Anti-IRS Domestic Terrorist Suicide Attack Time for Moral Clarity

So today we have the sad story of a frustrated nutcase named Joseph Stack who committed suicide by flying his plane into an Austin, TX, building that houses some IRS offices — after leaving behind a rambling manifesto. Hopefully a singular outlier, and not an inspiration or the start of a trend in these trying economic times.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit deconstructs Washington Post contributor Jonathan Capehart’s column, which insinuates some sort of connection with the Tea Party movement and omits key passages and phrases that show the suicide attacker was anything but a lockstep Right-winger.

Closer to home, we have John Tomasic at the Colorado Independent. To his credit, Tomasic notes that Stack “was not right or left.” But then he somehow feels impelled to add that he “may or may not have been a Tea Partier.” (What if I also observed that he may or may not have been a supporter of

To me, though, that pales next to the central argument Tomasic tries to make:

Although everyone can see the relationship between Stack’s actions and those of the 9/11 terrorists, his motivations are also reminiscent of those of the 9/11 terroists [sic], even though those motivations seemed to elude Americans for so long. Stack railed against corporate greed and our related dysfunctional democracy….

Joseph Andrew Stack was a terrorist. Like other terrorists and would-be terrorists, he didn’t hate our freedoms; he wanted more of them.

On this point we agree: By all accounts and evidence, the man who committed this atrocious attack today and took his own life is neither a man of the Left nor of the Right, but a deranged and cowardly domestic terrorist. Now is not the time to try and score cheap political points. But let me go further and observe that today’s violent act also provides an occasion to gather some moral clarity.

From everything I’ve read, I can’t say that railing against corporate greed or dysfunctional American democracy was anywhere near the top of the list of 9/11’s Islamofascist al-Qaeda killers. There are very important distinctions to be made relative to the respective motivations, distinctions which appear to have eluded Tomasic. A good place to start would be to read The Looming Tower.

And for everyone else out there, let’s just say it up front one more time: the domestic terrorist suicide attack doesn’t tell us anything about any political party or mainstream movement. Let’s just hope and pray it doesn’t lead to further attacks.


  1. kevinallen says

    Thank you Ben, for pointing out a common sense approach to this tragedy. I’m stunned by the attempts to paint this man in any political light, and to say 9/11 was motivated by corporate greed etc? Weird.
    Non-Violence is the answer when fighting any form of evil, non-violence and non-compliance. I encourage anyone who wants to change a perceived evil to read Dr. MLK Jr’s autobiography, and then read it again, and then give it to a friend.

  2. says

    Thanks, Kevin. The more I think about this post, the only thing I might change is the reference to the man as a “domestic terrorist” — especially not without giving it a clear definition. But I’m glad you appreciated the point I attempted to make.

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