May/June 1996, p.2

Provocateur: What A Freak

After eighteen years, the world finally knows Harvard graduate, hermit, mathematician, and cyclist Theodore Kaczynski as the notorious Unabomber. As reporters rush to pick at the carrion, they tell us each detail of Kaczynski's life, drawing a picture of lunacy- as if sending carefully crafted package bombs weren't enough. We now know that the Unabomber lived alone in the Montana wilderness on $300 a year, grew his own vegetables, and hunted rabbits.

But get this: he didn't own a car! Unabomber rode a bike into town for groceries, even in the winter! And that's not all--he rode the bus! The bus--what a freak!

Clearly, deeper forces are at work. The New York Times front page featured photos of and the bus he rode to deliver the Unabomber's forlorn bike bombs. Now most people in rural Montana do drive, but the Unabomber coverage shows that in our car culture, the cyclist is viewed as the Luddite, the anti-progress freak. The lesson is, here's what happens if you don't buy a car. Why, it's downright un-American not to drive a car to town, they say. Watch out, son, this is what happens when you read too many books and don't get your driver's license.

-Brendan Mernin

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