Well…I sure didn’t see this one coming:
CHICAGO — The FBI has requested a DNA sample from “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski as part of its investigation into the 1982 deaths of seven Chicago-area people who took cyanide-laced Tylenol from packages that had been tampered with, officials said Thursday.
Wouldn’t that be something? Damn. I remember the Tylenol poisonings. In a way, we all do, every day. Some of you youngsters may not realize this, so…
You know how when you get a bottle of pills or a jar of cheese spread, and you have to tear off that plastic wrapper before you can unscrew the cap? Thirty years ago, there was no such thing. Thirty years ago, hardly any food or medicine products came with tamper-evident packaging.
Then, in 1982, seven people in and around Chicago died after taking Tylenol that had been laced with potassium cyanide. It was a pretty scary time: If the killer could put poison in Tylenol, couldn’t he could put poison in any other medicine or food? And couldn’t anyone else who had a grudge against society?
Over the next few years, we began putting little plastic wrappers on every food or medicine that opened with a cap. Every time you scrape your fingers trying to peel one of those off, it’s because of the Tylenol murders.
The Tylenol killer has never been caught, although there have been at least two copycat poisoning murders, both of which were attempts to distract authorities from a single specific person who was the intended victim. It remains one of the FBI’s biggest unsolved cases. It would be amazing if they could pin this on Kaczynski. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talking about him as a suspect for the Tylenol killings before.
On the other hand,
John Balasz, Kaczynski’s attorney, said he thinks the FBI wants Kaczynski’s DNA simply to rule him out as a suspect in the Tylenol case.
“You’ve got to ask the FBI how serious they are. I think it’s probably more that they want to exclude him,” he said.
Balasz said he’s “completely convinced” that Kaczynski had no involvement in the case.
Frankly, the government has a shaky record in this area. Just ask “person of interest” Steven Hatfill. And when the government finally decided he wasn’t responsible for the antrax letters (and paid him millions of dollars in damages), they picked a new suspect who was conveniently too dead to defend himself. So I’m not about to jump to any conclusions about Kaczynski as the Tylenol killer.