Go Cry, Emo Kid

Well children, tonight’s question is what to make of Joe Stack, the pilot who crashed into an office building full of IRS employees in Austin, TX. While surfing the web today I’ve seen him called a patriot, a psychopath, a hero, a martyr, and most troubling, a terrorist. I sifted through the rambling suicide note/manifesto/tax conspiracy fanfic that he left on-line and I’m here to clarify for you all the label that should be affixed to him.

He spent the early 1980s trying to find a way to take advantage of the type of tax exemptions granted to religious organizations. He wrote, “We carefully studied the law and then began to do exactly what the 'big boys' were doing (except that we weren’t stealing from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God)." In particular he had a hard-on for what he called the “vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church” - but soon he expanded his ire to anyone with deep pockets. He wrote, “I learned that there are two 'interpretations' for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us…”

Who is this “us” he refers to? I don’t know too many of “us” who are doing well enough to own a private plane. I did a little checking and found that his plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, was worth between $28k and $45K depending on the year and the condition. It’s a four-seater with a very limited range, just over 500 miles, so it’s really just a pleasure craft – an incredibly expensive device for joining the mile high club. I can't feel sorry for a guy who refuses to pay his taxes while he owns a $28k sex toy.

Although he wrote about surviving on peanut butter sandwiches when he was a starving student, those days couldn’t have lasted too long. His first wife declared bankruptcy in 1999, listing an IRS debt of nearly $126k. Now, I’m no tax lawyer but you have to be making some pretty serious bank to owe that much. Did she divorced him because of his terrible tax advice, or because she wasn’t into doing it at 30K feet?

Around that same time he spent $5000 – an amount that he referred to as, “pocket change,” travelling around bitching at elected officials about the tax code. When his efforts to change the tax code through the democratic process failed, he decided that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

Yeah – ‘cuz THAT’s what the constitution says. When the legislature doesn’t roll over for you, you should just kill federal workers until you get your way. This, above all, is the reason Joe Stack doesn’t deserve to be called a terrorist. Although I despise the methods of Al-Qaida and other extremist groups, I can actually understand the desperation behind it. The rank and file members of those factions perpetrate atrocities because they have suffered atrocities, on a national scale. Contrast that with Joe Stack, who owned his own business, owned a house, cars, and a private plane, and still had time to play in a country band for a little extra money. Not exactly the same sort of desperation.

Joe Stack’s act was simply the ultimate temper tantrum, thrown by a man consumed by the most pathetic sort of selfishness. That doesn’t make him a terrorist – it makes him the world’s oldest emo kid.


Sci Fi Heroine said...


Mayren said...

interesting pov. I admit i could not find his manifesto but i didn't look too hard. To me he came off as a giant dumbass who lost his self prescribed meds for a few weeks and threw a fit.

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