The “Madman” in Austin
The media was quick in its assessment: Joe Stack was a “madman” not a “terrorist”. As far as I know, no one has produced evidence that Stack was receiving medical care or had been locked up even on a 24 hour hold1 .The real evidence suggests that he knew exactly what he was doing and he had been inspired by the political rhetoric of the extreme
Let’s take a moment to evaluate just what motivated Stack. Stack moved against a government institution. He and those who support him believe themselves to be attacking “tyranny”. But what is the reality? They lost the 2008 election. A fair vote was taken and the result was the People of the United States chose a president other than the one they wanted. They are sore losers. Knowing full well what they are up to, they have done their best to bring the country down by disrupting free discussion of the issues, threatening the president, and now cheering this assault on the people who collect the taxes we all pay to keep the nation together. They say that they are patriots but they threaten the United States by their action. Most importantly, they understand what they are doing and move purposefully towards their fetid goals2 They move to frighten those who differ from them, to hold the country hostage so independents will join them not out of conviction but out of fright, and destroy the country. Intimidate and destroy is their modus operandi. The word for anyone who engages in this behavior is not madmen or mentally ill, but terrorist.
The best way to confront them is to simply state “Not in my nation.” And to press the media to use the term terrorist without partisanship. If I start threatening these people with violence or if I bomb their homes and offices, you may call me a terrorist, too. But look hard: I doubt you will be able to find a context in which I am guilty of such expressions.
UPDATE (2/24/2010): Happen to notice that the press is not talking about the victim, Vernon Hunter? Not only is it suspicious because Hunter was black (and a real hero, unlike Stark) but also because it dehumanizes federal. employees by making them faceless.