Joe Stack, R.I. P.

by francine Hardaway on February 18, 2010

I've just taken the time to read all of Joe Stack's suicide note. What follows is sheer emotional reaction and unfiltered, so if you disagree, remember you certainly have a right to do so, and I will expect it.

I have shared many of Joe Stack's experiences. Like him, I've been 'wiped ou't financially by every crash, and like him, I've recovered. Like him, I've been targeted by the IRS while it desperately tries to collect money while not disturbing the big guys who are headquartered in the Bahamas. Like him, I hired an accountant whom I discovered early on was much more interested in preserving his good standing with the IRS (and thus a stream of future revenue beyond just me), and therefore was less than helpful to me. I ended up going in by myself and making a deal. (Try it; it's not so difficult.)

Like Joe Stack, I am a product of the educational system that taught me American is a land of opportunity, and that if I just get my education, I will be fine. And like Joe Stack, went to more than 16 years of school (twenty, because I have a Ph.D).
Like Joe Stack, my life has been impacted by divorce, and by the current economy, and by the constant devaluing of the middle class's labor. Like him, I see the inequities in the health care system, where how long you live depends on how much money you have for both preventive care and end-of-life care.

When I read his suicide note, there was a lot I could identify with, nod in agreement with.

So why haven't I flown my plane into the IRS building in Austin? And why won't I ever? (This is a metaphor. I don't own a plane, and couldn't fly it if I did. Even a Cherokee).

Because I look at these things from a different perspective.  I've been in Africa, India, China, Costa Rica, Mexico. I've seen people literally without a pot to pee in. I understand that if I have to eat cat food or peanut butter and jelly, it will be at the end of a life that has been rich with learning, relationships, friendship, love, and good health. And at times, great wealth, which I hope I use wisely when I have it. Usually I give most of it away in one way or another: foster parenting, investing in startups, working for nothing, contributing to charities. That was a shocking realization I came to a few years ago: throughout my life, I have never cared about money. Something else motivates me. 

I understand that shit happens, and that it's never what happens to you, but how you come to it that counts. A long time ago, without even knowing when, I decided to come to it with joy, and an open mind, and no attachment to outcomes. I left go of a lot of expectations: whether any of the companies I invest in will succeed, whether someone will fall in love with me, whether I will die rich or poor. So far, I haven't starved.

Yes, all the things that demoralized Joe Stack could, and perhaps even should, demoralize me. But I don't want to live that way. I sure don't want to die that way.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

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Joe Stack: Right Wing Hero?
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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Cypher_one February 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Fortunately most of us learn to work along with our hardships and learn to temper ourselves with them. However unfortunately, some have reached the end of their proverbial rope. On more than one occasion, I've yelled to the heavens, “I've done everything I'm supposed to, so where's my damn break!!!??!!” and I keep going. There's a growing rumble going on right now, a powder keg if you will buried deep under the hearts of many, many people in this country, and the question that comes unbidden to my mind is, “will this be the match that sets it off?”

Kerry Daniel February 18, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I don't look at Joe Stack as a hero, but I refuse to vilify him. His writing is not that of a deranged, ignorant person. Instead, I was struck my how articulate he was. His writing is well organized, and though lengthy, is easy to read. I came away from reading it with a genuine sense of sadness at Joe's plight. He truly is EVERY MAN (AND WOMAN), if we had the courage to look inside and speak our true thoughts and feelings about what is going on in our country and in our world.. We should look at Joe with compassion, and at the same time try to figure out what we can all do to change things so that everyday people are heard and have a voice in their government. Joe's acted out of total frustration and inability — despite many attempts — to change this broken system. There are so many people hurting today, and sadly the rest of us are too busy just trying to make it through the day to pay attention. We tune out to the pain and suffering we see around us. Until we start noticing and helping our friends and neighbors, there will be many more instances of people like Joe who simply give up and lose it. When a person loses hope, the results can be damaging for many. I thank Joe for one thing, though. His act was a wake-up call. A lot of us have been sleeping for a long time.

darius February 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Beautifully said, Francine. Thanks.

hardaway February 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I definitely believe what you said.

hardaway February 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm

You would hope so. Some large scale demonstration is necessary.

hardaway February 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Thanks. Miss you;-)

leosu122 February 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Joe Stack wrote a suicide note manifesto explaining his plane crash. The letter was revised 27 times and it was started two days ago. Building in Austin

leosu122 February 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Joe Stack wrote a suicide note manifesto explaining his plane crash. The letter was revised 27 times and it was started two days ago. Building in Austin

Zero February 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm

This man is an example of what happens when the IRS pushes people to insanity because of their policies. The IRS has gone too far. It comes down to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! Before you go on about how the government has precisely these people he tried to kill answering the phones to resolve your issues know this, Any rep you call can't help you. They can answer general questions and that is all. They are can't make decisions on your case nor can they provide you with anyone who can. They are basically just there to point you towards resources and that is all and some of them even fail in doing that. Even if you elect to go with the tax payers advocates office they take 3 months to get anything done, and even after your rights have been clearly ignored they do nothing to punish the IRS. The only way to win in this system is to have a lot of money and one BAD ASS lawyer. If you get audited you can never speak directly to your auditor to resolve the issue in a timely manner. This is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. As Americans we should have the right to speak to the individual who is auditing you and basically calling you a liar because they don't believe that the information you filled in when you filed your taxes is true. If the IRS keeps running their operation the way they are doing right now they are going to push many more individuals to the point of insanity, and sadly some of those individuals will end up like Joseph Stack.

Policies must be changed, Americans must be given the right to speak to their auditors to resolve the situation within a day or two instead of years. I hope for the sake of those people working at those IRS offices that policies get changed. RIP Joseph Stack. Peace.

Erica J February 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm

You know, I agree with this approach 110%. The difference between this approach and his ultimate demise is one of hope. The entire thing leaves me just incredibly sad.

Rick_H February 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I read his rant as well, but I saw something else entirely. I saw a guy that tried repeatedly to commit tax fraud and was pissed off he could never get away with it. I saw a guy that made excuses and blamed everyone but himself for failing to be successful in business. And I saw a guy who wanted the world to change for him instead of trying to fit in.

Bottom line, this guy tried to start his own religion with a bunch of loonies in order to avoid paying taxes. When that scam fell through he tried to build a consulting business and then blamed 9/11 for making it too expensive for him to travel to his customers. Then he claims he moved to Austin and found out AFTER the fact that nobody paid anything for engineering talent. Finally he fails to file a tax return and then blames his CPA for failing to report his wife's income.

To all of this I have these things to say:

1. Only a complete idiot could possibly think a freak club is comparable to the Catholic Church or other organized religion.
2. I find it VERY hard to believe that having to miss a few flights while the entire country is mourning over the worst terrorist attack in US history would be enough for your clients to drop you.
3. Why on earth would you pack up and move halfway across the country without even knowing there is a market for your skills? (BTW – I live in Austin and there has always been a high demand for technical talent, so this statement was complete BS)
4. Everyone who has lived on their own for more than a week knows you have to file a tax return every year.
5. Based on his history I would bet money that his CPA filed based on what the guy told him and Mr. Stack tried to hide income from the IRS and that's why he was fined.

This guy was a self-important arrogant sociopath who wanted more than anything to believe there was some evil conspiracy which made his pathetic failures somehow not be his fault. In the end he did the most cowardly thing anyone could ever do…he took the lives of people who had absolutely NOTHING to do with his misery.

There is a special place in hell for Mr. Stack…he will be spending the rest of eternity contemplating his misery now.

hardaway February 18, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Left me sad as well. That's why I felt compelled to write.

jimmy smith February 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm

If you have a phd you should know that tax paying is voluntary there is no law that states you must pay

ead February 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Joe Stack's manifesto was a whiny crybaby rant. What a pathetic pile of shit. His justification for mass murder was as weak as his actual attempt at it. Failure in life. Failure in death. Buh bye.

That any of you think there is ever a need for such actions is far more frightening and disgusting.

Oliver February 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Yes there are. Read the Internal Revenue Code.

evestangor February 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm

You have every right to be proud of yourself. It is people like you who make up the real America. Yeah, life does deal us bum deals at times, but as you state above, if you just pick yourself up and dust yourself off, there will be another door opening. Life is too precious to let go in the manner that Joe Stack did. What's worse tho' are the 200+ people he almost took with him.

Thanks for being you and to all other people like you.

Jon February 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Joe stack was a good man who died for what he believed in. This is how this country was forrmed and why it was formed. Some call it treason now. It was back then and we hold our founders high. Joe Stack RIP you are another victum of the goverments greed and courrpution.RIP Joe we pray for you and your family.

Josephine February 18, 2010 at 8:16 pm

This is to RICK_H: Joe Stack did not rant in his letter, he just explain detail by detail why he did it, so the media wont make up or try to come up with ideas why he went this far. Anyways to everyone and anyone who ready Joe Stack's suicide not, no matter what you think, he is absolutely right about Americans being brainwash and we need to open our eyes.

bigwhitedog February 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

When the government pushes, sometimes Joe Six-Pack pushes back

evestangor February 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Yeah, he has a right to do whatever he wants with himself. BUT, he has no right to try and take 200 innocent people with him! The government and the IRS are not those 200 people! They are just the samekind of people as Joe Stack! Who/what gives him the right to try and kill 200 innocent people? And, especially since I've been reading, that these same people can't even give you and me the tax answers we need if we were to call them! They can only refer us to other sources! So, okay, that gives anyone the right to try to kill them to make a point?????? I think not!!!!! I still think the first response above is the right one……Life goes on and if we want to live in this world, we must look for that next silve lining, again…..and again….and again. And if that is not enough for us, okay, take yourself out…..but no one has the right to take out innocents with him/her self!!!!!!! And also, the response that Joe seems to have created many of his own problems sure seems to come through from his ramblings. I'm not saying our government hasn't created most of our current problematic situation. But, I am saying, look between the lines of what he has written. Our government does have much to answer for, but then, so did Joe Stack. And who is still here?????

Karoli February 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Here are some ways you're different from Joe Stack:

a) You didn't set out to intentionally defraud the government of taxes due. Stack tried schemes, Francine. Not an honest taxpayer who made an honest mistake, like you. He played this game… and got caught. Not satisfied to be screwed once, he then tried to convince himself that his tax-deferred, tax-deductible IRA contributions were not taxable income when withdrawn and therefore failed to report his income. Failure to report sends people to jail. It wasn't exactly “not filing his tax return”.

b) When you were audited and found to owe, you negotiated an agreement to pay the IRS back in installment payments, which kept them off your back and even though it sucked that you had to do it, the fact is, you did it. You didn't whine about those awful taxes and the mean IRS and the evil accountants and the nasty Congress. You did it and moved on.

c) When confronted with the reality that Section 1706 presented, you would have worked within those constraints. It was pretty simple, after all. You were a contract employee if you fit the criteria set out by the IRS — which meant the employer had to pick up half the payroll tax but you had the tax deductions and income tax to deal with. Not such a bad deal, and if you were unfortunate enough to be a leased employee before 1986 you saw that the law made it possible for you NOT to be screwed out of benefits (like health insurance and a 401k).

Joe Stack set himself up to be demoralized. He chose to live outside the normal constraints that most of us live within. We file our taxes, we grumble when we have to pay until we realize that keeping 70% of something is a helluva lot better than nothing. Those of us fortunate enough to own a home, an airplane and a piano manage to have gratitude instead of resentment. He made himself a victim because it was a mantle he liked. It afforded him attention and a sense that he was better than the rest of us who just live by the rules and are grateful.

I've known way too many like him. He's no terrorist. He's no victim. He painted himself into a corner and then whined at the consequences of his own decisions.

Karoli February 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

you hit the nail right on the head. It wasn't about government or taxes. It was about him and his childish response to adult problems.

hardaway February 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

This is a brilliant answer to my post, Karoli. Thank you for being more
realistic about other people than I am.

Wild Bill February 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

It's cute how we've all just come to accept big government as a good thing, and any who question it or want to improve up its shortcomings as “notjobs.”

And by cute, I mean, really sad.

Norma_P February 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

I agree with you 100%. This guy was a selfish bastard who, rather than talk it out with a friend or family member, chose to take his life and attempt to take the life of others who had nothing to do with his financial decisions (not problems because those problems came from his own foolish decisions). Thank God that the number of people injured in this disaster was low but even one life lost (other than Mr. Loon) is too many. Very sad indeed.

sarum February 19, 2010 at 8:34 am

Wow. I'm seeing that an uncluttered mind can get to the truth more quickly. Everything that my family worked for was taken away from us. Amazing how in a nation that prides itself on freedom, education and supposedly the best thinkers on the planet can rationalize using bogus flaming unprovable lies – such as that we had a Swiss bank account – to take everything legally in court with no proof. Do you think that now that the Swiss banks are being pried open and the truth emerges that we never had such account that just maybe we will receive restitution?

My father formed a corporation in order to provide legitimate benefits and retirement account for an employee but was accused of doing it for tax evasion. The only reason he survives now in his 89th year is due to the malpractice insurance of the attorney who sold him out to the IRS. My siblings and myself are constantly ridiculed. Nobody believes that we need jobs or that we need a living wage from our work. They could easily let their fingers do the walking and google the articles that are still on-line about how everything was stolen from us but nooooooo. . . . , they do not want to believe – they would rather rationalize and justify continued public humiliation of us so that they can continue to steal from us. My father's own work of his own hands was even determined by the IRS not to be his – so they could gift tax it – just to make sure that they squeezed every possible penny and demolished us.

We were trained from childhood that other forms of government were dis-incentivizing – did not give people the option of benefitting individually from their work and so people just did the minimum yet I am finding that the way capitalism and democracy works in this nation has the exact same effect and I certainly do not know what to teach my kids anymore. They know that getting an education and working hard and playing fair is totally a sucker's game yet they, like me, have an internal moral code that does not allow us to justify harming others for our own survival. And yes, that does translate down to the nitty gritty of daily office politics and not partaking in the bully/mob culture that has grown out of frustration with lack of decent jobs and career paths.

All we have left now is Social Security but apparently people are working on taking that too. My husband, who served in the military, but not till retirement, his time as a POW cured him of that, is now dying because we cannot afford his insulin. The price jumped from $3.20 literally to $320 and we simply do not have any monies to squeeze out to get it for him. Yes we did receive a lump sum payment (paltry by most standards) last year which booted him out of the category he needs to be in. No we did not hoard the money – we paid bills that got criminally out of control when I became disabled and had to leave work before proper retirement age. The law should protect people who become disabled by at least freezing everything until their situation stabilizes one way or the other but no the law is only for the corporate criminals anymore. We would willingly shut off the utilities in order to keep him alive but our city just prosecuted another woman who did just that so we do not have that option. Yes we still have utilities this month because we thought that we could research a way to get him his insulin. Most likely my husband will choose to go quietly although one can never be sure. He is mostly bedridden now and the health plan has 30 days to respond to our grievance and they are not worried about the big hospital bills that are coming or the fact that he will be dead so they won't get any more premiums.

Also we have to go on-line daily and print out our current bank statement because our bank (who will not let us close our account) routinely takes more than half of our measly Social Security checks with bogus charges by re-arranging all the inbound and outbound when the checks come in. We stopped using the account but got charged for that too. They also agreed in writing on paper not to let bogus firms charge money from our bank account for goods and services that we are unaware of and have not received yet every week we have to take that letter to them and ask them why are they allowing it to happen yet again? Our battle against corporate criminality is a daily one. It is stifling and crazily unbelievable but definite proof of the fall of the republic. I have written everywhere I can think of for help, relief, to make it stop but nobody is listening – either because they find our claims unbelievable despite we have a paper trail they can look at or because there is way too much of it going on everywhere to even begin to address it.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” Ha! Gil Scott-Heron you were so right! A bit of seeking will show you that our media is very controlled which allows you posters here to continue to live in your world of disbelief and snotty rationalizations that serve to keep us divided as a people so that we cannot even hope to correct the problems. Perhaps we can agree that the situation is reaching critical mass so to borrow another worn-out phrase “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

So in the end I must say that I am grateful not to have had common sense educated out of me. I am sure that Mr. Stack also had a paper trail to prove his allegations no matter how you care to tarnish him. I do have a rational informed mind and I can go through each and every one of these comments and refute them but really I don't have time. Its just a shame that wasting time on disbelief and negative rationalizations and justifications prevents us from being united in purpose to achieve goals for the common good of individuals vs. corporations. I suppose that there could be a thousand Joe Stacks or even 6 million and some people would still rationalize and justify their choice as mass insanity, mass delusion and never ever get to the truth. These days, after decades of the create your own reality spin, people seem incapable of believing what is in their face. They can believe that it happened in another nation but not here. So the point is, do you have to wait until it happens to you in order to believe or will you just totally lose it due to cognitive dissonance between a lifetime of brainwashing and the cold hard truth?

Yes, I think that my husband and I have managed well despite only being able to ever have one “vacation” in our life together, never being allowed to make enough to invest or purchase a home or even buy our own dental insurance but the final straw is me being sick all the time and knowing that if I could access better health care that I could be well and working still and him dying because of some bureaucratic BS. Demoralizing? Yes. Criminal? Yes. Are we going to make a flaming statement about it? So far no but you never know. But I certainly am not going to criticize Joe Stack for his choice because too many of us are on that edge ourselves. Perhaps the cogs in the wheel at that IRS building he crashed into are morally criminal for having that job, for following the rules of Caesar without mind to the harm they are causing, just like the still-employed people at the health plan who can not and will not put a rush to my husband's critical medical situation and are just following the rules while he dies in front of me. I have not judged them as such but maybe they are all criminally negligent for failing to hear me and take timely action. No fears. I well know that there is almost never justice for the poor in this country. I am too ill myself to be anything other than resigned to it for today.

gberke February 19, 2010 at 8:44 am

“A long time ago, without even knowing when, I decided to come to it with joy, and an open mind, and no attachment to outcomes.”
The “not even knowing when”… yes. And you certainly had a list of real grievances.
As a culture, we do not look kindly on acceptance, peaceful submission. We look for “wrongs” and celebrate those who “right” them. We fear the tyrant.
I understand that “decision”… the not knowing when seems important, familiar. But those wrongs: they do need fixing… one very effective remedy: tax away the ultra rich, expand the middle class.
Quantitative differences in orders of magnitude are qualitative differences… the ultra rich are different. Nice people and all, but the existence of that class, the possibility, the power, is destructive to the common good. Assuming, of course, that the “good old days” are in fact “good”. That things like social security is good.
There are many, many people who will disagree. There are many many who oppose the public health care option.

gberke February 19, 2010 at 8:54 am

Nicely written.
Consider, however, all the fans… What will the Tea Party say? Ms. Palin? I suspect all the “conservatives” will be far more gentle and understanding. Too much so, methinks.
It is good to see many people look to the facts and come down against a suicide revenge attack. It is not good to find so many people equivocating or supporting.
Wonder what Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox, et al will say?

sarum February 19, 2010 at 9:35 am

Yeah, I'm not getting it – the opposing the public health care option. All the arguments against it that were sent to me? Almost all of those things are happening now without the public health care option so those arguments are not effective with those of us already living it. So at this time I am perceiving it as those who delusionally think they have more are fighting against something that is already the truth. At any rate, many of us are crippled from our bad reactions to Rx and need to be able to seek alternate health but of course Social Security does not provide for that and neither do employer health plans. Even when it is acknowledged that for example, you had rhabdomyolosis from the cholesterol Rx, nobody is telling you how to rid your system of it, how to get well. Social Security has to pick up the tab for all the citizens crippled by medical practices. The tab should go to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies who created the problem and then spent years covering it up and denying. Also to the doctors who are forced to lie just to keep their careers. I can see lots of solutions but they are not even worth bringing up because nobody trusts anybody to implement them ethically and effectively. Everybody knows that the laws are just ink on paper and not enforceable so why make new ones?

Meanwhile, I was referred to the Wikipedia article about Universal Health Care which I found very enlightening and really changed my view on several other issues supposedly not related. And for those who wish to bash Wikipedia let me just state that I know several people bio'd on there and their Wiki bio's are the most objective and accurate and thorough ones on the web. The one's who are living will tell you the same thing about their Wiki bio's so I have no problem with Wikipedia as a source personally.

That said, I have always tried to temper my attitude towards illegal aliens, especially from Mexico, with the thought that at some time we may need to flee to their country in large numbers and how would they treat us? Not good from my sources. Not good at all. But I still do not exercise hatred towards them even though their vast numbers have cost many lives in my region by bankrupting and closing medical facilities due to the mandate to treat without receiving payment. I understand that they consider it a human right to be able to work and make enough money to reproduce. Some are brainwashed that breeding is a luxury. I do not concur. I agree with the Mexicans that having a decent wage job should be a human right so while I have never approved of illegals once I got to that realization I do believe that I would do the same thing were I walking in their shoes and it is the greater wrongs that must be addressed not the little ones fleeing the greater wrongs. Although 30 million illegals (or however much they number) is hardly little anymore – but does show just how powerful the rich and powerful are – that they can create this huge number of refugees over this many decades and cause this much pain and turmoil yet nothing still is done to change and their own moral imperative is only for their themselves.

As far as the illegals screaming that we are prejudice I realize that they are ignorant. Apparently after WWII the determination was made that Universal Health Care is a human right and that every civilized nation should attempt to attain it. Even Mexico has universal health care. So a young pregnant Mexican woman may not realize that the US is the sole hold-out on this issue. She may think that she can have her baby for free either here or there. If she makes the effort to go there – across some invisible abstract imaginary line, she can acquire the benefit of US citizenship for her baby. She does not know that for decades now Medicaid has treated illegals at the expense of the lives of citizens which has fueled the flames of hatred. Citizens do not realize that the US is obligated to treat foreigners with reciprocity that we would hope to get for our own who are in their lands legally or not. Pretty much every nation has Universal Health Care if they have anything at all.

We must always have the ultra-rich. They live in an unreal bubble – look at the lives of the children and the choices they must concern themselves with! But sadly, their existence is an enticement to do well for some. Many of us do not want that life. But we would like to be able to have a life, to be able to live with some semblance of health so that we could take a walk and smell the lawn cuttings if nothing else. So we could take a walk and have a laugh at the hookers and pimps on the corner if nothing else. What is destroyed is our paths to well-being in the financial sense that do not take us down an immoral or criminal path in order to achieve it. We long for the days that honest hard work can lead to achievement. We long for work period.

I'm really seeing that only the White folk have these supposedly refined ideas of not being prejudice and that our spiritual well-being and growth are tied into our treatment of others ranging from interpersonal to our legal system. The Native Americans, the Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Muslim-Americans (to list just a few) all have very hating websites and they exercise hate in their personal daily lives as well and they do not think that it harms their spirituality in any way shape or form and they certainly use their justified hate to enhance cohesiveness of their groups. I'm not judging, I've just been living it. I don't know who is right and who is wrong. I will still stick to my White beliefs on this issue because I really do believe them although I am often made the fool for those beliefs. I think that if companies want to have human rights then they must stop being monopolies and swallowing up smaller firms because then that is slavery. If inventors want freedom from their contracts the company must free them to go out on their own without prejudice. If companies want human rights then they must be forced to have a humane nature towards people. Same with some other entities that already have “human rights” but think it applies to them only. They exhibit the same hatred as racial only it is a class hatred, an intellectual hatred, an age discrimination hatred and on and on it goes.

I just see so much hate and divisiveness that solutions seem impossible which is why I mention it. We need to put the divisive issues aside somehow.

donib February 20, 2010 at 5:14 am

Nice post and a good quality of discussion on this sad event. Frankly I have been a little disturbed by the lack of attention that is being paid to Joe Stack, his motives and grievances.

I have to agree on one level with those who point out that Joe chose to try to game the system and set himself up for most of his own problems. But I can't entirely discount much of what he said in his manifesto regarding the complexity of the tax code, the frustration of the middle class, the dehumanizing aspects of dealing with government bureaucrats, and the feeling that our representatives have come to regard themselves as an elite class and the treasury as their personal piggy bank to use to maintain their power.

It is not hard too understand how Joe came to feel that he was persecuted and being denied what was rightfully his. We are living in an entitlement society. So many people now confuse wants and needs, and feel that they deserve to have everything they want. Isn't that what got us into the current economic mess we are in? While it is popular to blame the greedy banks and hedge fund managers, shouldn't we also place some blame on those greedy little guys who took the bait and maxed themselves out buying houses, cars and electronics that they could not afford because they thought they deserved all that bling? So what happens when all those people begin suffering the consequences of their actions? How many more Joe Stack's are out there?

In some ways Joe Stack reminds me of Willie Loman, the everyman in Death of a Salesman. And what Linda said in the end keeps ringing through my mind. “I don't say he's a great man. Willie Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.” Joe Stack made a decision to to call that attention to himself in the most heinous way, and we definitely need to contemplate why.

hardaway February 20, 2010 at 6:24 am

Thank you for this extremely balanced and well-writen comment. It does catch
the essence of what the US has done to its citizens over the course of the
last, say, thirty years. From the 80s, known even then as the “me”decade, to
the mortgage bubble, we have all been told we're entitled to all the
consumer goods and life experiences credit can buy. We're told this by both
government and advertising, which during my lifetime has penetrated the
surfaces of everything I see and become embedded in everything I hear.

Of course these high expectations become a sort of inner cattle prod,
fomenting entitlement and dissatisfaction, culminating not only in Joe
Stack's actions, but in the fear, anger, and unmet “needs” of an entire
population. This population can elect and unelect any party or person it
wants, but out problems are internal, not external.

TheOther February 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

A powerful and simply beautiful post, Sarum…….thank you for that.
As for
“…I am too ill myself to be anything other than resigned to it for today.”…well…some people provide moral an intellectual guidance….some act….and actions, not words, will change this abomination.
It’s just matter of time and is accelerating………

David February 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

A good man? He flew his plane into a building hoping to kill a bunch of people. And for a guy angry about his money issues, owning and maintaining a plane seems pretty extravagant.

sarum February 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Thanks TheOther. Every little bit of being heard means so much when someone is at their wit's end unable to solve a problem. No it does not give my husband insulin but still means so much.

sarum February 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Yes we are right to fear what it is that we are accelerating towards. If I saw the doctor who made my son partially disabled take a hit – it would not make my son any more functional. But restitution was not possible in our current system either. Reaching for answers here. . . .

thomas jefferson February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm

i dont know much about the story but i have lost faith in the government. yes this country seems tax happy. tax your income, put money into savings that you were already taxed on , then pay tax on the interest you make. you inherit soemthing from a family member, you got it, pay inhereitance tax on that. i believe it was thomas jefferson that said we the people, there has NOT been we the people for some time. it is we the politicians, we the well off with connections, we who want a bailout so we can continue flying our lear jets, cruising in limousines,patting ourselves on the back saying good job, now lets give ourselves a bonus at the taxpayers expense. all this crap even boils down to small local government, townships,boro's etc. need another example, how about eminent domain. the majority may not want a golf course or development next to their house, doesnt matter what the majority wants, its what the small zoning,township or boro wants. of course the claim is more revenue, for who, our taxes dont go down, the majority doesnt see any of the fruit of so called revenue. yes you are mighty, you sit in government, large and small and make discissions that dont effect you personally, how about you put that landfill or golf course next to your house or allow service companies to charge a fuel surcharge to deliver products to your home. who do we pass the buck to. our employers would look at us like we were nuts if we submitted a fuel surcharge to show up to work. while we have helped those who are already well off, who has helped the homeless, those who have lost their jobs,homes or veterans who have put their lives on the line for their country. how proud would thomas jefferson be if he could see us now.

Bob February 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Where does the revolution line form?

hardaway February 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm

It is amazing how much anger there is in the country. On all sides.

TheOther February 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm

sarum, you are, apparently, a nice person and the world around us is constructed based on abuse of your types.
It will take not nice people to change that.
“Yes we are right to fear what it is that we are accelerating towards.”
Fear easily changes into anger, even for nice people……a carefully directed anger…the only way to change anything of substance.
“If I saw the doctor who made my son partially disabled take a hit – it would not make my son any more functional.”
It COULD, though, make some other sons (and daughters) more functional…
“Reaching for answers here..”
Tap into your anger and you’ll find them……

TheOther February 23, 2010 at 12:00 am

It’s not a line but a cloud……when, well…..when a comfortable middle class starts feeling a real pain……

sarum February 24, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Wanna buy a fish tank for $310? That will put my husband's insulin at $36 per month for the rest of the year. We will still have to cut back on eating to make that amount. I can't sell on Craigslist because I would have to buy technology to post a photo and because basically nobody is buying anyway. It's a 75 gallon with oak stand, Magnum filter, Fluval filter, Whisper bubbler with 48″ bubble wand, bamboo plant and 5 goldfish. Each one of the filters costs more than what I am asking for the tank I believe and the Magnum is very near to new. I am in Glendale near to 51st ave and Greenway. I'll miss my husband alot more than I will miss my fishtank so maybe it hurts but still a no-brainer. Got to put the computer into the pawn shop to get our water turned back on before Friday so please let me know and if you come to get the tank please forgive body odor – the water is off! Or I have a couple of China Cabinets that are empty because I've been too ill to unpack and put stuff in them for more than a year. Also home-made chicken coop from before we found out that we couldn't have chickens at this location.

TheOther February 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Not bad……..for a psyop……
Not great either…………
Nice to see that you “guys”, at least, are starting to pay attention……..

sarum February 24, 2010 at 3:53 pm


Shakeitup321 July 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I think J.Stack is a American Hero as he gave his life to prove that the IRS is a bunch of crooks!!!!

Scarletmssr August 13, 2010 at 12:39 am

Good thing you are NOT GOD!

Scarletmssr August 13, 2010 at 12:43 am

You are very smart and caring…trust me most of the “garbage” that is out on the Internet does not have it straight…NOT AT ALL! I know!! Thank you for for being a kind person….blessings!

Scarletmssr August 13, 2010 at 7:39 am

Good thing you are NOT GOD!

Scarletmssr August 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

You are very smart and caring…trust me most of the “garbage” that is out on the Internet does not have it straight…NOT AT ALL! I know!! Thank you for for being a kind person….blessings!

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