Thursday, February 18, 2010

Domestic Terrorism, North Austin Style

We had a real-live domestic terrorist incident about a mile up the road from our house this morning. Some nutjob named Joe Stack set his North Austin house on fire, took off in his single-engine plane from the Georgetown airport and crashed it into the 4-story Echelon I Building on Research Blvd. that houses an IRS field office. Stack died in the crash and one IRS employee is still unaccounted for. Two others were critically injured.

The authorities have shied away from using the T-word here, which seems a bit odd. I'm confused as to how a guy who leaves a manifesto before flying a plane into a building with federal offices would be considered anything else. I guess maybe you could say it wasn't terrorism because Stack apparently acted alone, but there's no way anyone would hedge on this if he wasn't white and/or American.

In reading the 53-year-old Stack's adolescent "manifesto," I'm struck by the fact that he takes absolutely no responsibility for anything that befell him. It's always the government or corporations or unions or the Catholic church or stupid Americans or this town with a "highly inflated sense of self-importance" that he voluntarily migrated to from California, but never his own boneheaded choices. Stack envisioned himself a rugged, self-made patriot under attack by The Man and I can only assume we're supposed to buy that because he ran his very own software company and didn't like paying taxes.

Whatever valid points he makes about creeping corporatism and the rich getting richer are quickly subsumed by his morass of narcissistic paranoia. I find this grossly disproportionate sense of woe-is-me entitlement emblematic of a certain subspecies of angry white men in this country. They liken paying taxes to anal rape but have no problem calling 911 when they have chest pains. They expect something for nothing and throw toddler tantrums when they can't get it ("Keep your government hands off my Medicare!").

Looking at the building, it's nothing short of miraculous that more people were not killed or injured. To that, I say hats off to the taxpayer-funded civil servants who helped mitigate the despicable actions of a self-aggrandizing tool.


Shean said...

You said that better than anyone I have heard on the local and national news today. It is a miracle that it wasn't a bloodbath.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderfully expressive and insightful summation, from a fellow Austin resident, living about 5 miles away from the last failure of Joe Stack, that will be forever stacked on top of all of his previous failures. Though that is said with sarcasm, my sentiment toward him is sadness and loss. Loss that an otherwise intelligent enough man trod a path of self-pity for so many years, apparently scrupulously avoiding changing his choice, every single minute of every day, to a path of love and appreciation of life, or at least acceptance; but that would have required he grow up.

The angry male of privilege rarely grows up, especially the white ones who successfully traded on their white affirmative action all these decades, and choose to blame others and take as many down with them as possible. That's how we get people yelling and screaming, and throwing wrenches into the machinery of the democracy that we do have and work to improve, yelling and screaming in order to stop the greater good from being served. And why? Why would they resent being a part of a greater whole?

Because they're jealous of their privilege, and they fear that if they lose it then they will have been proven eventually and ultimately to have not deserved it. They're afraid of failure, afraid of being just like everyone else. Just like Joe Stack.

From the very beginning of his fuck-off note, you could see the self-pity at work. He tells us what happened was unavoidable. What a crock. If it was unavoidable, it was unavoidable because he chose not to avoid it. He was angry and couldn't face the truth about himself, the truth that he had been hiding from himself since he started getting involved in those anti-tax scams in California those many wasted years ago.

The truth is that he was in it for himself only. The hell with everyone else not like him. He didn't want to be lumped in with "the blacks" and "immigrants", according to his note. He didn't want to be a part of any lumpen proletariat that would have him as a member. He wanted to do it all by himself and for himself. And if he couldn't do it, then the hell with everybody else. He'd take as many as he could down with him and feel sorry for himself all the way into that building. To hell with his wife and stepdaughter. Let them suffer when he's gone. That'll show them. He'll show everybody. He's Joe Stack, and he'll blow his stack any way and any time he wants, because, well, because he set himself up for failure. Sad.

Anonymous said...


Hate to sound simplistic and juvenile, but he wasn't a terrorist per se because he was white and American. White American citizens, whether they're killing abortion providers, carrying guns to town halls where the president is speaking, bombing the Olympics, or chirpily encouraging open insurrection on Fox, simply aren't terrorists by definition. Though if he were white and, say, a French citizen . . .
Otherwise, it's lovely to read about your upcoming son having signed to a major label, Beets-Jam America. Is he going to be putting out a self-titled hardcore debut, followed by a sophomore slump release in which he tries on new genres (notably metal and folk and reggaeton at the same time) to a mixed reception, followed by a rebound third album, say around age 4, in which he rediscovers his punk roots?


Anonymous said...

wtf, to the anonymous retard named terence above:
"wasn't a terrorist per se... Because he was white and american" you've clearly got no idea. anyone can be a terrorist, doesn't mater if they are white or American not. Absolutely ignorant. It's called regional or domestic terrorism, go and do some research before you make such stupid, "simplistic and juvenile" comments