Not a terrorist; terrorized perhaps

This is really quite sad. The Austin pilot who crashed his plane into an IRS office seems to have done it as a protest. He also sounds as if he hopes – and maybe expects – others to follow his lead until government and business take notice.

In his manifesto, he rails against many things, but at the heart of it is a man who views the world from the bottom looking up and sees ‘up there’ only the vicious and greedy in the persona of government and big business. He feels utterly abused and used. And he’s tired of fighting back.

Anyone who takes his beef this far has lost touch.  But even as he draws an exaggerated picture full of stereotypes, he is not all wrong. A good deal of what he sees is there. He isn’t imagining all of it; what he is imagining, is that that is all there is.


He ends his ‘manifesto on a bitter-sweet note, offering himself up:

“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.”

6 responses to “Not a terrorist; terrorized perhaps

  1. This man railed against the IRS because of a change in the tax laws that made his employers withhold taxes from his salary instead of allowing him (as an independent contractor) to pay quarterly self-employment taxes. Basically, he had been trying to “game” the system in the past by not paying those taxes on his own and had two businesses shut down by the IRS because of that. He also hated the CPA who found undeclared income that he owed taxes on. A lot of his problems were brought on by his past actions.

    He may have some points about corporations and health care, but that doesn’t justify flying a plane into a governmental building and taking innocent lives. Criminal or domestic terrorist—take your pick.

    As I read elsewhere, only in America could someone consider themself “the harrassed little guy” and yet have the bucks to be able to hop into his own plane and crash it into a building.

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    • I kind of like the ‘his own airplane’ part. And I agree with all you said Texas.

      But something in his manifesto touched me – I know it sounds weird, and every complaint of his is ridiculously bogus – but there was something of him trying to hold on to . . . to something, but even he didn’t know what he was trying to hold onto. So he just let it go.

      He himself was as much a tragedy as what he did to those people.

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  2. Moe, maybe to clarify a bit more that this man was not terrorized, here’s the latest from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper:

    “Also in Stack’s Web posting, he said he lost “$40,000 and 10 years of my life” in what tax experts describe as an attempt to avoid taxes by claiming his home was a church.

    In the posting, Stack wrote that he and others “carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the ‘best’, high-paid experienced tax lawyers in the business) and then began to do exactly what the ‘big boys’ were doing,” referring to tax exemptions taken by the Catholic Church.

    Stack had other tax problems.

    In 2000, the California Franchise Tax Board suspended the license of a company he owned, Prowess Engineering, for failure to file a tax return. The license of another company Stack owned, Software Systems Services Corp., was suspended in 2004 for the same reason.

    MacNab said Stack’s list of complaints and tax issues indicate that “his beef with Section 1706 was just one complaint in a long line of tax grievances.”

    “This is true of literally all of the tax protesters I’ve monitored over the years. They simply do not want to pay, and they float from reason to reason justifying how they can accomplish that goal,” she said.
    However, Stack’s arguments are not typical of the tax protest movement, MacNab said.

    “Most tax protesters are in blue-collar professions with high school-level educations. Their arguments with the government usually involve far more basic concepts such as ‘no law makes me liable,’ or ‘the 16th Amendment of the Constitution was never ratified’ or ‘I’m a sovereign, and you can’t tax me,’ she said.

    Turner, of Escobar & Associates, said he often consults with potential clients who “think they have it figured out” when it comes to unusual ways of avoiding taxes.

    “I tell folks they can stand on their principles,” he said, “but the government usually will make you stand on your principles in Leavenworth” federal prison.”

    I’m afraid his manifesto didn’t touch me the way it did you, Moe. To me, he’s just another jerk who wanted to get around paying his taxes like everybody else and a 67 year-old guy who was just doing his job working for the IRS in Austin had to die because of that.

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    • [this man was not terrorized]

      Not my best headline ever. When I said terrorized, I thought I meant not by the IRS or the big bad men he saw out there, but by life iself, by his own inability to control his own life. But I respect your voice quite a lot, so I think I’ll go back and reread that manifesto.

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  3. Here’s an update about Vernon Hunter, the man killed in Stack’s attack on the IRS:

    “The family of a longtime Internal Revenue Service employee killed when a pilot harboring an anti-IRS grudge flew his plane into his office remembered the Vietnam veteran Saturday as devoted family man who likely would have tried to save his co-workers from the burning building before escaping himself.

    “He was full of life. Probably the best teacher I had in my life,” Ken Hunter said of his father, 68-year-old Vernon Hunter. The elder Hunter had been missing and presumed dead since Thursday, when software engineer Andrew Joseph Stack III slammed his plane into the Austin building where Hunter worked as a manager for the IRS.
    Standing outside Hunter’s house in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, Ken Hunter said he wanted to tell people about his father after hearing about Stack’s life and his anti-tax crusade. He was alarmed by comments from Stack’s friends who said he was a good person and Internet postings calling the pilot a hero.

    “People say (Stack) is a patriot. What’s he a patriot for? He hasn’t served the country. My dad did two tours of Vietnam and this guy is going to be a patriot and no one is going to say that about my dad? That’s what got me started talking. I couldn’t stand it anymore,” Ken Hunter said.”

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    • Ouch. My head is hanging lower and lower.

      That people are calling the pilot a hero or a patriot – probably because of their own anti-tax issues – is a very sad commentary on how twisted things become.

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