Thursday, February 18, 2010

Austin Plane Crash Attack

Well, crap. Some jackass got mad at the IRS (and, apparently, the federal government in general) and crashed a plane into an Austin office building today that houses, among other things, an IRS office. What an asshole.
Looking out of the courthouse windows this morning we could see smoke rising from a location farther to our north. People had turned on televisions and were watching local coverage of the whole thing.
As soon as I heard that the struck building contained federal offices, I told a few people that I suspected an attack. I knew it wasn't Al Qaeda or Middle Eastern terrorists, but I immediately suspected that one of these angry, homegrown, anti-government people to be involved. Working at the courthouse, it's not all that uncommon to get some of these anti-government activists, and they're usually both very angry and looking to find a way to send a message. It may turn out that this guy was simply angry about having to pay his taxes, but in my experience, there are a whole group of people out there who are just filled with seething fury over anything that they perceive to be a government intrusion into their lives. These are the sorts of people who see demons and monsters behind the faces of every government employee that they encounter (while these employees, of course, are mostly just trying to do their jobs to the best of their ability while hoping to maybe have some kind of positive impact upon the city, county, state, and/or federal entity for whom they work).
Ugggh. People are stupid. Do the rules work perfectly all of the time? No. Of course not. It's a big society that we live in with lots of different types of conflicting ideals and points of view. Sometimes the rules are unfairly manipulated. Other times people simply don't get what they want because they live in a society where other people don't share their views.
We live in a society of majority rule, where certain rights of the minority are protected as civil liberties. Increasingly, though, it seems like a lot of people just expect to be able to live in a society full of other people (accepting all of the benefits of such a living arrangement), but then they get really angry and feel violated when they're expected to follow the rules that govern a civilized society.
I'm tired of the temper tantrums from a bunch of naricissistic, entitled, self important Americans who think that things like being asked to pay the same taxes as their neighbors somehow makes them an oppressed minority with no rights.
We have a legal system for addressing wrongs and grievances. We have media outlets and the internet and freedom of speech and artistic expression and the right to assemble in protest and a hundred other ways that people can legitimately express dissatisfaction and try to bring about change. (sometimes we just start blogs where we can pour out our frustrations onto our poor, loyal readers)
But when people resort to violence as their chosen means of self expression, they're just acting like spoiled children.
So now CNN and the other news organizations have this guy's rambling, self pitying, anti-government, anti-establishment suicide note up on the internet. I actually read the thing. The guy is fairly articulate and sounds sort of intelligent, but his logic is warped to the point of being nonsensical. He uses big words, but in the end, his general argument is that he doesn't like a particular set of laws, so he doesn't think he should have to obey them. He's really just throwing a temper tantrum because of taxes- a spoiled brat who decided to hurt a bunch of other people who were trying to collect taxes that this guy was refusing to pay.
So this guy launched an attack against the citizens of my fair city because of some kind of tax debt? (which, by all accounts, could have been easily payed off by selling the plane that the guy used to crash into this building)
Arrrgh! What a jackhole!!!!


The League said...

I am so, so angry that this happened anywhere. In disbelief that it happened here.

In reading the pilot's letter, even when you could acknowledge his frustrations (yes, it often does seem things can seem stacked in favor of others), its a grim reminder of the futility of violence as a reaction/ solution.

Austin was incredibly lucky that for all the damage the pilot tried to do, the outcome seems contained to property damage.

I don't feel unsafe. I don't believe any new regulations would help anything, which I suspect will be the next question asked by the press. And to stick it to this guy, I'm totally filing my taxes this week.

J.S. said...

Yeah, I disagree pretty strongly with this guy on a lot of his points, but he was still entitled, of course, to feel however he wanted to feel. The main problem, of course, is the way that he chose to express his feelings. No matter what your point of view, when you decide to commit acts of violence against other people as a means of expressing your personal feelings or opinions, then you're absolutely in the wrong. It's one of those rare, bright line rules that doesn't really have any exceptions in my mind.
But in addition to that, and although this guy was fairly well spoken, I think he was still a nutjob. He touches on some things that we can all recognize as truths (the existence of social inequality and corruption and so forth), but then he rapidly devolves into trying to make it sound like every bad thing that's happened in recent history in this country was done specifically to hurt him. He seems to have a clear martyrdom complex. In addition, apparently the guy owned a plane and a couple of different properties, so, financially he was doing appreciably better than an awful lot of other people who have been devastated by the economic downturn and the actions of corporate America. No, I think this was just some jackass who thought he wasn't going to have to pay any taxes (because he listened to the screwball advice of some fringe lunatics who were claiming to have found a way to totally evade the tax code), and when he got caught failing to live up to his obligations, he freaked out and blew up a building. If people really don't think they should have to adhere to all of the same rules that the rest of us are following, then please, please feel free to just get the hell out of our communities. Don't leave angry- just leave.

The League said...

I did it. I did my taxes (Jamie has to do her part, but...).

Anyway, shut up, Joe Stack. You aren't a patriot, you're a selfish freak and murderer.

J.S. said...

And that may make you the first person in the history of the U.S. to get your taxes done early as a revenge mechanism! Hope you're getting a refund.

The League said...

Due to several misphaps in the late-90's, I now always overpay and always get a refund. That Jamie immediately takes away lest it be spent on funnybooks and gum.

J.S. said...

I think we all saw on Saturday night what happens when your wife tries to stop you from buying delicious treats. That Girl Scout really stirred up a hornet's nest with those cookies.