Joseph A. Stack flew 25 miles to an IRS building off of I-83 this morning. He then dove straight into it, Stack, the only death so far. Investigators are still searching for more casualties. Associated with the tragedy was an approximately 3000 word manifesto expressing his thought process for such an act along with the events which lead to his decision.
He repeatedly edited and finally posted a 3000 word manifesto leading up to this morning's disaster. The letter, a rant about taxes and the government, spurred from years of hassles with the IRS. Unfortunately, the language in the document was more than your basic gripe about the IRS.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures."
Desperation and anger sums it up. That is the disturbed paranoia on the Right which has triggered some to consider behaving violently. To deny the existence of such an element is to deny the serious nature of the accusations anti-government groups have made. Those accusations are not without consequence.
The strange part in the tirade was that I could not pin down which side of the fence the guy sat on. Much of his suicide note is obviously anti-government and anti-taxes, yet at the end of the document, he invokes Communism. The letter is peppered with Tea Party style language and other phrases which hint he leans more Right than Left. Strange, indeed. But we should not attempt to rationalize the ravings of a lunatic.
Moments after his name surfaced, Tea Party enthusiasts jumped at the opportunity to use the attack on the IRS to elevate their own anti-government position. The real question to ask then is, will Tea Partyers mistakenly take this act of violence as a green light to take action against the government in a violent manner themselves?
What troubles me even more is how Tea Party supporters and Limbaugh/Beck listeners will sympathize with this man. These same people call critics of the war terrorist sympathizers. I'm sure they feel that this man's violent response represents a legitimate message being sent to the Obama administration. They will defend is insane suicide note as something that represents a growing source of frustration in this country. The problem is, there is no IRS squeeze being put on Joe Taxpayer. The notion has been manufactured and perpetuated via ideology and fear. The Obama administration cut taxes for people in this group.
What they won't say, however, is that the manifesto has clues which suggest Stack may have not been all that kosher when it came to his taxes. I'll get to that in a minute. First, let me focus on the Tea Party reaction to this act.
Search Twitter for Stack sympathizers. These are just some of the gems you'll find.
Mixed feelings? Main stream media misinformation? Well written and poignant manifesto? Tea Party martyr?
Some folks on the Right are even claiming Stack was a wacko from the Left. They claim to have read his manifesto, yet aside from a jab at George W. Bush and a small tirade about health care being a crisis, nothing about his manifesto stinks of straight Liberalism, only Tea Party anti-government angst. Those on the Right consider anyone who criticizes Dubya or our "wonderful" health care system a Leftist. Part of his manifesto actually hinted that he was possibly weaseling around tax laws in order to evade paying. See the part where he talks about tax law readings with neighbors and lawyers and the section where he had undocumented income. He made himself out to be a patriot of all things. Draping oneself in a flag definitely belongs in the Right corner, not the Left. He also made it relatively clear he had a negative impression of unions and of a Democratic politician, Patrick Moynihan. I would personally love to get my hands on some of the letters he claimed to have written to politicians in the past. Perhaps they might shed some light on his thought process and how this dreadful day came into fruition.
So let's give these sympathizers the benefit of the doubt and say Stack wasn't a member of the Tea Party movement. Take all his angst and make a list. All of it resembles things said at speeches during the Tea Party convention. Someone with anti-government angst focused against the IRS does not fit a Leftist profile at all. On the contrary, self proclaimed "true Conservatives" post this kind of nonsense on the net minute by minute. "No taxation without representation" is a tag line of the Tea Party movement, a quote elevated with some importance in the Stack manifesto. Tea Party jargon inadvertently justifies his state of psychosis.
What Tea Party folks need to realize is that their choice of words resonates with more than their own protesters. Talk of revolution and oppression by way of taxes speaks to these lone wolves with psychotic tendencies. It speaks to those carrying signs with swastikas on them and those who play the Socialism card far too often than is necessary. All of those signs we see at Tea Party protests are not the least bit light hearted. They have a clear message directed at a clear target. The Tea Party marks the target. The crazy ones use a scope and fire away. Then the Tea Party gets to act as though they aren't to blame.
Speaking out against the entire US government with vague complaints leaves the uninformed to come to their own ridiculous conclusions. You've fired up the wrong people and now we've suffered as a result. Time to tame your own followers. Time to keep your volatile language in check.
What is ironic is how things are looking to become a self fulfilling prophecy. What do I mean by that? The Tea Party movement and several wingnuts claim the US government will turn into a police state, the likes of which we haven't seen since Communist Russia. I don't think they realize that by advocating revolution and trigging men and women to wage attacks on US soil, they will actually justify actions which would police our freedom.
Some additional points:
He became a Texan, although it would appear he has roots in Pennsylvania. Texas does strange things to people. It's why I really try to avoid driving into Texas altogether. I do give him credit, however, for noticing the over-inflated ego present in Texans.
He complained about all this money lost, yet he had a small plane. Doesn't seem to be hurting that bad. Although it appears that in his younger years, hard times were upon him, real poverty and hard times, he knew not. Who among you owns a plane? Who among you facing hard times owns a web site? That also means he owns a computer and has a decent internet connection. If money is an issue, I certainly wouldn't be throwing it away on a plane and a hosted domain.
My final word:
If his message resonates with you, I am scared of you. I wonder if you will be the next to take your own life and possibly many innocent others. I worry that members of our military will act out in a similar fashion. B52's fly training exercises above the city I live in. Imagine what kind of disaster could ensue should one of our own who swore to defend this country drove a plane like that into the ground. I wonder if I will become a victim of your angst. A body count is nothing to be proud of. You really do terrify the rest of us. Whether you post at FreeRepublic, NewsMax, InfoWars, or any of the many other "Conservative" leaning sites, comments which endorse violence and sympathize with revolution need to be weeded out. Freedom of speech only gets you so far before you become a threat to the rest of society.
I should not fear for my own life on this scale. That is terrorism. Are you a threat? If your answer is yes, you deserve to be on the FBI watch list and no-fly list. It's not oppression or police state when we come after you. You seek to cause physical harm to fellow Americans. Nothing excuses that kind of behavior. Nothing.
This is your "revolution"? You've made Americans afraid again. The language you choose to use to speak to your audience has consequences. They are preparing to take desperate measures. Time to rein in your fringe and send a clear message that this is not the way to solve problems.