Social Question

Ivy's avatar

What are your thoughts about the man who set fire to his house and flew his private plane into an IRS building in Austin, TX?

Asked by Ivy (2479points) February 18th, 2010

Is this revolution or just insanity?
Is Joe Stack right that violence is the only answer?
Here is an excerpt of the man’s statement:
“I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. 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. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.”

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38 Answers

Master's avatar

That we are nearing a tipping point. People are getting tired of taking it anymore.

stump's avatar

It is stupid self-pity.

Val123's avatar

I just saw that. Obviously he was unbalanced.

CMaz's avatar

I say, GOOD JOB!

mrentropy's avatar

I don’t see who he could’ve hurt except for people just like him. It may bring closer scrutiny, though. Over all, I’m against something like this because I don’t see anyone but innocents being hurt by it.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

The government and the media will portrait him as an unbalance individual not as a person that was pushed to his limits.

coolshaymin's avatar

well, that’s crazy….

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

He’s just alittle sensitive.

Trillian's avatar

My question is; What did he hope to accomplish? Why did he feel that others were going to be as willing as he was to add their bodies to the “count”? (No pun intended, @Dracool)!
“We can confirm that the building that the plane hit this morning includes I.R.S. offices,” said Terry L. Lemons, a spokesman for the agency. “We have about 190 employees that work at those offices. We’re still in the process of accounting for everyone.”
Employees and offices of the tax agency have faced threats and even attacks in the past. In December 1995, a bomb in a 30-gallon drum was found in a parking lot outside the I.R.S. office in Reno, Nev., but it failed to explode.
In April 1990, a firebomb packed with a tea bag — a reference to the Boston Tea Party — and addressed to the I.R.S. was placed in the mail in Royal Oak, Mich. It exploded, injuring a postal worker.
A number of people, including a husband and wife who contend that Americans are not generally required to pay income taxes unless they have declared their income taxable, have been prosecuted. The I.R.S. has called such theories bogus tax-evasion schemes.
Jack Healy contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/us/19crash.html

So I’m not crazy about paying taxes either, but I don’t go around blowing up buildings, or harming people who work for the IRS. The principle of civic duty is overshadowed here by a self serving load of crap. Ghandi and King both understood civic disobedience and managed to bring about change. We’d all be better served using them as guides.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Maybe something is in the air. It is interesting that this man has been given a chance to voice his rationale for what appears on the surface to be an irrational act. He was not discounted out of hand as a raving lunatic like so many other disident newbies of the past. I’ve suspected for a long time that many of these “lunatic loners” and “lone gunmen” may have rational reasons for their rash acts.

stump's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I discount him out of hand as a raving lunatic. I am a member of the middle class. I have had to take a cut in pay and move in with my mother and sister. My brother is out of work. Times are hard. But it isn’t because I have to pay taxes. And killing random people with my plane won’t spark a glorious revolution resulting in a world where no one has to pay taxes.

Ivy's avatar

To those who think he was crazy, imbalanced or a raving lunatic, the man’s suicide note (complete note is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/18/joe-stack-statement-alleg_n_467539.html?page=2), there is nothing in what he’s written to affirm that. He is intelligent, articulate, and presents sound reasoning. I’m not in any way condoning what he did, but I’m wondering if he isn’t representative of countless Americans who are fed up with living lives of quiet desperation, and wondering what comes next.

Val123's avatar

@Dracool I read it…it sounded a little rambling and vague to me. I saw nothing in there about any specific thing that would drive him to suicide.

MissAusten's avatar

Um…was the plane his? How many people can afford their own plane? I’d be happy with enough money to buy a crappy used car right now, so I have a hard time sympathizing with someone who has an airplane. He was a nutcase. If you’re a normal, rational person and you owe money for taxes, you either change your lifestyle to meet your obligations or you…gee, I don’t know…sell your plane.

Qingu's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus, I’m curious to know what rational reason you think he “may have” had for crashing his plane into a building, killing himself, hospitalizing two others, and possibly killing another person.

@Master, tired of taking “what”?

Qingu's avatar

@Pretty Lily, how on earth was he “pushed to his limits”?

Qingu's avatar

People who support murder-suicide attempts, for any reason, are despicable.

Some of the answers to this question are despicable.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t disagree with anything he said, but I do not agree that violence is the answer.

robmandu's avatar

@Dracool, just because dude can string a few words together – ignoring the obvious misspellings scattered throughout his suicide screed – does not make him intelligent and articulate nor does it mean his reasoning is sound.

Indeed, in one passage, he rails against the conspiracy to keep the little man down just because he couldn’t be bothered to followup on his accountant’s tax filings. And it sounds like he moved his free-lance engineering business to Austin without bothering to perform any kind of diligence as to the suitability of such business there. Nor did he seem to understand that the cost of living (and hence rates and wages) in California are much, much higher than in Texas.

All in all, his words sound like the raving of a deeply troubled individual with no kind of legitimate grasp on reality.

syz's avatar

This was not an act of civil disobedience. It was not an anti government statement. Just another mentally disturbed individual. At least he didn’t walk onto a school campus and start shooting. Although he apparently risked his wife and child by setting fire to his house. It’s too bad his illness wasn’t recognized in time to incarcerate him.

Anyone who applauds his action is a fool.

augustlan's avatar

An example of insanity. One that has been carefully fostered by conspiracy theorists, far right wing-nuts, and countless talking heads. It scares the living shit out of me, though. I fear there is more to come.

robmandu's avatar

@augustlan, I’ve seen numerous references to “right wing” influences on and support for this guy. And yet, I can’t connect the dots. The guy quotes Karl Marx’s famous communist slogan in his letter… which to me swings the dial way left.

So, why’s this perceived as “right”?

If anything, my opinion would be that whichever extreme direction people go, they end up meeting smack dab in the middle of crazy.

Berserker's avatar

It’s all frightening. The fact that we have to debate whether he was mentally ill, pushed to the limits or whatever else suggests that we don’t know what pushes people to do such things, and is all the more depressing in that we therefore have no idea how to deal or prevent these things.

CMaz's avatar

It is 6:22 pm EST

It is official. He did do it on purpose.

They should have checked here first.

kevbo's avatar

I’m just glad they determined so quickly that it wasn’t an act of terrorism, so we don’t have to worry about thermal expansion or global collapse bringing down the building.

lilikoi's avatar

Perhaps if his reasoning were a little more developed, he would have realized that the IRS is not the root of the problem.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, his ugly wife was.

augustlan's avatar

@robmandu To be honest, I only read what the OP had quoted above. It was the first two sentences that struck me as “right wing”:

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants.

(Especially that bit about the blacks.)

In addition, fear is more often a tool of the far right (see: Socialism, Death Panels, etc.). So, that’s where my thinking came from. I’m willing to admit that he could be a whole other brand of crazy, though.

Qingu's avatar

It’s certainly deranged populism of the convoluted teabagger variety. “Taxes are evil” is one of the few things that teabaggers consistently believe.

Val123's avatar

@Qingu You said, “Taxes are evil” is one of the few things that teabaggers consistently believe.” Especially the ones on unemployment and disability.

Qingu's avatar

Ha, I didn’t mean self-consistently. :) I meant that if you asked 100 teabaggers about taxes, 99 would probably say they’re evil. Despite also collecting the benefits of those taxes. And bitching about the deficit… that can only be reduced by taxes.

mrentropy's avatar

Those darn tea bagging gang bangers.

(I remember when those terms meant something totally different and a lot more erotic)

CMaz's avatar

Heeh heeheheheh, hey Beavis… He said tea baggin.

Heeh heeheheheh

Berserker's avatar

Uh huh huh…bag.

MissAusten's avatar

I am Cornholio.

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