“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 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.”
Joe Stack (1956-2010)
Andrew Joseph Stack, at age 54, was on his second marriage and claimed that he had battled with the IRS and other agencies for most of his life. In his sometimes rambling, 3,200 word manifesto dated 2/18/10, Stack indicated that he had lost thousands of dollars and many years of his life in a futile fight over IRS tax laws that he thought to be both unjust and intolerable. He also railed against former President Bush, the American medical system, the US automobile industry, large insurance and investment companies and even the Catholic Church. Claiming to be a college educated engineer, he suggests that “there are two interpretations for every law – one for the very rich and one for the rest of us.”
This morning Stack allegedly set fire to his north Austin, Texas home and drove to the Georgetown, TX airport where he kept his small plane, reportedly a Piper Dakota or similar four place, single engine aircraft. Such a plane can normally carry up to 72 gallons of gasoline. Evidently Stack took off alone and headed toward downtown Austin, where he pointed the nose of his plane at the 7-story IRS build where almost 200 people worked. Following the actions of the terrorists of 9/11, Stack flew the plane into the side of the building, killing himself while setting the building ablaze, causing employees to run for their lives. So far 11 people are known to have been injured inside of the building and one death (in addition to Stack) has been confirmed.
On one Internet site attributed to Stack, he allegedly wrote that “violence is the only answer,” perhaps somehow attempting to explain his actions today. A reading of his seven-page manifesto suggests the frustration, anger, and rage and sense of loss that apparently fueled Stack’s suicide, writing on his Internet site “take my pound of flesh and sleep well.” Stack, who may have been experiencing marital problems with his current wife who had a young daughter, was a computer software engineer who had apparently fallen on tough times dating back to at least the .com crash. He was the former CEO of two software companies who claimed that he had been unfairly targeted by the IRS and then manipulated in a way to prevent his protest of his treatment by that agency.
Many will remember the troubled 15-year-old boy who stole a similar small plane in Tampa, Florida in January 2002 and flew it into the 28thfloor of the Bank of America Building in that city. Stack is but one of the 235,000 private pilots in America who could gain access to a small plane for any number of purposes, most, of course, are center around travel or just the fun of flying. A few, a very few have used such aircraft as either a means to commit suicide, such as someone on the ground would drive a car into a bridge or building, or even head-on into another vehicle, taking their own life and perhaps the lives of innocent others. Many have realized the threat that the use of a small plane could present since the use of commercial airliners to crash into buildings came into terroristic vogue after the 9/11 attacks. It was shortly after that time that U.S. investigative agencies put out warnings concerning the potential hijacking of crop duster planes as well as fuel tanker trucks, any of which could have been used to follow up the 9/11 attacks.
In the case of Stack, it would appear that a number of challenges may have contributed to his suicide/homicide acts of today. He may, for example, have burned his $232,000 home to prevent it from being repossessed or from having a tax lien placed against it by the government. A current media report indicates that Stack's wife and her daughter were out of the house when it was set aflame, having left their home last night after the Stacks argued when Stack allegedly lost his temper in a fit of anger concerning the IRS. This perhaps served as the emotional catalyst for his actions the next day. After setting his home afire, Stack is believed to have driven to the nearby airport and made the final flight of his life.
The FBI, the FAA, the NTSB and other agencies will investigate this to determine if it was the act of one man on psychological overload or the work of one or more domestic terrorists. After all, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 in protest against another federal agency, in that case the ATF, as well as the Federal Government in general. McVeigh was immediately labeled as a domestic terrorist, because of his act of mass murder. Stack is either an emotionally challenged and sad man, a lone-wolf domestic terrorist, or, perhaps both.
Should Stack have acted alone, which is highly likely at this time, he will probably be written off as just another emotionally disturbed individual, someone who was mad as hell and just wasn’t going to take it anymore. After all, he had experienced multiple marriages, he had suffered past and recent financial losses, he had lost his retirement money, and he was mad as big business and government bailed out the very rich while the little citizens, like him, were left to swing in the wind. He had, therefore, experienced many of the emotional, physical, and financial challenges experienced by millions of his fellow citizens in the last few years. A recent tax audit that revealed that Stack and his wife Sheryl owed back taxes on $13,000 in unreported income. This may have been the last straw for the man that friends say showed no sign of the apparent stress and strain he was really under.
Why, though, did he try to take so many innocent men and women with him? The answer is probably that he didn’t see others as innocent. He appears to have targeted the IRS building as he blamed that agency, and its employees, for bringing him to this day and to the belief that he had to make an ultimate statement to get the country's attention. This angry, depressed man maintained a sense of self-defiance to the very end. In his case, he may have taken his own life to dramatically draw attention to his many personal challenges that he blamed mostly on the IRS for the past few years. It’s always sad when we feel reduced to suicide to make our case isn’t it? Who, we must now ask, was to blame for Stack's plight? The IRS, big business, or just Stack himself? "Mad as hell and not going to take it any more." Stack's adult daughter Samantha, who resides in Norway, called him "a hero" for his actions. The adult son of the man killed in the IRS building, referring to his deceased father as someone who served two tours in Vietnam, not surprisingly did not agree with Stack's daughter's description of him and his murderous actions.
For information on personal, travel and family safety and to get a free copy of the DVD "Protecting Children from Predators," go to www.LiveSecure.org.