Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

April 29, 1995, Saturday, ALL EDITIONS


LENGTH: 599 words

HEADLINE: Short Takes; Crime? What crime?


Atlanta City Councilwoman Carolyn Long Banks was criticized for publicly stating before Freaknik weekend that she had been told of a police plan to kill some of the college students taking part in the event. Now Banks has responded to the critics: By saying what was in the works, she foiled the plot and saved lives, she said in a press conference Thursday.

Well. After recovering from the breathtaking logic of that statement, anyone can see the valuable role Banks can play in Atlanta.

Banks can say she has learned of a plan by animal rights activists to sneak into the zoo and free Willie B. from the gorilla compound.

When Atlanta hosts the Super Bowl again, she can announce a plot by crazed flight attendants to hijack a 747 on a runway at Hartsfield International Airport and taxi all the way to the Georgia Dome, where 70,000 football fans will be forced to eat tiny bags of peanuts.

And right before the 1996 Olympic Games, Banks can reveal a radical group's intent to sabotage synchronized swimming by playing heavy metal music during the competition.

When none of these events takes place, Banks can take credit for more crimes prevented. And Atlanta will be a safer place. The mask slips

The Unabomber, that selective and maddeningly elusive terrorist-by- mail, turns out to be a latter-day Luddite. Luddites were English workmen who violently opposed labor-saving devices in the early 19th century and did their darnedest to stop the Industrial Revolution dead in its tracks.

With this week's communications to the FBI, The New York Times and one of his early victims, the Unabomber has revealed himself as a contemptuous and deadly enemy of technological change. He also seems a bit nearer the edge psychologically than when he began his 17-year terror campaign.

Until this week, the Unabomber had given his FBI pursuers precious little to go on. Suddenly, however, he seems ready to unburden himself, offering to stop sending his lethal missives if some reputable publication will print his 41,000-word screed on the world as he sees it. With that slightly loony offer, of course, is the implied threat he will keep bombing, and maybe even up the ante, if he is refused.

This week's revelations have given the FBI plenty to chew on, and it is undertaking one of the most exhaustive computer analyses and searches in law enforcement history to find him. For the digitalized detectives to finally run him to ground would be justice, poetic and otherwise. Tough guy

State Rep. Billy McKinney of Atlanta is building himself quite a record. Unfortunately, it is the record of a thug, not a legislator.

Two years ago, an advocate for gay-rights issues alleged that McKinney struck her during a physical confrontation in Atlanta City Hall. McKinney denied the charge. "I didn't hit her," he said. "I'd like to hit her, but I didn't."

Last year, McKinney was charged with threatening a federal witness, U.S. Rep. Gary Franks of Connecticut, who was testifying in a court hearing involving the congressional district of McKinney's daughter, U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney. Among other things, McKinney challenged Franks to "fight like a man." The confrontation was captured on video, and McKinney, after apologizing, was hit with a $ 500 fine.

This year, McKinney got into a yelling match with a fellow state legislator in which, according to witnesses, McKinney again threatened physical violence, and, by some accounts, even brandished a pocketknife. "I don't carry a knife," McKinney now says. "I carry a gun." What a charming fellow. GRAPHIC: Photo: Billy McKinney