thoughts on Joseph Stack

By now of course you know about Joseph Stack, the software engineer and private pilot who fly his small – but devastating – plane into the Echelon office building in Austin, Texas, whose tenants included the IRS and other federal agencies.

He posted a long essay on his website, now blocked by its web host, alternately citing both due to FBI request or bandwidth issues. But of course not before it was reposted, including by Fox News, here (I just happened to pull it up off that site, one of many).

In it he gives a lifelong litany of undetailed personal complaints against the IRS, including how the tax system coddled the Catholic Church, how a CPA insisted he declare all his wife’s income and refused to list a piano purchase as a business deduction for her as a musician, and how a change in the tax codes affecting his specialty in the 1980’s “declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave”.

The general tone and the focus of Stack’s complaints reads like an updated version of the Timothy McVeigh/militia anger from the 1990’s – but distinctive in that Stack never talks about trying to leave the system; instead after financial and business failure he hunkers back down and puts his shoulder to the wheel. In that weird way amidst all of it, he is quintessentially American.

But, lest we assume he was a Tea Partier who took things to a “next level”… not quite. He also harangues against the “recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies” for spiraling the flow of wealth upward to the already-wealthy.

And he is angry about the current capitalist-driven health care and pharmaceutical system :

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.

The political spectrum is not a continuum from far right to far left, but actually a circle – far right and far left meet; their actions, their use of power, their base vocabulary, are indistinguishable to those at their mercy, outside the inner circle. Both constitutionalist Tea Partiers and anarchic G-13 protestors call Obama a Nazi. Fringe theocratists throw Molotov cocktails at gay bars while ELF eco-terrorists throw Molotov cocktails at SUV showrooms.

And 80% of Americans across the board hate the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

But toward the end of his story, Stack writes something that shows very interesting “logic”:

I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are.

This weird bit of tone-deaf psychology also describes what Timothy McVeigh thought would happen when we all heard the Murrah Building was bombed.  It is the premise that starts The Turner Diaries.   That an act of violence will make everyone else wake up and shake us out of our “zombie” slumber, as Stack puts it, and realize, “Hey, we need more of this!” and grab up torches and pitchforks.

But… Already today Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown went so far as to sympathize with Stack’s frustration, and Facebook is taking down Joseph Stack fanpages.

I want to say that, by refusing to see the humanity of the men and women who kissed their wives and husbands as they left home this morning and went to their offices in Echelon office park to earn a paycheck – albeit a government paycheck – and consigning them to subhuman “mindless minions” Joseph Stack only proved he was the Nazi.  As had Timothy McVeigh.

But Joseph Stack was simply a sick man.  And I pray for peace for his wife and family.

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3 responses to “thoughts on Joseph Stack

  1. Very well written.

    I, too, pray for peace for his family and those who’s lives were changed forever by this sick person.

  2. This is a good, informative and well-balanced article. I think you did a good job of not trying to put stack in a box somewhere along the political spectrum. That shows true objectivity.

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