Thursday, February 18, 2010

Death and Taxes (and Terrorism)

Plane Crashes Into I.R.S. Office Building:

A small plane crashed Thursday into an office building in Austin that houses Internal Revenue Service offices, igniting a huge fire that spewed thick black smoke into the sky.

A federal official identified the pilot of the airplane as Andrew Joseph Stack. A purported suicide note left on a Web site registered to Joe Stack of San Marcos, Tex., spoke of a "storm raging in my head" and said that "desperate times call for desperate measures."

The writer said the long, rambling note began as therapy, then became a self-described "rant" about his financial failures over two decades and run-ins with the IRS and his tax accountant.

"I am finally ready to stop this insanity," the author wrote near the end of the message. "Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well." The posting, dated Thursday, was signed: "Joe Stack (1956-2010)."

If you read through the purported suicide note, Stack was one of these anti-tax kooks who claimed he wasn't a U.S. citizen (but was a citizen of Texas) and had been in trouble over the years for incidents related to taxation. So he decided to fly a plane into a building to kill as many innocent civilians (I.R.S. employees) as he could in order to make a political point. That would make this an act of terrorism, right?

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said there was no indication that the crash was related to terrorism.
Why? Because the pilot of the plane didn't fit the "terrorist profile" of a young, Arabic-descent male, babbling about jihad?

Shouldn't we have issued an alert to be on the lookout for doughy, middle aged, balding, white males who have a beef with paying taxes?

In a news conference, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell assured city residents that "they are safe; there is no danger; the situation is totally contained."

"There is no cause for concern from a law enforcement or terrorism perspective," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. "This is an isolated incident. There is no cause for alarm."

Uh, every act of terrorism is both A. an "isolated incident" and B. "cause for alarm." Ironic that this is treated as a crime (which all terrorism is, incidentally), but had the pilot been Arabic or Muslim, we'd be hunkering down, buying duct tape, and gearing up for another "surge" somewhere.

As the experts note, domestic terrorism is far more likely to hurt or maim people on U.S. soil than an attack from al-Qaeda or other foreign entity. It's the homegrown nutswe should be leery of.

No comments: