty. Instead, Ted Kaczynski received life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“I do wish my brother would forgive me. Not because his forgiveness would lift a burden of guilt from me, but because it would mean that I could have my brother back again – that our relationship as brothers could be healed and restored. What my brother’s forgiveness would mean to me in very practical terms is the restoration of a relationship that I miss terribly.”