Via the NY Times:
A software engineer furious with the Internal Revenue Service plowed his small plane into an office building housing nearly 200 federal tax employees on Thursday, officials said, setting off a raging fire that sent workers fleeing as thick plumes of black smoke poured into the air.
A U.S. law official identified the pilot as Joseph Stack — whose home was set on fire just before the crash — and said investigators were looking at an anti-government message on the Web linked to him. The Web site outlines problems with the IRS and says violence ”is the only answer.”
Federal law enforcement officials have said they were investigating whether the pilot, who is presumed to have died in the crash, slammed into the Austin building on purpose in an effort to blow up IRS offices. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
”Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer,” the long note on Stack’s Web site reads, citing past problems with the tax-collecting agency.
”I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well,” the note, dated Thursday, reads.
At least one person who worked in the building was unaccounted for and two people were hospitalized, said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Dawn Clopton. She did not have any information about the pilot. About 190 IRS employees work in the building, and IRS spokesman Richard C. Sanford the agency was trying to account for all of its workers. After the plane crashed into the building, flames shot out, windows exploded and workers scrambled to safety. Thick smoke billowed out of the second and third stories hours later as fire crews battled the blaze.
Stack is dead. Some reports say he had a passenger, also killed.
Because of his choice of targets and the strong anti-tax sentiment, some will probably try to tie Stack to the Tea Party movement. This seems unlikely. Stack’s political convictions seem only to align with the populists’ on a blanket opposition to taxation. The terrorist’s rambling suicide note makes no reference to Pres. Obama, but does condemn George W. Bush. Unlike the libertarian and self-styled Constitutional originalist Tea Partiers, Stack’s antimosity is aimed equally at The State and capitalism, describing the “ideology” of American society “a total and complete lie,” and ending the screed thusly:
The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.
GM specifically and “corporate greed” more broadly are also condemned.
Stack was disgruntled with the American healthcare system, and was apparently for the Obama’s reform program; he hated the government, but wasn’t afraid of death panels.
[T]he 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. Yet the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.
Also, contra the populist movement’s theocratic conviction in a divine mandate for the American state, Stack rails against the Catholic Church and “the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living.”
Filed under: religion, religion: Roman Catholicism, tea party movement, violence | 4 Comments »