On Thursday Feb. 18, 53-year-old Joseph Andrew Stack woke up and set his Austin Texas home on fire. However deranged, it wouldnâ€™t even compare to what he did next.
He drove to Georgetown Municipal Airport and hopped into a small Piper Cherokee airplane. Twenty minutes later, using a page from the Al Qaeda playbook, he rammed his plane into an IRS building that housed up to 200 federal employees.
Hitting this particular building was no accident. Before taking his own life, and those of two others in the collision, Stack left what amounted to a â€œcrash manifestoâ€ on his Web site; a diatribe against the government, corporations, unions and the Catholic Church. In particular, Stack detailed the unfortunate relationship he had with the IRS while he struggled in the software engineering business, as well as tax codes that robbed him of tens of thousands of dollars over the past three decades. His beef with the IRS and government ended up being the primary reason for his act of terror.
â€œHere we have a system that is by far too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand,â€ Stack wrote. â€œThe law â€˜requiresâ€™ a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully they understand what they are signing; if thatâ€™s not â€˜duressâ€™ than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.â€
After digesting Stackâ€™s motive and his kamikaze-like maneuver, my initial reaction was, â€œWhere the hell is Turbo Tax when you need it?â€
The truth, however, is that Stack was right to feel enraged, and he was spot on in his assessment of the federal government: an amoral entity that amounts to nothing more than a stationary bandit. His opinion of Americaâ€™s broken and corrupt political system was even more accurate.
Was it any surprise that within an hour of Stackâ€™s assault on the IRS, Facebook fan clubs such as â€œJoe A. Stack â€“ Modern Day Rebelâ€ and â€œJoe Stack: A True American Patriotâ€ weâ€™re created? CNNâ€™s Rick Sanchez remarked that none of the e-mails he received while on air thoroughly condemned Stackâ€™s actions.
The United States was founded on the principles of economic liberty, but Stack saw that such liberty is entirely non-existent.
The founding fathers are no doubt rolling over in their graves over the amount of taxation and regulation enforced by the U.S. government today. Our small businesses battle zoning ordinances, absurd OSHA rules and insanely expensive building codes. We have sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes; the government even came up with something as sleazy as the estate tax, or as its more commonly referred, the â€œDeath Tax.â€ The biggest theft of them all is the income tax, which essentially makes each of us a government serf.
For what do we pay all these taxes that Stack was so vehemently opposed?
Well, the government certainly isnâ€™t spending our money on great schools or quality roads. Indeed, what we get in return for our taxes is entirely devious and precisely what makes our government so immoral. Multi-trillion dollar wars for Iraqâ€™s oil fields, all to the benefit of Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil; hundreds of billions of dollars for private contractors like DynCorp and Lockheed Martin in Afghanistan; stimulus packages that amount to nothing more than those in power buying votes at $250,000 a job and hooking up select green tech companies with lucrative contracts; and foreign aid packages with mandates that has the receiving country buy products from U.S. manufacturers (a policy that amounts to corporate welfare).
When Stack realized that our tax dollars have a habit of ending up in the hands of big business, he was incensed even further.
â€œWhy is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities â€¦ and when itâ€™s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the full force of the federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?â€ Stack asked.
He was not so subtly referring to the Wall Street bank bailout, when the elites of the business world came to the government asking it to print hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, put the tab on us, and saved their aristocratic socioeconomic statuses. As we all know, within the blink of an eye, the Wall Street got exactly what it wanted.
Time magazine and the New York Post compared Stackâ€™s populist outrage to those who compose the Tea Party movement. But a thorough examination of his suicide letter showed he was far from being a capitalism-loving libertarian that constitutes so many of the tea baggers. In fact, Stack was so anti-corporation, anti-capitalism he sounded more like a left-wing communist.
â€œCapitalism: from each according to their gullibility, to each according to their greed,â€ he wrote.
Many Americans have crowned Stack a hero, but they all fail to see how his violence is unjustified. Two innocent people are dead, and two others suffered burns theyâ€™ll have to live with for the rest of their lives.
Stackâ€™s terrorism wonâ€™t create freedom for Americans, in fact, it is sure to do the complete opposite. Would anyone be surprised if the government responded with a new PATRIOT act on steroids?
If the government is looking for an answer to making sure domestic terror never happens again, I have one that doesnâ€™t involve them further violating the constitution: abstain from stealing so much of our paychecks every month and then selling us all out to corporations.