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AdLib On February - 18 - 2010

Joe Stack had reached the end of his sanity. He was not a hero, he was not a martyr. He was an American who was driven into mental illness by despair.

According to the letter he left behind, he saw the American Dream as a cunning deception that Americans are brainwashed to believe when they’re young, meant to pacify them throughout their lives while the wealthy and powerful plundered the nation’s wealth and power. He felt helpless to combat the inequity and harm that such corruption wreaked upon him.

Joe Stack had lost everything else and he had now lost his mind.

The letter he left behind (you can read it here: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0218102stack1.html), reflects a familiar and sympathetic story of a man who felt victimized by the corruption of America. What is striking is how he could be so rational in describing what had led him to deciding to commit an irrational act.

There are more than a few Americans that are on the verge of giving up in the face of such intractable and only increasing corruption of this nation, its government and its society. For some, giving up means disengaging, not even trying to make a difference any more because, “What’s it going to change?”. For a very few however, it means venting that frustration and hatred of all that’s wrong on society, its symbols and people who represent a corrupt society to them.

The suicide plane crash into the IRS for ideological reasons is not so different from what happened on 9/11. No matter how upset or frustrated anyone becomes, committing an act that could kill innocent people is not justified. Joe Stack committed an act of domestic terrorism and should be condemned for it.

At the same time, an American flying a plane into an American government building out of desperation is unfortunately symbolic of the futility that many Americans feel about trying to fix and change their government. In an era when our SCOTUS selects the president and hands our democracy to corporations, when the MSM functions as an agenda-driven propaganda machine of major corporations, when one of the only two parties governing our nation blocks progress and helping Americans who are otherwise dying just to help their prospects to regain power…it is not surprising that some feel our democracy has become so diseased and unrecognizable from what it started out to be, it is now their enemy.

Consider the Teabaggers, Anti-Abortion groups, racists, religious extremists, etc. Now consider Activist Progressives,  anti-corporation people, Dem Obama critics, pro-single-payer supporters, etc.  What do ALL of them have in common? From their own perspectives and using different issues, all see government and our democracy as corrupt.

80% of Americans oppose the SCOTUS handing our democracy to the corporations. 80%. Think about that. There’s got to be Republicans, Independents, Democrats, Libertarians, even some Teabaggers to get to that percentage.

Though they may not be protesting in the streets as they should be, if a majority of Americans still feel that more and more each day, our society and government is becoming increasingly corrupted and dominated by the wealthy and powerful…even if they are only privately thinking  that our society and democracy are failing, the decline of this nation and more terrible acts in response likely lay ahead of us.

There is only so far the rubber band can be stretched until it breaks…and those stretching the rubber band are so greedy, their mindset is that when the rubber band is reaching the end, the most profitable thing to do is stretch it faster and harder to get as much as they can before it breaks. They do not fear the outcome of their destruction. They are “too big to fail” and the government MUST always support them or they will drag the whole nation down with them.

Joe Stack may have committed a terrorist act by flying his plane into a building but what about the corporations who kamikazed into our state and local governments, the businesses we work for, our jobs and salaries, our home equity and life savings, our schools and hospitals, our police and fire departments and our life-sustaining health care? Who has truly conducted the most destructive terrorist attacks on the American people?

With all this in mind, any terrorism is wrong. The only way to improve society is to be constructive, not destructive. And as with Joe Stack, things may not improve in time to help us but it may help the next generation. So we can’t give up, we have to step up. We don’t have to give our lives to the cause of rescuing our democracy from the hands that now hold it, we just have to give a bit of time and energy. We have to be willing to write letters and make calls to our representatives, we have to be willing to attend meetings and protest in person, we have to be willing to invest at least a small share of our life to salvage the America we believe in.

Many Americans join the military for the same basic reason, to protect America from its enemies. Thousands of them have died in just the last several years…they have died, they have willingly accepted the loss of their life if necessary to protect this nation.

If we respect the huge sacrifices other Americans make each day in the pursuit of protecting us and our democracy and the many who came before them, the least we can do to honor them is to sacrifice a small amount of time and comfort to be active in fighting for the return of democracy to all Americans, including those overseas risking their lives for our nation.

We have started down the path of forming an activist group here and I hope the enthusiasm to organize and take action to try and right our democracy is profound and enduring. We can do something meaningful and constructive, there are many others out there doing so in their own way. It is not far-fetched to see a convergence somewhere down the line of many of these groups and people, a potential tidal wave of Americans demanding change that would not be held off by corporate propaganda or corrupt politicians.

There was an exchange in the movie Gandhi, I don’t know that it was from an actual quote of his but when it comes to the concerns of futility in taking action to take back our democracy from the wealthy and corporations, I do find it appropriate:

Brigadier: You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India!
Gandhi: Yes. In the end, you will walk out. Because 100,000 Englishmen simply cannot control 350 million Indians, if those Indians refuse to cooperate.

This is the one and only thing that the wealthy and corporations fear. That we will come together in numbers to oppose their rule. They know that is the only way they can be defeated and that they simply can’t combat that. So, of course, they happily participate in trying to split us up and divide us against each other.

Because if 330 million Americans refused to cooperate with the Fortune 500, they know full well who would win that confrontation.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

264 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    I want to recycle this to respond to Cher on “one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero”.

    If any of you have ever seen “The Battle of Algiers”, that issue is front and center. It opens with three Muslim women taking off their veils and robes, cutting their hair, putting on makeup, and sauntering outside to place bombs in milk bars and other public places. One woman, leaving her bomb, looks at the little boy near her -- a blonde, French boy about 6 years old -- and you can see the struggle she is having with the morality of this. She walks out, the bomb goes off, and probably the child is killed or at least maimed.

    But then they show what the French did to the Algerians. They stopped all practice of Islam, tortured -- hideously -- the Muslim Algerina men, forbade people to even get married under shura law, and stripped them of every ounce of national or religious observance. The Muslim population was ghettoized in the Casbah, and they were virtual slaves to the French landholders.

    What is right? My pacifist brother HATES the milk bar bombing and can find no justification. My gut is in turmoil becauase the UN would not intervene against France, and Algerians suffered a slow, daily, terror and death at the hands of the French. Coming so soon on the heels of WW II, the French genocidal policies were beyond tolerance. Their use of torture made the Gestapo look like choir boys.

    Where is the line? IS there a bright line at all?

    One thing I know beyond question is that every question embodies some moral relativism. It depends so much in whose shoes you are walking.

    But back to my first long post (and thank you all for the kind words)that somewhere we have lost sight of victimhood. We have elevated our own inconveniences and even hard times into a kind of suffering that, from any objective viewpoint, is not suffering at all. Criminals and miscreants shift their punishment for crimes into a kind of persecution. Bullies justify their actions on the grounds that someone ‘dissed’ them or annoyed them or walked in front of them or something.

    So while we may have real debates about Hamas, Hezbollah, the IRA, etc., what we need to do is stop seeing inconvenienced people or those who brought things upon themselves as “victims”.

    I hope I did not already say this, but some years ago, an anti-abortion protester yelled at me that “pro-choice Christians” were being “persecuted”. In fact they were somewhat controlled by one of the few federal injunctions that mandated they keep their hands OFF the women (including people NOT going to clinics but their own physicians in a general medial building) and stay 15 feet away from clinc entrances. Over these pretty slim guidelines, the protesters were now rending garments and gnashing teeth because they had to mind their manners or face a fine.

    So this angry protester ranted about the “persecution” and how they were ALL being “locked up” and “silenced”. So (because I have a very snotty streak sometimes) I asked him where he was right that moment. He thought I was nuts but answered he was on the sidewalk outside the medical building. And, I asked, what are you DOING? He snorted that he was handing out literature and ‘counseling’ women seeking abortions. And, I asked where was he going when he was done? He said, “Home”.

    So much for incarceration, restraint, and muzzling.

    We may not always agree on who has a justification for violence. But man -- we sure can tell who does NOT. It ain’t that hard.

  2. Khirad says:

    Juan Cole points out the obvious. He sounds kinda pissed to me (in an exasperated I’ve-been-at-this-too-long way). Or, maybe it really didn’t need a long entry. It’s just that obvious.

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/02/hypocrisy-over-irs-bomber.html

    It’s the shortest Juan Cole entry I’ve ever seen.

    My measure? Let’s see how much is made out of this: Five Muslim soldiers arrested over Fort Jackson poison probe: report

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Here was an interesting comment to the blog:

      Not only will it not be considered terrorism because it is domestic and the perpetrator is white, but I suspect the same right-wing commenters will discover that the race and religion of the criminal is not important. Then same people who called for racial profiling of Muslims, who approved of the mass sweep of Muslims after 9/11, and who approve of American policy to search all persons from certain countries such as Pakistan, will suddenly discover that he is an individual and not representative of all white middle-aged males who support the Tea Party movement. They will strongly argue that this is a sign of anger but he is a lone wolf -- an extreme example. I would like to applaud their ability to have a more nuanced view of the world and realize because a member of a group who commits a crime does not necessarily mean the whole group is guilty or should be targeted. Unfortunately, the hypocrisy of people like Michelle Malkin is such that a defense of the Tea Party group will quickly be followed by another call to hold Muslims indefinitely without trial.

    • Khirad says:

      Indeed, more is coming out and I’m glad I left you guys. I’d still like to wait further.

      Morning Joke just excoriated this guy for being a top 1% income earner who was upset that he was paying half the taxes he would have in the 70’s and said if you believe that is tyranny, you need to move to get a real taste of tyranny.

      Hey, even conservatives can have their moments. I know I’ll catch flack for that, but…

  3. TheRarestPatriot says:

    Night all. Sorry I’ve whacked a hornet’s nest in here regarding this event. I apologize to nellie and ‘cat. My intention was not to insult anyone. We all have opinions and they are all valid no matter the issue. That’s the best thing about emotions….we all have them….good or bad. I think in the end we can all see how things can be interpreted so many ways. In some ways, everyone is right here. Maybe I have an unrefined way of stressing a point that seems to insult others. I didn’t see it that way, yet perhaps that’s a character flaw of my own. I’ll work on that.
    Time for some Olympic curling…my fav…..

  4. nellie says:

    I want to say right here that I take exception to the emotional overlay that has been attributed to my arguments. It’s a way to devalue what I’ve said. And it’s a lazy way to debate. Counter my points. Don’t try to cast them as somehow less than thoroughly considered and logical — as “knee jerk,” or “politically correct,” or “emotional.”

    I’m going to sign off now. My posts speak for themselves.

  5. KQuark says:

    Face it this guy felt entitled he was just pissed off that he did not make it to the position he thought he was entitled to get. He would have no problem being the pisser instead of the pissie if he did get to where he wanted in life. That’s the problem with Joe types they have delusions that they are so much more special than everyone else that they should be part of the rich class. That’s why low level earners vote Republican so they can lower taxes on the rich because they think someday they are going to be rich.

    • AdLib says:

      I agree about the self-entitlement. He bought into the RW Reaganomics, that you should be able to take and not have to give back. Paying taxes was for the idiots.

      He wanted to be like the churches and corporations and avoid having to pay tax, I would argue the reverse, they should be paying taxes like him and his taxes could go down.

      It is indeed a reflection of the entitlement mentality but we should give credit where credit is due, another follower of RW propaganda driven into this horrible act by his belief in it.

    • choicelady says:

      Amen, KQ! Years ago after the S&L debacle, I joined with a number of progressives to circulate a petition at a festival in an upstate, largely blue collar city asking that 25 cents per $100 of deposits over $100,000 be collected to re-fund the FSLIC protection for small account holders. Hardly anyone would sign because they all thought that even if they did not have that kind of money, someday soon they would. Insane!

      A century ago, people of modest means understood that the rich were exploiting them. Now the rich feel exploited even though they have had the rest of us once again bearing all their risks. I realize Stack thought the rich got too many benefits, but he blamed the current administration, not the corporate gougers, for this turn of events. And overall he blamed the IRS not himself for the mess he’d made of his own life. So he thought it “fair” to kill people because he had money problems. And he thought himself some kind of avenger against those low-wage schnooks who put one foot in front of the other, paid THEIR taxes, and were trying to make ends meet on far less than he had. That’s terrorism. Manifesting your personal disgust through violence against the innocent. Enough already!

    • TheRarestPatriot says:

      Point well taken. Yet, most of his rant is America’s dinner table rant. And that is just simple truth. I’m going to walk away from this topic now as the tide is turning and good points are being buried by emotion. Something changed today.

  6. PatsyT says:

    Just a Observation… right now if I look to the right on the screen
    there is that Prof. from Alabama and they are saying -- Insane ??
    Creepy to be reading all about the Stack guy with that Alabama
    woman staring back.

  7. TheRarestPatriot says:

    …and now for something completely different….

    Take a gander at what I just found and posted on Time Out. You won’t believe what you’re hearing and it has nothing to do with this all too heavy subject here…

    Adlib, forgive the commercial interruption, please….

  8. choicelady says:

    I know a pretty cool woman, Susan Pace Hamill, in Birmingham, AL who made a point that pertains to Stack and his actions. She led the movement, “Alabama Arise” to revise the outrageous tax inequities in that state whereby the poor pay the heaviest tax burdens, and the rich get off nearly scott free. She notes that America is a “low sacrifice society”. We don’t want to have to do anything to bear our own weight in this society. We want something for nothing, and the only things we focus on have nothing to do with ourselves and our responsibilties. We point fingers at gay rights and abortion and other people’s poverty or lives because we never then have to examine our own lives, our own selfishness, our own irresponsibilities.

    Reagan started some of it with the “government is the problem” mantra. But once we descend into utter narcissism, we forget that taxes are the dues we pay for democracy. It’s what gets us good roads, schools, ports, harbors, airports,public safety, fire fighting, streetlights, stop lights, on and on. It’s how we preserve clean drinking water, air we can breathe, land we can work. It is a manifestation of our Common Good -- the way we support those things we all need and use. It’s also how we look out after one another, especially in hard times.

    If we want total individualism and thus no taxes, then we have to revert to what did not work. We also have to give up taking one red cent for our businesses, agriculture, and protection. We go back to paid-for fire departments so if my house catches fire and yours is threatened, we each have to call our individual fire department -- if we’ve paid for it. Or we have our houses burn down since MY fire department cannot rescue YOUR house. We will have nothing but toll roads. Nothing at all. We will have to pay fees and tuition for our kids’ education at top rates rather than lower taxes. We will not have anything that is a public good -- you want clean water? Don’t turn on the tap. Buy bottled water only or have your own cistern. Clean wholsome food? Good luck to ya.

    Taxes give us the “stone soup” principle. Stone Soup: A town under siege had no food and was on the verge of starvation. An old lady hauled out a huge cauldron of water, put it on a fire and threw in a stone. As she stirred, neighbors asked what she was doing. “I’m making Stone Soup,” she said. “You can have some. But you know, you have only a couple of carrots, so if you throw those in, it will taste better. And you -- you have an onion, and you have some barley, and you have a bit of meat. Toss it in for flavor.” So everyone put in what they had, and pretty soon the soup was made full of nutrition and flavor and enough for everyone to get what they needed -- soup. That’s taxes. Stone soup.

    We are not “overtaxed” at all. We are less taxed than any other industrial society. And we don’t get all they get, but we have a good nation, a good society, lots of freedoms, and no reasonable fear of government.

    Mr. Stack made his own hell trying to have stone soup without putting in a carrot. He bought the Kool Aid -- you can get without paying. That’s the Reagan, low-sacrifice principle. Make someone ELSE pay -- the “taxes are for little people” belief of Leona Helmsley that has beset us all. Mr. Stack had money and cheated on his taxes. When he got caught, his problems began to escalate, but it was and is entirely of his own making.

    So to show the “injustice” of the “system” rather than examining his own selfish assumptions, he tried to murder his wife and kid, he set a bomb to kill innocent people at the airport, and he crashed into a bunch of low-wage government employees apparently killing at least one person and terrorizing the others.

    Mr. Stack is the perfect tea bag low-sacrifice person. It’s never about him. It’s about “them” whoever they may be. And he is less justified than even bin Laden because the government did nothing to him that he did not do to himself. At the end only one thing mattered to Stack. Himself. And his willingness to kill others to satisfy his own rage is the essence of terrorist action.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      People who don’t want to pay taxes:

      Let their dog make a mess on their neighbor

    • KQuark says:

      Here is the utter proof you need that we are one of the most under taxed nations in the world.

      ” width=”500″ height=”400″ alt=”dftt” />

      Right wing think tanks love to talk about tax rates for corporations but when it comes to the taxes corporations actually pay it’s much much lower because of all the loopholes and giveaways are not even part of the equation.

      The so called “Fair Tax” would make things much much worse. Think about it. 98% of family income goes into consumption which what the flat tax is. So the rich can acquire as much wealth as they want through salary and capital gains and if they horde it or invest it they pay ZERO taxes on it.

        • choicelady says:

          Hi Blues.

          Consider the erosion of basics that occurs with a flat tax. Take 10% of $40,000 -- it leaves you with only $36,000 for mortgage or rent, food, clothing, etc. Take 10% of $400,000 and you’re left with $360,000. It is not fair at all because you have the ability to cover all basics AND have disposable income at the higher levels, while you’ve eaten into the survival base of the lower income person or family.

          The CA Budget Project (www.cbp.org) shows that even with a graduated tax, those in the bottom decile pay MORE as a percentage of their income overall than do the wealthy. A flat rate would make that much, much worse.

          De Toqueville noted that in the 1830s that one man’s imposts were another man’s bondage.

          We do not tax productive wealth. In businesses, we tax profit that is over and above productive wealth and goes for personal disposal.

          With a flat tax, we would tax all income, so when you take IN less, you would be taxed on the productive wealth by which you pay for your survival costs as well as on any surplus. As you increase the wealth, a flat tax DECREASES in its impact on survival income.

          That is anti-democratic.

          If you start back with deductions, you tend toward larger deductions for the wealthy, smaller for the middle class.

          To read more fully on this, try David Cay Johnston’s “Free Lunch” and Jacob Hacker’s “The Great Risk Shift”. They are eye-opening on the issue of how we indeed have redistributed wealth -- UPWARD -- from the middle and working class people to the rich, all through flattening the taxes and reducing obligations on those with the greatest incomes.

          It is a myth that we tax productive wealth today. We do not. And I do not want to start doing that now!

      • AdLib says:

        And that doesn’t even reflect how many corps are offshore and pay no tax, get government pork, subsidies and contracts and get legislators to put in special tax breaks for their industries.

        Add to that the fact that hedge fund managers making billions in total only pay the Capital Gains rate of 15% on their income.

        The U.S. tax system for corporations is a cake walk, the burden is on the citizens.

      • PepeLepew says:

        Hey, Canada is pretty far down that list!

        • Mightywoof says:

          I was surprised to see us that low down -- I was also surprised to see the relatively small difference in taxes between our 2 countries (apart from sales taxes -- the worst formn of tax) …….. the constant conservative drip, drip, drip is that we must cut corporate taxes here or remain uncompetitive with the States -- based on this chart our corporate tax rates are only .5% higher and our corporate SS taxes (including payroll taxes) are .2% lower. Conservatives are crazy loons!! If you consider that our health care comes from general revenue then we are very competitive and conservatives up here are every bit the idealogues they like to paint liberals and socialists. Plus, like Republicans, they like to paint themselves as good financial stewards and then run up deficits like they’re going out of style!!

      • escribacat says:

        Fascinating chart, KQ. Could you post a link for this? This would be good in our library.

    • msbadger says:

      You nailed it. Excellent post! And I’ve always loved the Stone Soup story. Thank you!

    • escribacat says:

      Great post, choicelady.

    • AdLib says:

      Wonderful points!

      I think the issue of the fantasies that Americans have been brainwashed to believe about life is indeed a factor in this situation and could indeed be connected to the situation we find our nation and democracy in.

      According to his letter, Stack did indeed want the same tax-protected status of churches and corporations for himself. He did not want to pay taxes, just like them.

      That is messed up as you point out so well, we would have no society if we had no money to pay for our infrastructure and services.

      Thanks to the “you can have it all” mentality that I agree, started with the Reagan Presidency, people truly believe that they will be millionaires (though 97% won’t be) so they support tax cuts for the wealthy (including ending estate taxes!).

      They blindly bought houses and borrowed on them because they could have it all, all the Escalades, plasma TVs and second stories to their houses that they could eat.

      In fact, what was going on was a bait and switch, as salaries remained stagnant or declined, people were told that their house was a neverending piggy bank that would just keep filling back up with money.

      So people spent more money to have everything they were “supposed” to have…but they weren’t paying for it with money they had, they were borrowing money against collateral that could go down in value.

      So as America stands today, the shift of wealth from the majority of Americans to the top 3% has been massive. Americans are in more debt by far than ever in the history of this nation…meanwhile banks and corporations own more wealth than ever before in this nation’s history.

      Where did those billions come from?

      Us. Our tax money, our mortgage interest, our credit card interest, our gas purchases, etc.

      Our economic system continues to be the most inequitable in history and unless it changes, there will be a breaking point, when a majority can no longer afford to use their shrinking wages to pay their bills for a home, car, food, gas, college for their kids, vacations, let alone a nest egg.

      What will happen then? When people are virtual serfs, owing banks and insurance companies their whole lives and having to accept a lower standard of living just to satisfy their debts?

      More people will snap and they will be as reviled as Stack, as they should be.

      But does it have to happen again or can we seek to prevent at least some reoccurrences?

      • choicelady says:

        OK -- the choicelady/churchlady says that churches get the same non-profit standard as your local food bank or women’s shelter or boys’ and girls’ club. No more.

        If Stack wanted this status what the HELL did he do to earn it because that is the essence of the non-profit status -- you give to the community. Churches are assumed to provide not just worship for anyone who walks in the door but charity to anyone who walks in the door. If churches rent space for Jazzercise time, for a business, for any profit-driven activity, guess what? They DO pay taxes on that income AND on the property they’ve leased for that purpose. Surprised? Well it’s true.

        Non-profits may not take in money that they do NOT spend for “public good”. If they make a wad (those mega churches sometimes do) they have to return the money to service.

        Now if you are making a profit that you can spend on trips to Aruba, and non-profits can’t, why do you get the same tax status as they? Where is the charity you’ve offered your community? How have you contributed to the public good as opposed to totally private gain? Where are your open doors instead of utterly private property?

        As I write this, I’m getting nauseated. I’m so sick of these insane arguments that I constantly take seriously!!! Where is the LOGIC of a man making a PROFIT and doing nothing for anyone but himself deciding that he deserves to pay no taxes as non-profits do? Why is this even a consideration????? Why am I bothering to discuss this???? There is no SENSE in a thing he wrote, and someone died because of his idiocy and utter selfishness.

        And that’s the bottom line. He’s a murderer. Period.

      • choicelady says:

        AdLib and all -- I think this is the best question: how do we prevent it? On some other blog (that I now cannot find!) I asked the people hailing Stack as a hero because the government is so “evil” -- what have you LOST as an American that you hate this nation and government?

        I think we all have to ask the tea bag and other (including “progressives” with their own rants) -- what do you NOT have? On a light note, when one of my cats is whining, I ask him or her, “What is it you want that you don’t have?” So far they’ve yet to answer, and neither have any of the RW or angry people. What IS it that they want but do not have?

        Even in the last 8 years I have been aware that as an American, I am free. I still could denounce Bush with fair impunity, could walk freely, breathe the good air, love the beauty of this nation and its people, even the pre-tea bag folks, and know I could pretty much do whatever I chose. I don’t want for much.

        OK -- I am a sucker for HGTV and have what I call “kitchen envy”. Oohhh, yeaahhh -- would LOVE some of those kitchens! But for most of my life I’ve been aware that I had everything I wanted even if it was not exactly as I’d envisoned it. My kitchen is not glossy but does get the job done.

        We once were happy with “enough”. Now there is no such word. No such concept.

        But seriously -- to the raging anti-American terrorists of today: what DO you want you that you don’t have? Not what you fear -- black helicopters and re-education camps. But what do YOU NOT HAVE NOW? And if you DO have problems with government -- why? What role did your own bad choices play? Caught selling drugs? Why am I supposed to feel sorry for you? Cheated on your taxes and have to pay those plus penalties? Ummm -- that made ME pay for YOUR services.

        Tim McVeigh and the Nichols brothers believed they were “oppressed” because they had to have license plates and drivers’ licenses. As Molly Ivins noted -- that’s merely an annoyance. An inconvenience. It’s not oppression. Have to put up with (fill in the blank type of person you hate)? Well -- no one says you have to have them over for dinner. So you have to work with them. See them on the street. Sit in the same restaurant with them. So what? You’ll go home, and they aren’t coming over.

        What IS it that they want that they don’t have? What IS it that they have “lost” under Obama that they had under Bush? How is the government taking away their rights? What rights? When? How?

        I think if we all keep asking these questions -- and insisting that the enraged stick to actual losses -- that maybe, just maybe, we will start to slow this rampage down. It’s worth a try?

        • PepeLepew says:

          Wow. Great post!

          You’ve just articulated what bugs me so much about the Teabaggers, and haven’t been able to articulate.

        • Kalima says:

          cl, I just wrote a reply to you that was gobbled up by an ERROR message.

          Keeping it short I will say that the majority of people would not be able to answer that question because their beliefs have become entrenched in the “Message of the day” by their leaders. The only thing I glean from their rants is that they don’t know the facts, repeat proven lies and want their country back, back from where or back from whom has never really been explained by any of them. So much for their movement.

        • AdLib says:

          Well, anyone cheering this man would not be capable of answering a rational question like that.

          As for what Americans don’t have today, I know you know all of this as well as I do but for the record, officially, they no longer own their democracy. 40 million in this nation have no health care and of those who do, some have been forced into bankruptcy despite that.

          Maybe 20% of this country is unemployed or under-employed. Many have lost their homes and their jobs.

          The American dream of owning a house and making enough to put your kids through a good college is evaporating for the next generation.

          People are being suffocated by their rising credit card and medical/insurance bills, they have or are losing their nest eggs just to pay their bills and they’re looking down the barrel of Medicare and Social Security not necessarily being there for them when they retire.

          There are children in poor neighborhoods and rural areas not getting good educations or meals, elderly people living in dismal and desperate conditions…I could go on and on.

          I think the vast majority of Americans are doing okay and many can be fairly described as spoiled.

          But there is an underclass in this nation that lives on a much narrower margin and a decline for them can put them in dire circumstances.

          As I’ve said several times in this thread, so much is subjective. For those at the median income or better, America is one place. For those below, it is another place.

          Kesmarn gave a stunning example of the rage that’s bubbling in parts of this nation, the people you describe who are so hateful as to praise a terrorist attack against our government are reflective of that too. The tenor of Teabaggers and RWs display the rage that’s out there. It’s a problem but it’s not being addressed…and only getting worse.

          • choicelady says:

            Hi AdLib -- I agree at what people do not have on housing, income, jobs, health care, but that is thanks (odd word choice) to the private sector and, yes, their minions in government. At core, however, it is CORPORATE in nature.

            But we have not lost the basic freedoms they rant about. Most of what they say is projection -- “gonna take my guns” and all that. The Black Helicopter fears. But who has greater freedom of speech, assembly, petition, religion, and right to be weird than they?

            So no, they have NOT lost what they claim is supposed to be on the chopping block from Obama and the Dems.

            And Stack was hardly poor but furious he got caught for tax evasion. I’d just ask what is the difference between him and Al Capone on that issue? Wrong is wrong.

            Accept your personal responsibility and stop killing people because you’re pissed that you got found out. You have no right to murder just because you’re angry!

            • AdLib says:

              The thing is, no one here (though it sounds like Repubs and Teabaggers do) disagrees that whatever one is confronting in life, no matter how serious one thinks it is, has a right to take away the life or infringe on the sanctity of other people’s lives.

              Agreed, the Teabaggers are whipped up over many unjustified claims of having rights taken away. At the root of it may just be that a black man resides in the White House and undermined the notion of white superiority many of these Teabaggers may have relied upon to feel self-worth.

      • nellie says:

        You can’t prevent what you can’t predict.

        To me this is an isolated and specific incidence — like the guy at the Z Channel.

        Just because Stark rattled off a few talking points that sound familiar is no reason to make him iconic. He’s not. He’s like the Columbine kids in e’cat’s post.

        • AdLib says:

          If you haven’t seen it, check out Kesmarn’s recap on a riot that took place just because of the rage that’s boiling out there in our nation.

          Though anecdotal, I think it helps illustrate why such acts may not be so unpredictable.

        • Kalima says:

          How can anyone even be sure that he really believed what he wrote and it wasn’t just words on paper to justify what he was planning to do which could have been for any number of other reasons?

          • choicelady says:

            Wow Kalima -- that is very thought-provoking indeed! Creeeeepyyyy…

          • AdLib says:

            That’s why I am interested in learning more about this situation, right now, we don’t know much background on his motivation for certain.

            • Kalima says:

              That’s why we should wait then before making a judgment that it indeed had anything at all to do with the government and could just as well turn out to be a case of sour grapes because like everyone else, rich or poor, you are required to pay your taxes.

              Even the new PM in Japan is being raked over the coals here daily for not paying back taxes, no one is exempt.

          • nellie says:

            That’s my take, too.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Your final question reminds me of the phrase: Acceptable Losses. It’s like airlines-- they don’t even try to prevent every crash, but just to keep them within the range of acceptable (for profits.)

        So, the answer, IMO, is No. Not because we can’t make the system more responsive, more humane, and not because we cannot reform the financial system, but because the cost/benefit analysis says it’s not worth it.

    • nellie says:

      Brava, choicelady. A stunning post. Your last paragraph is perfect.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    I’ll say it again, because it’s just another prespective:

  10. nellie says:

    You know what this reminds me of == that guy who owned the Z Channel, which went belly up. And when it did, he shot his wife and then himself.

    • TheRarestPatriot says:

      Well, except that the channel went belly up due to his bad management. It was his ‘fail’. Joe Stack’s America failed him. When you are a victim of an evil machine you have no power to stop or cajole, the weight gets pretty heavy and the threat looms large. Yes, he did have IRS issues from way back. But I can’t think of one person that loves the IRS or even can read its policies and procedures and agree with them…so…there’s a built in beastie right there. LOL~

      • nellie says:

        And Stark’s IRS problems resulted from his failure to pay his taxes. Sounds like the same self-inflicted wounds to me.

        This guy was well off. Not some poor schmuck victim.

        • TheRarestPatriot says:

          Do you realize how many Americans vehemently disagree with the tax laws in this country? He had money, yes…but that’s all relative. Rich people spend what they make too. I’d love the chance to live the life this guy built. I’ve never had that kind of life. Probably never will. But alas, I digress….I know what you’re saying nellie….I truly do.

          • nellie says:

            And I know what you’re saying. I do understand. I just disagree.

            And yes, I know our tax system is ass backwards. But that’s beside the point. And, to tell the truth, so are his finances.

            I just think this is not the individual to hold up as an example of the hardships being borne by Americans right now.

            • TheRarestPatriot says:

              I’d never make the guy out to be a hero. Far too many people today have no outlet to vent. The pressure builds and the kettle boils over. It’s happening in far too many homes tonight…and tomorrow. Lots of people feel helpless…and hopeless. And that’s an awfully bad place to be…believe me.

            • nellie says:

              And I respect that. I just think THIS guy is the wrong guy to use as a symbol for all the people feeling that way.

    • Kalima says:

      Again, why kill his wife, did she want to die?

      • nellie says:

        No. She didn’t. And I’m sure Stark’s wife didn’t want to die, either.

        Z’s owner was an obsessed guy on a mission — just like this guy.

        • Kalima says:

          Of course neither the spouse or the children would want to die and here in Japan murder/suicide is very common. It always makes me mad that the guy who has lost his job or had a chronic illness would presume that there is no life left for the family, except to live in shame without him. It is a purely selfish act.

          • nellie says:

            I agree. And Hollywood was all, “Poor Walter.” And here, his wife is dead.

            It’s tragic. But it’s selfish, too. It makes me very angry — perhaps because there is suicide in my family. I can’t imagine killing someone else along with yourself.

            • Kalima says:

              There was a suicide in my family too, a favourite, larger than life, always joking uncle who waited until his wife was out of town and hung himself in their basement where she found him the next day. Even though mu aunt was in poor health, he wouldn’t have ever considered harming a hair on her head.

            • AdLib says:

              Kalima and Nellie, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had to endure these tragedies.

            • Kalima says:

              I’m so sorry nellie.

            • nellie says:

              I’m sorry to hear that, Kalima. In my case, it was my dad.

              It’s very complicated and very sad. And like your uncle, he would never have harmed anyone else.

  11. AdLib says:

    In 1993, terrorists who hated America attempted to blow up the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

    The law enforcement aspects were handled well, those involved were caught and convicted, except for one of the masterminds, Khalid Shaikh Mohamed, who would later mastermind the 9/11 attacks.

    People were angry and incensed as was justified. The perpetrators were viewed as hateful enemies of America and once jailed, case closed as far as the public was concerned.

    U.S. Intelligence did continue to track and investigate but there was no curiosity in the public to explore what this attack represented.

    It was taken as an isolated incident.

    Instead, had we as citizens asked, “Why were they motivated to do this? Are there more like them who would want to follow in their footsteps?”, perhaps in the subsequent 8 years we could have done more to weaken Al Qaeda’s characterization of America as hateful of Arabs and perhaps blunted or undermined 9/11.

    Maybe 9/11 could have been prevented if we looked at things in a big picture instead of as isolated incidents.

    With this situation, there are many differences. It is a lone lunatic. But it is not the first lone lunatic within the last year to commit an act of terrorism against Americans.

    The assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

    The shootings at Ft. Hood.

    The shooting of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

    Not to mention the record number of death threats against Pres. Obama.

    All of these can be seen as isolated incidents which could not be avoided.

    Or they could all be regarded as mentally ill people driven by ideological hatred of government decisions and leadership.

    Recognizing this is not trying to excuse or condone their actions. It’s making an observation that just as desperation has driven foreign terrorists, desperation appears to be driving domestic terrorists.

    As mentioned below, what came out of Columbine was a focus on the motivation of the killers and a valuable solution to combat bullying. We will never know if any school shootings that might have taken place, didn’t, because of these steps. But maybe some kids or teachers are alive today because of it.

    Likewise, if we were to explore the root causes behind people flipping out against the forces they feel cornered by, maybe there is some kind of positive social action we can take to diffuse some of this.

    If we are instead quick to condemn and dismiss such people and more importantly, what they represent, if we discourage discussion of such people and what has driven them to do such horrific things, are we not missing the big picture of what is going on under the surface of this nation?

    Are we missing an opportunity to explore how we might dissuade subsequent terrorists from crossing the line and taking such horrible actions?

    Are we too focused on condemning today instead of preventing tomorrow?

    • escribacat says:

      The Columbine shooters were just a couple of psychotic kids. They weren’t unpopular or abused by their fellow students any more than any other kid is. If teachers became more aware of bullying afterward, it was because they were told and believed that was the motive behind the killings.

      “These are not ordinary kids who were bullied into retaliation,” psychologist Peter Langman writes in his new book, Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters. “These are not ordinary kids who played too many video games. These are not ordinary kids who just wanted to be famous. These are simply not ordinary kids. These are kids with serious psychological problems.”

      Harris, who conceived the attacks, was more than just troubled. He was, psychologists now say, a cold-blooded, predatory psychopath

      • Khirad says:

        Thanks e’cat, that’s the Columbine article I was thinking of below. It wasn’t being bullied, it wasn’t the music -- it was a sociopath.

        Still, it did start a useful dialog.

      • AdLib says:

        I have never suggested that such killers be treated any differently.

        Nor have I ever suggested that that there is any justification or excuse for any of these actions.

        Nor have I ever portrayed Stack as other than a hateful terrorist.

        I don’t understand why curiosity into understanding why something happened in order to try and prevent reoccurrences continues to be equated with such sentiments.

        • TheRarestPatriot says:

          I hear ya’, Adlib…Some can’t draw a line. It’s all emotion. I do not consider this guy a hero or an iconic figure for a movement. I simply insist people look a bit more deeply into reasons, causes, and issues. It’s just easier to condemn and wash your hands than to look into the mirror. IMHO.

          • escribacat says:

            The source of my views isn’t “all emotion” as you say. I’m just saying that the reasons for his actions are psychological, not political. How is that “all emotion?”

            • TheRarestPatriot says:

              See…to simply state that his actions were not political as fact is just not fair. We have no idea and never will. However, taking ANY action always comes down to emotion. This is not a personal attack on anyone.

            • Kalima says:

              By the same token those of you who have already decided that the government is to blame just because he left a rambling letter on the internet, would seem decided about the possibility that he was just another victim of the system.

              You see, most people go with their gut instinct until something becomes more detailed and we have the opportunity to change our minds. Human nature rather than emotion.

        • escribacat says:

          I am not equating your curiosity with such sentiments. I don’t think you are defending this guy in any way at all or trying to justify what he did.

          The difference between our views is that I do not believe he did this for important or profound political reasons. I do not believe he had a “cause” other than himself. I think his manifesto was just a bunch of political yakking that he used to cover up his own personal deficiencies and failures. He probably believed that he was doing it for political reasons, but I think he was wrong. It was all about him, his ego, and his narcissistic need to be in control, his failures, his screw ups.

          I will go even further to suggest that all of the most virulent political fanatics of any persuasion are using their political outrage and obsessions to deflect, avoid, cover up, distract from their own personal failings.

          • AdLib says:

            You may very well be right, I think it’s a strong possibility.

            I’m interested in finding out the truth, that’s all.

            He does seem to be a Reagan Republican who believed that he could have it all and didn’t need to give back…via taxes. He was jealous of those who didn’t pay taxes.

            But even that scenario would allow for the overlap of feeling that the system was corrupt.

            As I think is self-evident from the powerful discussions we’ve been having here, I think this tragic and horrific event provides us with an opportunity to examine areas of the American psyche that need examination. Not to mention our society which, one way or another, helped produce this person.

          • TheRarestPatriot says:

            Is it possible that these ‘failures’ from what I read might have had something to do with a broken American tax system? If a person fails through no fault of their own and it’s the system that caused these underlying issues, isn’t that not HIS fault? I mean, the government can fail for wealthy folk, too I should imagine. I’m just so very tired of events taking place and every outlet available simply tags the people involved as lunatics and mentally unstable. And I will repeat, if THIS guy was mentally ill, then we need universal mental health care more than ever because I hear his ramblings on every political site I visit. We may have a pandemic of insanity on our hands.

        • nellie says:

          AdLib, I think your quest to understand why is lost on those of us who see this man as a sociopath. There is no why for that kind of person.

          I don’t see him as iconic in any way of people suffering from social ills. That’s the disconnect here.

          He wrote a long letter that happened to include some familiar talking points, posted it on the net as a some grandiose heroic manifesto — I see it as completely self serving with no social relevance at all.

          • AdLib says:

            I appreciate that though it does not explain the continued misrepresentation of my position.

            I would agree that he became a sociopath, I don’t know at what point that became the case. It would seem though that he did go severely mental pretty recently.

            I wouldn’t personally refer to him as iconic in any case.

            I think he was someone who bought into the RW propaganda and thought, as an American, he deserved to have it all.

            When the hard realities prevented him from having it all, he snapped.

            We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether this is an isolated incident of a sociopath whose disillusionment and desperation led him to such a heinous series of events.

            I would unfortunately propose that this will not be the last domestic terrorist attack that occurs because of similar motivations.

            My preference would be to try to figure out how to head off further and possibly bigger attacks if possible.

            • nellie says:

              A person does not become a sociopath. You are one, or you are not one — except in rare cases of severe child abuse where that kind of damage can be done early in life.

              You see some social context to this man that I don’t see. That’s the difference.

              I think he was someone who bought into the RW propaganda and thought, as an American, he deserved to have it all.

              That’s the iconic part. I don’t see that. I think this man was a self absorbed manipulator who posted what he thought sounded high minded — I don’t think he cared a whit about society and its ills. He just cared about himself.

            • AdLib says:

              Then we may agree on something.

              My proposition is that he bought into the Reagan RW propoganda which is all about self-entitlement.

              When you say that all he cared about was himself, that is not inconsistent with what I’m saying in this area.

              As for being sociopathic, you are correct, my bad.

              What I should have said is that we do not know for a fact whether he was a sociopath or if he was not but had a severe mental breakdown that led him to these actions.

              I agree that he was self-absorbed and self-important in his letter, he was not and should never be viewed as anything other than someone who put his feelings above the lives and well being of everyone else.

              I would say that there is necessarily a social context, even if it was him believing in the movement that claimed the income tax was illegal, which I think we can agree on that he seemed to believe.

              You may be right about him being a sociopath from birth but we just don’t know everything quite yet.

            • escribacat says:

              TRP -- I don’t think Nellie’s posts have been “very emotional” at all. Which comments are you referring to? Maybe it’s just because I agree with her position, but I haven’t seen any admonishment either — just disagreeing.

            • nellie says:

              You are really reading me wrong on this.

              Iconic means “typical” not heroic. It means he is emblematic of a trend. I don’t see that.

              And don’t devalue my pov by calling it “emotional.” That’s just insulting.

            • TheRarestPatriot says:

              This issue is very emotional to you, nellie and it may be you’re too close to it. You are seemingly admonishing Adlib and myself for a position we simply don’t hold. He is not an icon. He is not a hero. We are simply saying (I think) that there is something about this event to be learned about American dis-ease. That’s all I’m trying to say. Big hug~

    • PatsyT says:

      I can not imagine doing the job of a Coroner or CSI
      but I know they are essential to our Justice system.
      Ultimately we have to hold our nose and dig into what made this guy tick.
      I think that is what you were going for in you original post.
      As this mans story reveals itself I think there will be many lessons to learn
      and we should not let our disgust of his actions get in the way of the
      possible prevention of the next loose cannon.

      • escribacat says:

        I agree about digging into what makes this guy tick. But for me, that will be a psychological investigation, not a political one.

      • AdLib says:

        Thanks Patsy, that is exactly where I’ve been going with this.

        The kneejerk reaction is to condemn him as crazy and don’t bother giving him any further attention.

        What I’m saying is that giving attention to him and what happened isn’t for his sake, it’s for our sake. To understand and be able to prepare and hopefully take pre-emptive steps to prevent other such attacks.

        • escribacat says:

          I do object to the term “kneejerk reaction” in this context.

          • AdLib says:

            I’m sorry if it came off as offensive, that was not my intention.

            What I was trying to say is that IMO, the most typical reaction to an attack like this is to condemn the attacker, expressing justifiable outrage and leaving it there.

            I don’t believe it is as common to put aside one’s outrage to seek the truth as to why this took place.

            People generally seem to want to regard things like this in black and white, this man did something terrible and is terrible, which he did and is, so case closed.

          • nellie says:

            I concur — I think our opinions have been thoughtfully presented.

    • kesmarn says:

      Well said, AdLib.

      Even if Joe Stack was--to some degree--a rich would-be tax-evader, it doesn’t necessarily follow that every point in his six page manifesto is wrong. The messenger may be a character we scorn, but there are parts of the message (the sorry state of health care coverage and the corrupt collusion of big business and substantial sectors of government, to name just two) that at least 80% of the country can recognize as deadly serious problems.

      I think there are any number of potential Joe Stacks out there. Maybe it’s because I live in the 8th poorest city in the nation, but the fury is so thick out there, you could cut it with a knife. At the risk of sounding simple-minded, I have to say: this is a problem!

      Just last weekend, at a relatively up-scale mall near here, 150 teens and young adults went completely nuts and started punching each other, throwing trash cans and assaulting police. It took three hours to restore order and 16 people were arrested. There was no identifiable incident that started it all…apparently just a sort of “free floating rage” that spontaneously ignited.

      Maybe, to Joe, this was largely a final, lethal tantrum of sorts. I guess we may never know for sure. But that possibly-less-than-noble motivation doesn’t rule out the fact that in his written words, he struck more than a few raw nerves of truth. What he wrote is worth some serious critical evaluation. Not every sentence of it is demented ranting. We may be able to learn something from this tragic event after all.

      • KQuark says:

        What makes you think he wasn’t a rich tax evader at one time who fell on bad times?

        He owned companies and a plane.

        The only thing that separates him from the people he is complaining about is that he wanted to be where they are but did not make it for whatever reason. But if he was on top he would be doing exactly what he’s complaining about.

        • nellie says:

          Wow — what an astute observation, K. That one went right by me, but you’re absolutely right. He was hoarding money — just to be the very thing he railed against.

      • AdLib says:

        Wow, that’s sobering…and what I’m concerned about.

        My point is that this guy could be the tip of an iceberg of rage and resentment that is hiding under the surface of this nation.

        The incident you describe is scary. Imagine senseless, unfocused rage breaking out like that around the nation.

        This is what I think some are failing to recognize, this isn’t about sympathizing with a terrorist, it’s about understanding that some of the issues he represented as driving him to the point of committing terrorism are driving many others into profound anger in their lives.

        I don’t want us to look back one day and regret that we let things get so out of hand because we didn’t act to tamp down rage in this nation when we had the chance.

        • escribacat says:

          I guess it’s all relative. To me, things in this country are not nearly bad enough to generate a revolution or mass rage killings for political reasons. Maybe in Guatemala or Uganda or Bangladesh — places where people are starving and dying of common diseases every day for which there are inoculations. Things aren’t great right now in our country but we’re still far better off than a huge chunk of the world. We don’t know how good we’ve got it here. We’re spoiled.

          • AdLib says:

            There’s the rub.

            Suffering is all so subjective. Look at this guy, he owned a plane but lost his mind because he owed $40,000 in taxes.

            He could have claimed bankruptcy. He could have sold his plane and his home if necessary to pay it off and he still would have been living far better than the people in the countries you mention.

            Yet, one can’t dispute that subjectively, in his mind, he was suffering as much as the people you mention, more than that to commit such acts.

            Certainly, we wouldn’t expect that Americans would be so submissive as to have to wait until they were living like poor South Americans until they were willing to stand up to their declining standard of living.

            As for being spoiled, yes, in many ways we are. At the same time, as we continue to lose our democracy and there is greater inequity financially, are things not declining? Are people not dying every day because the lack of health care? Are people not living on the streets because they’ve lost their homes and can’t find jobs?

            That too is subjective. Many Americans are spoiled but many are suffering right now too.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            E’cat, yes, all relative, and the vast majority of Americans have no clue how well we live compared to (I would guess) 70% of the world.

            But bear this in mind, people in those countries you mentioned weren’t told Mon-Fri growing up that America was the best; that they were the richest; that they were entitled to wealth. We ARE spoiled, but we don’t realize that.

            • msbadger says:

              You are so right on, Chernynkaya! The entitlement, “American Exceptionalims”, the idea that everyone is somehow “special”, the myth of unlimited upward mobility, and not the least, the flip side of the self-made man idea- that only something outside yourself is to blame if you fail. I hope I’m making sense with that. It’s all of a piece, the way I see it. Americans have become giant, spoiled babies, and the resultant temper tantrums are such as this. Thanks to all of you!

      • TheRarestPatriot says:

        Right on….

  12. TheRarestPatriot says:

    I think it must be said that there is no manual. No operator’s guide to life. All of us are unique in our actions and our methods. Joe Stack is unique in his actions…but not alone in thought or divination. As I wrote in in Time Out this morning when this event happened, all of us have shared similar ideas about our dying Republic and its hubris, corruptness and failing society as Joe Stack had.
    Again, there is no handbook to guide those of us in society that have no outlets or sounding boards to allow us a venue or platform to express serious concerns of this nature without sounding like kooks. Somehow the TeaBaggers can act like idiots, express pure hate, ignorance and racism and still get media coverage as though THEY represent America.
    I do not condone the injury or death of innocents….anywhere…for any reason. But it’s a different matter when you speak of corporations and their CEOs, governmental bodies that snigger away in back rooms making deals that border on genocidal and those that would see this Nation fall for their next mega-annual bonus. I am not a pacifist. I used to be. Yet, this world and its evil have taught me to be wary and cynical. It may well be my life situation that has me so revved up, but I was well on my way to this point for years. To call Joe Stack insane or mentally ill is, well…to call me the same…and so many others that are fed up…and I don’t mean “fire off an angry email” fed up either. I want justice in my lifetime. We realize this world ‘owes’ us nothing. This is a mind-trap the MSM plays out for those that act out. Justice is what we want. There IS however a document in DC that DOES say I, as a US citizen, AM entitled to certain things in this Republic. and far too many of us watch as those entitlements fade away. How in the world are any of us supposed to pursue happiness when we as a tribe are left without care when we’re sick? Or we are monetarily destroyed by those that buy $4000k shower curtains? Or watch our jobs float off into the haze of another country as our car payments are due and we’ve lost our jobs? Eventually, we learn as Pavlov discovered. Or we fight…for things that ARE ours. But we can’t all act alone like Joe Stack. And we can no longer be pacifists I’m afraid.
    There is no handbook. And to dissect the man that was Joe Stack is to take a scalpel to America. He was NOT mentally ill…he was frustrated, angry, wronged and, yes, depressed to see his America fail him…and all of us so badly.

    • AdLib says:

      Much of what I was trying to express is that there is an atmosphere of futility and desperation that seems to be growing stronger around this nation.

      People feel that they’re witnessing American Democracy and our standard of living declining rapidly before there eyes as the wealthy and corporations gain more power and riches.

      I was trying to illustrate that such an atmosphere can push the least mentally stable over the edge to do horrible things. And it should push those of us who wish to make a better nation and world, into positive action.

      My overall philosophy is that anyone who would choose to murder innocent human beings in an act of protest or symbolism, is mentally ill. They lack a modicum of empathy that non-sociopathic people have.

      To a sane person, killing innocent people is always wrong. Planning an act that is likely to kill innocent people is the act of someone who is not rational.

      If their feeling is that their life being ruined by others is wrong…so they will commit a terrorist act that will destroy the lives of others…they are mentally ill.

      The people in the IRS building are innocent. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, these are human beings. And this man saw only the damage of his life as meaningful. That is sociopathic.

      As for violence, in terms of taking back our democracy, I think it is a destructive path. In nations where that is the norm, it is one violent overthrow after another. And then, the leadership must rule with an iron fist and restrict the freedom of the people to protect themselves.

      How would we feel if a Teabagger army attacked the White House and Obama?

      We do have to get mad, mad as hell that we’re not going to take it anymore. Then we have to put our bodies out there where they can be seen.

      Civil disobedience. Protests. And even marches. All we need are the numbers of people standing up and we can win. That’s the key though, standing up, not sitting at home.

      Physical activism was never needed more than it is now, peaceful but unyielding physical activism.

    • KQuark says:

      Believe me there is a flying manual somewhere that expressly says you don’t fly planes into buildings.

      How do you know if he was mentally ill or not?

      But his actions were definitely that of a entitled narcissist.

      • Kalima says:

        We don’t know if he was mentally ill, that is the way people prefer to think about someone who murders his family, abuses a child, a spouse or an animal or flies a plane into a building, so are the suicide bombers in the ME, Afghanistan, Kashmir and all over the world also mentally unstable?

        • KQuark says:

          He definitely was mentally unstable and I think he was probably mentally ill.

          • Kalima says:

            And such a nice, quiet man who payed his bills on time.

            We are perceived as to how we present ourselves to the people in our daily social circle outside the privacy of our homes, this is why it would be so hard to identify and stop the next Stark. One man blowing his mind over certain issues will not help to change the minds of others who will one day try to do the same. These are basically angry people, I’ve met angry people in my lifetime and no matter how much you talk to them, nothing will change their minds. They remain angry about most things and a few will no doubt take things into their own hands.

            We all have concerns about our daily lives, most of us learn how to deal with it. It seems rather reaching to blame the government about everything that goes wrong with our lives, especially when you haven’t been paying your taxes while others are struggling to survive from day to day.

        • TheRarestPatriot says:

          Bingo~

      • TheRarestPatriot says:

        Well, the man ran two software companies, lead a relatively normal life including buying pianos, playing in a band and having relationships, know enough to buy and fly his own plane, etc… Sounds pretty normal to me. It’s sorta like the old yarn about the guy falling off a 35 story building….it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop and the end. Perhaps in the last hour of his life he may have had a psychotic break, but mentally ill? Nah, that’s the easy answer isn’t it?
        We are all brainwashed to detest these events because they are all so horrible. Yet. like I said…we ALL feel very similar about many issues as this guy. Does that make us all insane? are we insane ALL of the time or just some…maybe when we get angry…are we insane then? Or is it just when we act OUT are we insane?
        As I said, I do not condone the taking of innocent lives in any circumstance. I can, however, totally understand WHY this guy did what he did.

        • AdLib says:

          I would suggest that people can snap. I think everyone can agree that this guy snapped. He burned down his home with his wife and daughter inside, he flew his plane into a building to possibly kill innocent people.

          Those are not the actions of reason.

          One can be sane and rational…until one isn’t.

          As for your point, I do think that many can relate to the concept of feeling so desperate and helpless at some point in their lives that terrifying thoughts including suicide might creep into view.

          To give in to that or doing others harm is the line of sanity being crossed.

          What is sanity but a recognition and appreciation of reality? Does a suicide bomber or flier appreciate the reality of what he’s doing and how it truly impacts the human beings he’s going to murder?

          Does he think about the children who will live the rest of their lives without their father or mother? Is that what he wanted to accomplish, the cruel destruction of the lives of innocent adults and children? I don’t think so.

          Mental illness is an epidemic in this nation, it is not respected for being the real affliction that it is…even insurance plans pay far less to treat mental illness than physical illness.

          That is an issue that needs to be addressed but so does the inequity in this nation.

        • bitohistory says:

          Dog, TRP, I have had a stroke, been diagnosed with stage IV cancer, lost my job, house, car, savings….Should I now uddenly become some “stable-minded” terrorist bomber? Do I have “enough” justification? Have I missed my calling?

          Oh, woe is me. I am not some woman in Darfur, getting gang raped while trying to gather roots and fire wood to feed my family!

          Frustrated people do not burn down their house, with their wife and child inside, fly a plane into a building full of innocent people.

          • KQuark says:

            Exactly bito I really appreciate survivors like you that cope so well with what life gives them.

            That’s why I don’t think there is anything about this guy that is special. It takes a brave person to face life’s challenges.

          • AdLib says:

            Bito, you are a strong and remarkable person.

            Simply put, some people are not.

            Suffering is subjective. From our perspective, someone who had everything Stack had should have no reason to claim that he was suffering.

            And yet, he did and it drove him insane.

            I don’t think we would disagree that he flipped out. If so, he flipped out for reasons that you and I might say he shouldn’t have flipped out over but he did.

            So our subjective opinion of what other people should not flip out over doesn’t affect whether or not they flip out over it.

            Everyone has their breaking point. Most have one far more resilient than this man.

            I’m just saying, we have to accept that if someone is going to go insane because a black man is president, whether we accept that as legitimate or not, to them it is de facto cause for them flipping out.

            My thrust in this thread is to suggest that we need to understand why these things happen to prevent them.

            If all we do is call insane people insane and unjustified, we end up in the same vulnerable position the IRS employees were in that building.

          • nellie says:

            b’ito, you are a gem and a credit to mankind.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              x2!!!

            • bitohistory says:

              nellie, no, I’m not. 🙂 I am just as pissed-off as Joe Stack, Joe the plumber, Joe the carpenter. “Joe the everyman.” I am not going to take someones life because I can blame it on some outside harm.
              I could have made my life easier by going to Nam and killed people. I could just have blamed “the government.” I chose not to, and suffered for it. Big deal. My choice.
              I am just a shlub trying to reach the “inner wheel.” No greater or smaller than you.

              Good night all. Another thoughtful day at The Planet. thanks all.

            • nellie says:

              You are no shlub, dear friend. Far from it. And you’re just going to have to accept the truth gracefully.

              Sleep well.

          • TheRarestPatriot says:

            As I said, I do not condone what he did. I simply understand why. I, too, have lost it all…some of it due to this governmental policy. Should I do something so wicked? I haven’t.
            Yet, I doubt that every terrorist suicide bomber, Indian protesters setting themselves on fire, or every Patrick Henry was insane or mentally ill. Right?

            Patrick Henry said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” Do you remember what the crowd chanted after his oratory?

            “TO ARMS, TO ARMS”…..

            Was out nation founded on insanity? Well,…now that I think on it….LOL~

            I do not take lightly your suffering my friend…and I do consider you a friend. You are a survivor. You are strong.

            • bitohistory says:

              TRP, What? Did Patrick Henry burn down homes/buildings with innocents inside? Did the Government steal your health? Did any one steal his health?
              Patrick H. fought with words.

              I am not a survivor, I am a patient. My bootstraps are gone. You have your good health.
              I cannot justify/understand the taking the lives of innocent people.

            • TheRarestPatriot says:

              No. Henry sacrificed himself. A death is a death. Again, I’d never condone taking innocent lives. I am sorry you are dealing with cancer. I sat with my wife for over 7 months watching the chemo reduce her to 85lbs killing the mutations that had spread to her lungs, as well. I watched her suffer and nearly die. I’ve slept in those hospital room chairs designed to break your back and your spirit after a day or two. I know Vanderbilt UH like the back of my hand for all of the time I spent there roaming the halls weeping. I want you to be a survivor.

        • nellie says:

          Why he set his house on fire with his wife and daughter inside? There is no “why” for that. And that’s the same impulse that flew that plane into the IRS building.

          • TheRarestPatriot says:

            There is no handbook to tell him what to do about anything. When a person snaps,…they do stupid things. Sometimes there is no ‘why’…there just…is.
            Sort of like why CEOs or politicians plunder America to the point where people lose their lives because of it. Is that any more ‘sane’ than what Joe Stack did?
            Tons of ‘triggers’ in this life. It’s what you do in the crunch that defines you. I suppose after all that has happened to me I could just as easily snap and do something similar. Yet, I haven’t. Does that make me stronger than Joe Stack…..or weaker? Slippery slope…

            • nellie says:

              TRP, I know mental illness. I’ve had a lot of experience with it.

              Undoubtedly this has some mental health issues involved — my opinion is something like KQuark’s in that it seems like obsessive narcissism to me — but mental illness is not necessarily violent, and not necessarily murderous.

            • nellie says:

              Well, if that’s the case, then we’re not talking about social ills — we’re talking about an individual who handles life in a very inappropriate way. Which is exactly what I and other have been saying.

            • TheRarestPatriot says:

              I suggest a sudden, tidal psychotic break…Otherwise I think we’re just dealing with a guy with personality issues. Yet, he WILL be labeled as a mentally ill person. He has to be portrayed that way to prevent so many in America as seeing themselves like him. And loads do. It’s an easy and effective containment method for societies.

        • Khirad says:

          Good points all… I think I’m gonna stop conjecturing for tonight and wait for more info to come out.

  13. Khirad says:

    Anyone?

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/18/scott-brown-terrorism-yawn/

    Repost from a poster over “there”:

    A few things to keep in mind when evaluating whether or not his rage, and the attack, was justified:

    1) He tried to k1ll his wife and kid
    2) He appears to be a tax-cheating fothermucker
    3) He was wealthy enough to own his own plane
    4) He owned his own house
    5) He had a retirement income

  14. escribacat says:

    I often question the motives of killers who do violent acts for “political” reasons. Only the most narcissistic personality could come up with “I must kill others” as a response to a personal, financial, or spiritual crisis. My guess is this guy wanted to dress himself up with high-sounding language and his “manifesto” but the fact is he just couldn’t cope with the same problems that the rest of us cope with and he was selfish enough to want to punish others for it.

    Many of the Islamic terrorists also strike me as just plain psychopaths, using a great religious war (jihad) to make themselves look and feel bigger and more important and more profound than they are. I’m sure they believe they are doing it for Allah, but they are actually just doing it for themselves.

  15. Khirad says:

    According to the letter he left behind, he saw the American Dream as a cunning deception that Americans are brainwashed to believe when they

    • bitohistory says:

      Che Guevara was an “idiotlouge” just as much as those that he was railing against. (half-truth)

      • Khirad says:

        Upon reading this guy’s “diatribe”, he appears not to be an ideologue…

        Nothing justifies his act. But, quite frankly, I don’t see the roots of violence in it. Well, I do, obviously; but it seemed quite out of place… in that it became a rant. Oy, I’m just contradicting myself left and right here…

        I wonder if it wasn’t something more personal going on -- which, no, does not justify it. I just wonder if this was suicide poorly disguised as “martyrdom”.

        • Kalima says:

          I doubt that anyone in their right minds would view what he did as “martyrdom” any more than they would think the same of a fanatical suicide bomber blowing up a group of innocent people eating in a family restaurant with their young children.

          • Khirad says:

            These people are often not in their right minds. Merely trying to get inside his head.

            And, on the other site, the trolls are actually defending him.

            Here’s one: “What’s the semantic difference between terrorism and resistance?”

            And another: “I wonder if this would have happened if we had the Fair Tax.

            I can say with 100% certainty…NO.”

            Et cetera…

            They’re not exactly compos mentis, either

            • tb92 says:

              Here’s an important difference for them--if he truly believed that he was being unfairly treated and needed to punish those involved, he would have taken a gun and gone after the politicians or IRS agents who had created the problem. To fly into a building filled with people who had nothing to do with his situation is by no definition an act of resistance. It’s insane or evil. And if his goal was to create fear among everyone who works for, or NEAR, the IRS, then he is a terrorist.

              Yes, I think he had some important things to say, and he certainly found a way to have his message heard, but he could have at least had the guts to make it personal.

              This man was a cowardly, sick bastard, and anyone who condones his behavior is just as bad.

            • PepeLepew says:

              Oh, you’re kidding. Well … nothing trolls post should surprise me anymore.

              There’s no defending this act. He could have murdered dozens of people.

              [EDIT] I just read this. Two bodies found inside the building in Austin. A third in critical condition.

            • Kalima says:

              Is the trolls learning? No.

              The man is dead I presume, no chance to get inside his head anymore. His garbled suicide note may only cover half of what he thought about how many people had wronged him, we will never know of the last trigger that set him off.

              With the words “in their right minds” i was referring to his “audience” the people he might expect to view him as a martyr.

            • Khirad says:

              Nah, just a minor crosswiring, I don’t think the problem was yours.

              As a native speaker, I’m not doing so well tonight… I feel a bit discombobulated. Just one of those days.

            • Kalima says:

              Right you are then Khirad, I worry about my use of English sometimes, I have a problem with word order at times. 🙁

            • Khirad says:

              I know that’s what you were doing. I was trying to clarify the distinction myself.

              And, who knows, there might be more to come out to give us clues, posthumous and inconclusive as they may be.

  16. kesmarn says:

    Thanks so much, AdLib, for this thought-provoking article. I knew when I read Stack’s Manifesto that there would be a lot of discussion about whether this guy represented any part of America’s citizenry in any way.

    When I read your article I was reminded of the way I felt about the Columbine shootings and the shooters right after that event happened. Was there any way to justify what Dylan and Kliebold had done? Of course not. But did their actions cause us to take a much-needed look at bullying in school settings? Yes. At what teachers might have been able to do to prevent the massacre? Indeed. I know that--while I didn’t blame the parents involved in any sort of knee-jerk judgement--I certainly wondered what was happening on the home front with these kids. In short, I wanted to look at the whole situation. Every bit of it. I wanted to understand every aspect of it.

    That didn’t mean that I lacked sympathy for the victims and their families, or that I thought the shooters were high-school freedom-fighting heroes. But I also knew that desperate acts are committed by desperate people. And something drove these kids to desperation. I felt that if we didn’t get a handle on what was going on, we would see the same thing being repeated until we finally “got it.” And we did indeed see repetitions of those types of acts.

    I don’t think it matters that these were kids and Stack wasn’t. A similar dynamic was at work in both cases. This is an almost uniquely American way of behaving. From the Virginia Tech mass shooter to the very recent shooting by the professor who was denied tenure, (and many other episodes, almost too numerous to count) we find people who feel that they have run out of options. Many people have lost confidence that the system (any system) works, that patience and going through channels will result in anything positive, and that there is something that even remotely resembles a safety net out there if things do go horribly wrong. They feel that they are going down fast and nobody gives a damn. So they decide that if they’re going down, they’re going to take a lot of other people with them.

    Something is terribly wrong with a society that produces this level of madness. If we don’t get it figured out, Joe Stack really will become a folk hero. And that would be wrong.

    • Khirad says:

      I thought the look at school bullying was a great thing to come out of that tragedy. It was long coming. And, lessons need not always be based on reality, as those kids were themselves bullies. Nevertheless, it started a national dialogue about schools, misfits, and guns.

      • kesmarn says:

        Exactly, Khirad. And if we had just written them off as a pair of spoiled-brat psychos, we would have lost any possible lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

  17. SueInCa says:

    Great post AdLib. And I love the quote, the Corp Oligarchy is the British in our case. I, too, hope the movement started here is enduring and grows exponentially. We cannot just sit back and let others take up the cause. If the American people do not take action, get off their keisters and hit the streets, there may be no future for anyone. Writing letters and signing petitions is all good and well, but action gets better results. When the people meet on the Capitol Mall as one, a statement will be made. They did it in the depression with the shanty towns and it was far more difficult for them to get to DC. The next best thing would be to protest at every single state capitol in the nation on the same day. And keep it up until they listen.

  18. Kalima says:

    An apt Mohandas Gandhi quote.

    “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

    • Khirad says:

      And,

      “If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should feel free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite violence.”

  19. whatsthatsound says:

    What a fantastic array of commentary! My favorite is one made by Kalima. Third world countries and colonies may need to resort to extreme measures to claim freedom, but a country that wants to think of itself as “advanced” must reject violence as a means of attaining that goal, as one of our greatest leaders, Martin Luther King, taught and demonstrated, and as the Civil Rights Movement showed.
    -- This is not meant to imply I feel that AdLib’s article condones this or any other act of domestic terrorism.

  20. bitohistory says:

    While I may understand your “search for the truth”, I can not except your preface as “Joe, the Everyman.” I know you are saying he is not blameless, but I cannot except his actions when he thinks “because I am not treated right by Government/Corporations, I can take other innocents lives.

    He lost money! How? Why?

    In all scientific probability, my cancer is caused by environmental/man-made chemicals. If I would blow up a Monsanto (or another chemical company)and take other lives, would you be posting a blog saying “Well, just like Joe Stacks, ole bito, was damaged by some corp and the government let them get away with it”? He lost money, BFD, I am fighting the big C

    It is a stretch, a hard stretch for me. What if it was the very building that you worked? Would I still qualify for a blog?You know, just for the the “intellectual discussion.

    I simply can not put your preface, your proposition, together with your argument. simply, he was wrong.

    My POV.

    • KQuark says:

      Bito I got a similar impression from reading the post as well.

      We have no clue if this is a case of Joe the everyman against the big bad powers that be. I read what he wrote and got two impressions. A. it as anti-government first and foremost and B. he was feeling sorry for himself and had a persecution complex. Hardly a martyr for a noble cause.

      I think us survivors can see this cowardly action for what it was. A guy who did not have the inner strength to deal with the problems life gives us.

      Even conflating his actions with any noble cause leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If it was a post about condemning his actions and examining the causes I would have not said anything. But it was a post about not condoning his actions BUT trying to rally around what he was against.

      • bitohistory says:

        KQ, When I heard the words “stage IV”, my first instinct was NOT “why me” or “who should I take out/blame.”
        There are many things I don’t like. But I can’t put 2+4 together and get 3.

      • SueInCa says:

        KQuark
        Something happened to this guy in the past 6 years. Stack had his airplane stored at a private airport not far from where I live and the owner of the airport paints a very positive picture of the guy. He was hardworking(long hours),paid all his bills on time and was very friendly and happy. He said he had the plane stored there for a couple years. Then he moved to Texas sometime after 2004.

        • KQuark says:

          I don’t understand your point. It’s obvious the guy could not handle life for whatever reason.

          Should I go over what I went through the last five years or now for that matter?

          Life is not easy for any of us but if we all acted on our impulses all we would get is chaos.

          • Kalima says:

            I have to agree, there are people all over the world far worse off than many of us who have roofs over our heads, food to eat, clean drinking water, access to emergency care if we can pay for it or not, the right to an education, the rights afforded to women, the right to complain and vote to make a difference, a stable country to live and bring up our children.

            So whatever his reasons were, they were purely selfish and the number of times I’ve heard that so and so was a quiet man who blended in to describe a person who has committed a heinous act are so many, that if I had $100 for those times, we wouldn’t have to work again for the rest of our lives, and my hubby could play golf every day.

          • SueInCa says:

            No other point except he seemed happy to this guy for the two years he rented there.

            • KQuark says:

              Gotcha. 🙂

              Six years is a long time believe me. It’s amazing how my life has changed in six years.

            • SueInCa says:

              I know, alot can happen in one day for that matter. Tomorrow is promised to none of us.

    • AdLib says:

      Honestly, I am fascinated by how so many here seem to equate sympathy and condoning terrorism with trying to understand why it happened.

      Right after it happened, did you want to understand why we were attacked on 9/11? If so, I’m sure your doing so was not to condone the attack or express sympathy towards the terrorists.

      Why some make that leap here, confuses me.

      Whatever his reasons, it was not justified or should be condoned. I was just as interested in understanding the motivations for the 9/11 terrorists, Tim McVeigh and Ted Kaczcynski. Surely you and others who disagree with my interest to explore why this happened wouldn’t believe I was also justifying all of these terrorists too?

      With all respect, either I did a poor job of expressing my interest in understanding why this happened while still condemning it or others here are too quick to mistakenly equate that with condoning the actions of a terrorist.

      I find this absolutist sensibility, that we should

      • nellie says:

        With all respect back, AdLib — there is no reason — no reason of value, at any rate. There’s no sociological refuge for this kind of behavior. Especially when the man’s story is so spotty. Whether we’re talking about Al Qaeda, McVeigh, or any other group of people who think violence is the way to make a statement — we’re talking about people whose “reasons” are, in reality, excuses.

        We have so many other good examples on which to base our quest for the truth. I’d just as soon let this one go.

        • KQuark says:

          Exactly, to give even a tiny hint that this guys actions were noble in any way is wrong.

          Learning from it sure. Using it as a point why we should fight corporations no. There is reason enough to fight corrupt corporate influence in this country without using this guy as any kind of example in any way.

          I like you don’t believe this guys motives were pure for one minute. He sounded very well off compared to most of us.

          • nellie says:

            To tell the truth, K, I don’t even know what we’re supposed to learn from something like this. It’s happened before. It will happen again. That’s all I can learn.

        • kesmarn says:

          The thing is, nellie, the Joe Stacks of the world aren’t going to let us let it go. I think AdLib is (unfortunately) right in saying that we’re quite likely to see more of this sort of thing as conditions in some areas of society deteriorate.

          So when we try to sort out what part of his outrage is possibly justified and what part is just petulant self-pity, I think we’re doing valuable work. Not in trying to understand or excuse him. But in trying to reach a truer assessment of where we are as a society.

          • nellie says:

            I don’t mean we’re the ones making excuses. I mean these people — with their high handed speechifying — are making excuses for themselves.

            People like this will always exist. They will always find a reason to justify anger and violence. There’s no systematic way to address them. How could we address Tim McVeigh? We can’t.

            We can address people’s suffering. But we can’t address random anti social behavior.

            • kesmarn says:

              Do you feel this event was pretty much random? (Not being snarky, honest! Just sincerely interested.)

              Because I’m not entirely sure. While I don’t totally buy his I’m-an-innocent-victim-of-the-nefarious-IRS story, I do feel he raises other points about the total pressure-cooker that is the American culture/society at the moment, and the apparent indifference of many in government and business to human suffering, that do resonate with a broader spectrum. I fear we’re becoming a “Stack-incubator” of sorts.

              We have to find a way to release the pressure.

            • nellie says:

              Thanks, Kes. I appreciate that. I know that people suffer and sometimes act out because of it. But this doesn’t feel that way to me.

              And just one last thought — we don’t need an event like this to know what’s wrong. To know that people are having a tough time right now.

            • kesmarn says:

              I think I get where you’re coming from, nellie…that this was less a dramatic “statement” and more a gigantic tantrum?

              Guess we’ll learn more as the story unfolds over time.

              A tragedy, no matter how you look at it.

              Have to sign off for tonight…a fascinating discussion! Thanks to all.

            • nellie says:

              I’m very skeptical of this man’s “pressure.” If he can afford a private plane, a grand piano, if he makes enough money to owe $50,000 in back taxes.

              And even if he were under pressure, there are so many people under so much more pressure than this — who don’t take it out on others in a violent way. So much more has been endured by so many more people.

              I call it random because it’s unpredictable. It comes out of nowhere from people who seem to be just like the rest of us. But they’re not. He tried to murder his own family.

      • bitohistory says:

        I understand you are condemning his actions. I just cannot why/how you draw the two together. Your preface and the body of your argument do not jive for me.

        (I will give you a B+- on your argument) 🙂

      • Chernynkaya says:

        What happened there at the end, AdLib? Still with us, buddy? 😉

  21. boomer1949 says:

    There but for the grace of God goes anyone of us…

    A pier becomes much shorter when one feels defeated, helpless, and hopeless. None of us will ever know what was going on inside this man’s head, nor the last straw that pushed him over the edge. It doesn’t take much for the brain to misfire, throwing it into complete and utter chaos.

    I think most of us understand the statement one paycheck away from being homeless.

    Although I do not condone the way Mr. Stack chose to deal with issues in his life, I understand what it feels like to be one step away from a misfire and a very short pier.

    • AdLib says:

      Indeed, though all of us are horrified by what he did and can’t relate to the insanity that motivated it, we can relate to the moment of coming to the end of one’s pier.

      I’m sure many here have had desperate times in their lives, some more recently than others, when they felt like they were at the end of their emotional rope. Out of work, home being foreclosed, can’t afford the bills, serious health issues, to the point of looking over the edge of that pier and fearing falling in and being swallowed by despair.

      Thankfully, most folks have a support system of some kind and have the inner strength to endure. But some people don’t. At that point is where we lose the connection with such people, that is when they lose their minds and are capable of terrible things.

      However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t seek to understand the contributing factors that made them jump. Maybe learning that will make us stronger and help us to prevent others from jumping.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Well said, Boomer. As Kalima said, if you are going to commit suicide, there is no justification for taking anyone else with you. But I do understand suicide, and desperation.

      • PepeLepew says:

        That’s a real mitigating factor for me. There’s been some good discussion on the Mercy thread about the limits of empathy that’s kind of similar. I could feel sorry for this guy if he had just taken his airplane and crashed it in a field, but he made a deliberate attempt to kill others, and it sounds like it’s just luck he didn’t kill 20, 30 people or more. That’s where whatever empathy I might be able to dredge up stops.

        • boomer1949 says:

          Not if he were irrational, emotionally unstable, and feeling desperate.

          I’ve been very close to the edge of the pier, almost ready to jump. However, and for what ever reason, I was cognizant enough to call my doctor the day I had one foot stretched over the water. Fortunately, I was in his office less than 30 minutes later. It’s very scary to feel out-of-control, and had my doc and his staff not recognized the urgency, I might have jumped. Correction — would have.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Boomer-- been there too. Last year two of my women friends who were just a few years older than me killed themselves. One when her last state disability check came, the other, when she turned 65. Both were single women with no health insurance. I don’t know that I wouldn’t do the same in their situations. But I am so glad you were able to reach out, Boomer.

          • kesmarn says:

            boomer, good for you for making that phone call! All of us here are glad you did, I know.
            I think most all of us have had our moments of feeling that we’re losing it. I know I have. When I read about things that have happened when others have snapped, I think: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”
            This act of Stack’s looks all “planned out” and very consciously “chosen,” but there’s no way of knowing what horrible demons (in the figurative, not literal sense) he wrestled with as he made his deranged plans.

          • bitohistory says:

            boomer, my dear, I know that edge. Understood. ‘nough said. 🙁

          • SueInCa says:

            Well I am glad your doc listened.

  22. Kalima says:

    Although I understand that this man had lost his reasoning when he decided to set his own home ablaze before he crashed his plane into a federal building, I always wonder why potential suicides, decide it’s ok to take the lives of others before they take their own.

    I remember that not long after coming here after leaving a department store, I heard a commotion and later learned that a man had jumped from the 7th floor of the store, landing on an elderly couple walking below. That day saw 3 people dying unnecessarily because someone chose a public place to take their own lives. Should I chose to end my life, I would do it alone and in a way that would not require a clean up or a search in some remote woods out in the countryside. There must have been warning signs with this man that were missed, a tragic situation for all concerned.

    Supposing that everyone who had a beef with their government, decided to do the same thing?

    • KQuark says:

      I agree and it’s called anarchy.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Kalima, I heartily agree with your comments, but have a different take on your final sentence:

      Supposing that everyone who had a beef with their government, decided to do the same thing?

      Might that not be called a revolution?

      • Kalima says:

        It might be Cher but is it necessary in 2010 and is there not enough individual unrest in your country right now?

        I see “revolutions” as part of a growing 3rd world country’s way out, not a country that has always prided itself of being number one in the world, even though that is no longer strictly true.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Kalima, do you mean is a revolution necessary in 2010? If that’s what you mean, my answer is an emphatic maybe. It is not out of the question from my POV. But if you mean is violence necessary, my answer is probably not.It would be futile I believe, but all other forms are what may be necessary.

          • Kalima says:

            Yes, that is what I meant and is there ever a peaceful revolution, I don’t think the people of Iran would think so.

            Maybe everyone should start a massive, country wide protest strike, that’s how many things are settled in Europe.

            • bitohistory says:

              There are multiple reasons why nationwide strikes are difficult in the US. One being the Unions are much weaker. Two, due to laws and contractual agreements, “sympathy strikes” are very difficult. Three, workers are “job scared” right now.

              These are not justifications for me, I would “wobble”(slow down/stop work at a job site) in a heartbeat. And I did. 🙂

            • SueInCa says:

              Bito
              Boycotting would not involve the workers livelihood, unions or contractual agreements and if the word was spread, it can be very effective. Everyone has the right to boycott and it is pretty easy to do.

            • Kalima says:

              Yes bito I was also thinking about your unemployment figures and also the fact that companies might retaliate but I was still thinking about the word revolution that Cher and I were discussing earlier and this could be a non violent way of protesting while hitting the big knobs in their pocket books, where it will sting the most.

            • SueInCa says:

              I wonder, how do they arrange it? You know our MSM they would never cover it unless there was something in it for them, especially if it was the TV we were protesting.

            • Kalima says:

              Of course in the majority of protests labour unions are involved if it’s work related but in other cases I would imagine small groups of people with the same cause agreeing to march together on the same day. Again not impossible but would need dedicated people to lead and make it a reality.

            • SueInCa says:

              I agree with the massive strike idea. Some people say it would be difficult to do, but what if the first time 30,000 people did it, then the next time 200,000 did it, then it kept creeping up. Corp America would take heed because their bottom line would suffer. Maybe you do it once a month, then bi-weekly, then once a week. The aggregation would be substantial. Can you imagine if everyone in the US stopped buying food for one day? Including restaurants? It would make a big impact. It would not matter if you did not need food for that day because no one would be buying. All the grocery stores would be empty. That would raise some eyebrows.

            • Kalima says:

              That’s what I’m talking about Sue, make the corporations lose some of the only thing they care about, money.

              And yes, a day long boycott on buying anything would indeed send a clear message. It would be hard to organize, but not impossible. Humans are very resourceful and where there is a will, there is a way.

            • Kalima says:

              Yes I see that Cher, still a good crowd of protesters could have been filmed and put on youtube but agree with your last sentence about not having real leadership. That is such a shame and one of the reasons that nothing much changes because it gives the impression that people just don’t care enough

            • Chernynkaya says:

              While no revolution is completely peaceful, the one started by Gandhi came close; the one by Dr. King too.

              And I think your perspective as a European is something I need to remember-- massive strikes are a form of protest, short of revolution and useful! We have no experience with that here. That was a good point.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Kalima, the teabaggers are not a grassroots phenomenon; they are financed by several RW group who arrange the permits, pay for buses to transport them around, provide signs and provide other financial aid.

              Most important, they have Fox News to publicize and whip up enthusiasm on a 24/7 basis. We on the left have nothing approximating that level of organization.

              Additionally, several marches last summer that were PRO Public option were given no coverage by the media.

              So while I wish our side was more activist, we have no leadership.

            • Kalima says:

              If the Teabaggers can organize a protest in Washington, anyone can. I expected the Dems, Liberals and Progressives to do just that instead of complaining in the media or blogs, was disappointed when it didn’t happen.

    • AdLib says:

      Yes, my policy is to train people that if they are determined to commit a murder-suicide, start with yourself first then the rest will work itself out.

      This is the thing about insanity, it is not something we can understand emotionally. We can’t relate to it, it’s a foreign thing.

      Though people may at times imagine strangling their boss or smacking an annoying person of some kind, the concept of such brutal indifference towards another human being is difficult to fathom.

      So, if we seek to understand what happens in the world around us, especially regarding people who do things that are so unimaginable to us, we have no other way to explore it but intellectually.

      Or willingly ignore the ramifications which I worry could only come back to haunt us later.

      • Kalima says:

        I understand what you mean but do we really have the time to a analyze each and every selfish incident reported in the news and does the average person even care about the reasons some people need to destroy something or others to make a point, I don’t think so. Is understanding the reason going to change anything or stop people like Stark from doing the same, I don’t really think so either.

    • nellie says:

      Beautifully said, Kalima.

      • Kalima says:

        TY nellie. I look at it this way, this wasn’t an overnight decision by Stark, he knew what he was doing and why, he was also rational enough to start a fire at his home and then fly a plane all the way into a building which definitely earns him the name of domestic terrorist. Two people were injured and one person is missing, they have families and lives too.

  23. KQuark says:

    I agree with most of your post, especially trying to change the system with nonviolent activism, but in this statement you still build a relative moralistic strawman argument to justify his acts.

    Joe Stack may have committed a terrorist act by flying his plane into a building but what about the corporations who kamikazed into our state and local governments, the businesses we work for, our jobs and salaries, our home equity and life savings, our schools and hospitals, our police and fire departments and our life-sustaining health care? Who has truly conducted the most destructive terrorist attacks on the American people?

    I understand you expressly said you don’t justify these acts so I may sound like I’m being picky because it’s only one part of your post but this particular strawman argument would be exactly what you will read on teabaggers blogs to make this Stack asshole a hero.

    Frankly I don’t think you should have even tied together this violent act with non-violent activism whether or not they have the same goals in mind. Even though the ends are the same the means are so diametrically opposed that it’s not even part of the same argument in my opinion. Acts like these should be summarily condemned, period.

    But I’m probably in the minority because I’m sure I will see much stronger arguments justifying this act within the populist community on the right or left.

    • AdLib says:

      You miss my point.

      I connect Stack and the corporations to say, “If you are as outraged as you should be at Joe Stack committing an act of terror and destruction, you should be at least as outraged to consider how the corporations have also committed economic terrorism and yet they are rewarded for it.”

      I know that it is risky to go down this path and, not by you of course, be attacked as a “nut” because some people need the simplicity of bad and good and can’t conceive of the fact that the ultimate truth of a situation can lie behind “bad” guys as well as “good” guys.

      Truth doesn’t choose to reside behind bad or good people or events. It simply is where it is and sometimes, by being faithful to seeking it despite “bad” or “good”, one can be regarded negatively for not conforming to the shunning of exploration of truth behind “the bad”.

      But you know me quite well, that will never deter me in seeking the truth of a situation.

      • KQuark says:

        My outrage is different for what corporations do and
        what Stack did so I don’t see the moral equivalence.

        You make what I call a “but justification”. You lay out one bad act and balance it with one or more bad acts. That’s what morally equivalency is.

        I would not have taken exception at all with your statement at all if you did not set up this strawman. There is a difference with exploring reasons for his actions than to build a strawman argument like this.

        Like I said I put it in context to what you where stating as a whole and that’s why I agreed with most of what you said.. But if you did not mean to include an argument building a strawman and without showing any moral equivalency you did not do a great job.

        • AdLib says:

          A comparison is not automatically a straw man.

          People often compare a bank robber getting 20 years in prison for stealing $5,000 with a white collar crook stealing millions and getting off the hook or probation.

          That is not a straw man. It is pointing out how an individual committing a crime is treated far more harshly than a corporation committing a more profound crime.

          How many people have died over the last year because the corporations have had the Senators and Congresspeople they own prevent it from passing? How are they not responsible for the thousands of deaths that resulted?

          When they destroyed the economy, businesses, jobs, caused foreclosures and people being homeless, destroyed people’s nest eggs…all because of their greed, how is that not criminal behavior?

          I was equating wanton destruction for ideological reasons between two parties who exhibited such and saying that both should be condemned as terrorists.

          • KQuark says:

            I know you are not going to listen to my arguments but I’m saying the comparison was not appropriate in this case. You had a strong argument and did not need to create this strawman.

            Read the wiki definition of strawman sometime. Impling that corporations are “kamikazes” and “terrorists” is exactly the fallacy you are trying to use to create your argument. Now if you want to prove they are “kamikazes” or “terrorists” that’s a different story, even though I think you could make a better case that they are “cannibals” and “parasites”. As you know the movie the corporation did an excellent job making their arguments that they “behaved” like psychopaths.

            It does not mean I’m defending corporations. I’m just saying this act and what corporations do are completely different even if they are both criminal and treated differently.

            If your intent was to invoke an emotional response, yeah that is usually the intent of a strawman argument as well.

  24. Chernynkaya says:

    AdLib, I know you are not in any way condoning what Joe Stack did, any more than you condone the 9/11 attack. They both were acts that killed (or potentially killed) innocents. But your post is courageous almost to the point of heresy and I applaud you for that. It is a very difficult thing to do

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks Cher!

      I do think that if we value the truth more than political correctness, we should not hesitate to recognize that even the most terrible people can reflect something that is true.

      Truth is not the possession of any party, religion, race or individual. Truth stands on its own and can stand behind great human beings or the worst.

      If one is dedicated to truth, one looks past the “taint” that others may connect with the truth due to its source.

      Joe Stack was a mentally ill criminal. Period. Not a hero or a martyr.

      Because he despised government as being controlled by corporations, should we then abandon that opinion because a mentally ill criminal shared it?

      Should we refuse to consider what drove him to this act of terrorism and in turn set ourselves up as potential victims of the next Joe Stack?

      Or should we consider what would drive him and others to commit such acts and what we might be able to do to prevent the next one?

      What bewilders me is that after 9/11, all everyone could say is, “Why do they hate us?”. Then, when people tried to explain that the history of American government and corporate support of the exploitation and oppression of Arabs was at the root, people were offended. Still, there was a focus after that on trying to change the perception that was inspiring terrorism and hopefully get them to see us as “friends”.

      This is the same situation. An engineer loses his mind and flies a plane into a building and I ask, “Why?” I want to understand what’s going on because if Americans who have lived mostly productive lives can become suicidal terrorists, that is a phenomenon that we should understand and undercut.

      I don’t think it is wise to ignore the underlying causes of something like this because it is not thinking ahead, when there is something on a much larger scale or involving many collaborators, only then will people say “Something has to be done to prevent more of these attacks!” but of course, by then, it will be too late for the latest victims.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        It is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful to ask ourselves the most difficult questions, but I think we have to. It doesn’t mean we will learn all the answers to these conundrums necessarily, but I really do believe we will learn something.

        The questions you ask about Joe Stack’s motivation have to be asked, just as I want to understand what made the Ft Hood shooter do what he did. Two different men, different backgrounds, but both professionals in their fields, functioning and seemingly “normal.” And both committing irrational and heinous acts of terrorism. To ask why is not to excuse them, but to learn if they were preventable or even if there was any rationale behind them.

        • AdLib says:

          Precisely! To try and understand something is not to condone it.

          Here in Los Angeles is The Holocaust Museum, it is a wrenching but powerfully enlightening place to learn a lot about what transpired.

          They and entities like the Simon Wiesenthal Center have invested a great deal of time, energy and resources investigating and studying one of the most horrific people and events in our history, seeking truths about what happened to share them…so it will happen “never again”.

          Shunning a search for truth because it involves someone or something that should be condemned is counter-productive in trying to stop it from happening again.

      • nellie says:

        There’s nothing “politically correct” about my pov. It’s my take. Nothing more, nothing less.

        • AdLib says:

          I respect that, wasn’t calling you politically correct.

          My point is that I think it is more important to understand this situation than to condemn him and just close the book.

          If there are more potential Joe Stacks out there, isn’t it most constructive to understand what’s “creating” them and try to curb that if possible?

          This is what a majority of Americans felt after 9/11 with foreign terrorists, we wanted to understand why they hated and defuse it. That is actually the best tool in preventing terrorism, getting to people before they become terrorists and trying to address what would otherwise push them into it.

          Shouldn’t we apply the same strategy to domestic terrorism?

          • nellie says:

            I think of this man the same way I think of the Oklahoma City Bomber. I don’t know what we do about people like Timothy McVeigh.

            It seems to me this is another angry/unstable person who has been incited by right wing rhetoric about taxes and the government.

            I find his writing incoherent at best, and his description of his own situation very suspect.

            I would rather use a different person and a different situation as a springboard for talking about activism.

            • AdLib says:

              I saw this article as examining the issue of resentment of our failing government and democracy.

              Recognizing how some respond in a destructive way, condemning it, then pivoting to say that addressing these same issues in a constructive way is the best path forward.

              However one may discount what he expressed, the unpleasant truth is that it echoed what many across a wide political spectrum are expressing.

              I think that it is most appropriate to view this in terms of how destructive people can be when feeling pushed into a corner and how the same feelings are best channeled into constructive action.

            • nellie says:

              To me Stark = McVeigh. I really can’t see any more to it than that. Except perhaps that now the Teabaggers have a Bill O’Reilly-type notch on their belts.

            • bitohistory says:

              Was not Ted K and his rage against the Scientific Machine, the same “justification?” Did he not think that his individuality was being stolen? That we are being placed as nothing but cogs?

              Did Joe Stack consider himself blameless because he was not treated as an individual?

              While I do understand the many aspects of the situation, I am having a difficult time justifying his actions “because of the Government/Corporations.”

            • AdLib says:

              As Cher said, there seems to be a confusion between the actions of trying to understand the motivations of someone and justifying them.

              We tried to understand the motivations of the 9/11 terrorists after their attack but we were not trying to justify their actions, just understand and hope that doing so may give us insights to helping prevent a repeat.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Bito, no one is justifying his actions. I think some of us are just trying to both understand why he would do this, and to see if he was merely a nut or if he had some grievance, even if what he did is unjustified. Does that make sense?

  25. Blues Tiger says:

    Great post…

    I am real close to burning my voter registration card in protest and go about influencing what good I can in this universe and seek viable solutions to what I am passionate about making better outside the ballot box…

    “This is the one and only thing that the wealthy and corporations fear. That we will come together in numbers to oppose their rule. They know that is the only way they can be defeated and that they simply can

  26. nellie says:

    I have a totally different take.

    This man had been trying to evade his taxes for years. He joined an anti tax group that gave him bad advice, and he ended up having to pay what he owed.

    He continued to try to evade his taxes. I don’t like tax evaders. I think our tax code needs to be revised, but I’m not a government hater. I like government.

    This guy set his house on fire while his wife and daughter were inside.

    He flew his private plane — notice he has the income to afford a private plane and a grand piano — into an occupied office building.

    This is no hero in my book.

    And I have absolutely no desire to be associated with this man or his actions in any way.

    • escribacat says:

      Ditto that. No sympathy whatsoever.

      EDIT: As a matter of principle, I did not read this guy’s manifesto past the first few paragraphs. For the same reason I did not read the Unabomber’s manifesto. What they want is for millions of people to read their words and consider them and discuss them. The way they go about getting what they want is to murder other people. I will not comply.

    • AdLib says:

      I don’t know how much clearer I could have been about this man NOT being a hero or a martyr. He was a mentally ill person who committed a terrorist act.

      I never expressed any sentiment saying I or anyone should be connected to him or his actions.

      Additionally, I don’t think the best way to fully understand a situation like this is to quickly dismiss it all as a tax evader nut and turn the page.

      There are more and more events of domestic terrorism. We can simply regard it as a coincidence of unconnected isolated incidents that deserve no further consideration or we could seek to understand a pattern of events that are occurring in our society, what they may be related to and try to address the cause.

      I’m not happy to say this but I think it’s more likely that we will see more and more such acts of domestic terrorism by unhinged individuals.

      I certainly don’t want to be in a post office, the DMV or an IRS building when the next anti-government attack occurs.

    • javaz says:

      No, Joe Stack is not a hero, but he did write a manifesto that contains portions that many of us agree.

      Not sure he was purely anti-tax, but he was definitely angry that there are provisions in the tax code that did not give him the same tax benefits that corporations and churches receive.

      He felt because he was in a technical field and had a business as a private engineering consultant that he paid more in taxes than corporations.

      Imo, his manifesto alludes to the fact that there is a conspiracy, for lack of a better word, of some kind that prevents certain individuals in certain fields from competing with corporations.

      The same type of disparity in tax laws and protections have been consistent in the automotive industry for years.

      Example -- The Tucker Sedan -- several Tucker ‘futuristic’ innovations have been implemented in cars since the Big 3 pushed Tucker out of production and into bankruptcy.

      After giving a speech to the jurors on how capitalism in the United States is harmed by efforts of large corporations against small entrepreneurs like himself, Tucker is acquitted on all charges. Nevertheless, Tucker’s company falls into bankruptcy and Preston Tucker succumbs to a heart attack seven years later, never able to realize his dream.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tucker:_The_Man_and_His_Dream

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Tucker

      Many of us, believe that our government including SCOTUS is corrupt and our system is broken in that it favors the top 1% of the country.

      From David DeGraw’s report, “The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA” :

      The Economic Elite have escalated their attack on U.S. workers over the past few years; however, this attack began to build intensity in the 1970s. In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Due to technological advancements, production and profit levels exploded from 1970 -- 2000. With the lion’s share of increased profits going to the CEO’s, this pay ratio dramatically rose to $90 for CEOs to $1 for the average worker.

      As ridiculous as that seems, an in-depth study in 2004 on the explosion of CEO pay revealed that, including stock options and other benefits, CEO pay is more accurately $500 to $1.

      As mentioned before, just look at the first full year of the crisis when workers lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion, which is more than the combined net worth of 50% of the US population. Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.

      Meanwhile, 2009 was a record-breaking year for Wall Street bonuses, as firms issued $150 billion to their executives. 100% of these bonuses are a direct result of our tax dollars, so if we used this money to create jobs, instead of giving them to a handful of top executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million people.

      So while US workers are now working more hours and have become dramatically more productive and profitable, our pay is actually declining and all the dramatic increases in wealth are going straight into the pockets of the Economic Elite.

      http://www.alternet.org/economy/145705/the_richest_1%25_have_captured_america%27s_wealth_--_what%27s_it_going_to_take_to_get_it_back

      No, Joe Stack is not a hero, but he was a man that expressed the very things many of us feel is wrong with our country.

      It’s a shame that he chose the wrong way in making change and as AdLib states above, many more might possibly follow in his path of needless destruction because they feel ignored by our elected reps and powerless to fight corporate influence and greed.

      • AdLib says:

        I have a huge soft spot for Tucker. What he went through was the reality of American Capitalism rearing its head very visibly.

        Capitalism is not a fair system, it is more the law of the jungle…where the lions can be bought off with campaign contributions.

      • KQuark says:

        So the fuck what? Most of us can write what we don’t like about this country much more eloquently without flying a fucking plane into a government building.

        • AdLib says:

          KQ, chill a bit, javaz was expressing her POV as you are yours and all deserve respect.

          I don’t think your response is fair, javaz never condoned what he did, neither did I yet others keep ascribing this to anyone who dares consider what drove him to his act.

          I appreciate your outrage at this man’s act and I share it.

          Yet, for me and some others here, we can view this domestic terrorist as we did those who committed 9/11 by wanting to understand their motivations and honestly identifying those complaints that are valid…while still condemning the actions.

          Though we all categorically condemn Al Qaeda, are their claims of responding to American intervention in the Middle East that has propped up tyrannical governments to assure oil, etc. falsehoods because we condemn them? Can we accept any validity to their resentment of America even though we can all agree that they are hateful terrorists?

          Is it possible that the complaints about corporatism and failing democracy contributed to his becoming a terrorist?

          If so, wouldn’t that raise bigger issues if many, possibly a majority of the public shared those complaints? Might more unstable people be driven in this direction?

          Isn’t it legitimate to seek the truth here? Must one ignore any legit complaint because it is coming from a terrorist? What is to be gained by not seeking the truth?

          This is where I and some others are coming from. We are seeking to explore what led up to this and that has engendered criticism of us which I feel is unfair.

          • Chernynkaya says:

            Co-sign all that, and a couple of thoughts come to mind:

            “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Now, that’s a tricky one, but let’s be honest-- there is some truth in that statement. Palestinians bombing cafes is a terrorist act in my book, but I can also recognize why others think not, and I can also recognize why they feel that is their only recourse. The IRA is a terrorist organization too, but there is also opinion that their cause was just. I think once causes are recognized they can be corrected--or not as the case may be.

            The other phrase that came to mind is: “Some rob you with a shotgun, some with a fountain pen.” Is that moral relativism? I don’t think so-- it was from a folk song from the 30’s, when banks were foreclosing farms right and left. People saw bank robbers as Robin Hoods.

            I just think this is more complicated than others do. And that doesn’t mean I agree with the reasons people commit these acts. I am better off knowing why Dr. Tiller was murdered--at least why his murderer truly felt he needed to be murdered on moral grounds-- than not knowing and dismissing that guy as a crazy. And I have to say, that’s hard to look at.

      • bitohistory says:

        The quandary of being right and doing the wrong thing.

      • nellie says:

        I really don’t see him that way at all. I see him as someone using manifesto type language — which we have seen in other situations like this — to justify himself.

        I cannot associate myself with anything about this guy.


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