I have a soft spot for the diatribes of violent rebels. I read over a hundred pages of stuff written by the Columbine kids. I read everything I could find on Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, even Osama bin Laden. I don’t read these things because I want to know what “made them do it;” I want to know what they thought made them do it.
That’s always how it is. These people are always “driven” to do these things, as if violent outbursts are a foregone conclusion under certain circumstances. Maybe this is true, I don’t know. I live in the same world, notice the same injustices, and yet I am not driven to hurt innocent people. Sure, there’s the occasional day-dream of poisoning the punch at a Republican Convention, but those cocksuckers deserve it…
Perhaps the first step in committing an act of terrorism is to define those who are “guilty” of preventing change, always some group of “others.” The second step, then, is believing that violence is necessary for change. Joe Stack is a terrorist. He states quite clearly on page six of his note that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer” [emphasis in original].
When I first heard the story, I assumed the guy was a right-wing nut who blamed the government for his woes. After reading his note, I am conflicted. I want to say he is probably a centrist who leans left, but there is nothing to indicate to me that this note was not carefully contrived.
I am reminded of the census worker who was found hanging in a cemetery with the words“FED” written on his stomach. It turned out he had faked his own murder, which was in fact a suicide, in order for life-insurance to pay out.
Why would Joe Stack fake being a lefty communist? Why would he gloss over political issues (mentioning healthcare briefly and railing on Bush… who is universally panned anyway) only to end his letter with a seemingly all-important allusion to Communism [page 6]:
The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.This line that could easily be added to the note, perhaps after several re-readings where he realized he comes off as a crazy conservative. Charles Manson and Timothy McVeigh both staged their crimes with the hopes that it would stir unrest and confusion.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.
I don’t think there’s any evidence for anything like that regarding Joe Stack…yet. I will say this: he rails against Catholics, which is something right-wing Protestants are wont to do. He talks about “big brother,” and chose to fly his plane into the IRS. That doesn’t sound very left to me.
Left, right, progressive, conservative, whatever he is, Joe Stack’s actions are being criticized across the board. I sympathize with the guy, especially if he truly was the victim of predatory tax laws. Even if he is merely in this situation due to his own actions, I question the validity of a system that would leave a man in the very dangerous position of having nothing to lose. People are often driven to crime in tough times, we just rarely see it because most people aren’t very creative.
The world lost a motivated individual, one willing to die for something they believed in, even if he did not fully understand it, and one who didn’t care who he hurt in the process.
Joe Stack: typical American rebel.