Sunday, February 21, 2010

Andrew Joseph "Joe" Stack III..."martyr" or "murderer"?

By now, I'm sure you've likely heard about the nutjob that crashed his single-engine prop plane into the tax office in Austin, TX. "Keep Austin Weird", right? I going to call him a "murderer", because he killed an IRS worker? Nope, and here's why...

In the 1940s, our own government set out to write what would become the first internationally-binding criminal statutes. This set of Ex Post Facto laws, known as the "London Charter", are what was used to prosecute not only the Nazi leadership but also lower-level Nazi party members. The reasoning was, essentially, that the Nazi party's various agencies that were responsible for these "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity", were actually "criminal organizations" in and of themselves...and the mere membership in these organizations was a criminal act. As such, every member of the organization was culpable for any act carried out by the organization if that act was committed by official policy of the organization. This is how men who simply guarded the gates of concentration camps were hanged for the atrocities committed within the camps, even though the gate guards were "just following orders" and had no actual hand in gassing anyone.

Fast-forward to 1970. Section 18, United States Code, was amended to include the Racketeering-Influenced Criminal Organizations (aka "RICO") statutes provided for by Section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act. Much the same as the London Charter had codified what constitutes a "criminal organization", the RICO law allows for prosecution in the presence of certain predicate offenses. What might have been a max penalty of 10 or 20 years can now be prosecuted with the possibility of a life sentence if the offender is found to have been a member of this "criminal organization".

Does the Internal Revenue Service meet the definition of a "criminal organization", according to the RICO law? Well, for starters, it is an "organization" (obviously, right?). Second, it is involved in systematic robbery, kidnapping, and even murder as an official policy of that organization!

Okay, so that last statement is open for debate, but let's look at it this way...suppose you get up and go to work Monday through Friday, at a specific wage. You get your paycheck every Friday afternoon, and go cash it. Ten minutes later, some crackhead hops out from behind a minivan and demands 1/3 of your paycheck as you're trying to get into your car to leave, all the while threatening to kidnap you if you do not comply. In the state of Texas (and many others), you're allowed to tell this crackhead to get lost...and if he attempts to make good on his threat to kidnap you, you're allowed to put one in his forehead.

However, since it is a government agency performing the robbery, it isn't considered "robbery" at all. That doesn't change the fact that a large portion of the wages YOU worked for were taken from you, under the threat of being kidnapped (the government likes to call it "confinement in federal prison"...oh, the semantics!), and these people are likely to murder you in the event that you should assert your right to your own property and not allow them to take it under the threat of force.

So yes, I consider the IRS to be a "criminal organization", as it robs American citizens every day by demanding tribute. Make no mistake, the "income tax" DOES NOT have anything to do with maintaining our infrastructure. Plenty of other taxes handle that stuff. It doesn't go into road-building, social security, et cetera. It goes to pay for entitlement programs and government salaries.

I don't know about you, but I personally disagree with a "War on Drugs", the notion that a congressman should have a taxpayer-funded aide for his taxpayer-funded aide, the welfare state, and about 95% of everything else our federal government pisses away our hard-earned wages on. On a daily basis, new programs are added when our government finds new and inventive ways to waste our money.

On top of this, the income tax has become even more of a violation of the "equal protection" amendment, as it does not apply to everyone individually. Obviously, we have a progressive-scale income tax rate in this country, in the sense that we use a "bracket system" that taxes a person at a higher rate when that person has a higher personal income. In addition to this, we also tax different people in the same tax brackets differently, according to the taxpayer's personal lifestyle.

The amount of interest paid on a student loan by the taxpayer, the number of children living in the taxpayer's household, the decision made by the taxpayer to go into debt by purchasing a new home or automobile, et cetera has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the taxpayer's income...and yet, the amount of income tax he is required to pay is different from another taxpayer with a different lifestyle.

For instance, I paid several thousand dollars more in income taxes last year than a coworker, even though that coworker had a far greater personal income than I did in that same time period. Why? Because that coworker has several children, and had several other deductions he was able to claim. I personally chose to not have children, and as a result, my government feels that I am responsible for paying for the "fair share" of the children of others.

I am not sure what Mr. Stack's issues with the IRS were the result of, for three reasons. Mr. Stack is dead, and did not detail these issues in his several-page-long suicide note. Mr. Stack's wife has not yet spoken to the press about these issues. The IRS refuses to disclose such information to the press.

However, I will say this...Mr. Stack was, in my mind, obviously not a "crazy sociopath". 31 years of life experience has told me that you don't have a wife, two children, a nice home, college degrees, and a private airplane when you're batshit crazy to the point where you're unable to function in normal society. Mr. Stack, in addition to working in private industry, also apparently had many professional relationships with various government entities he did engineering work for.

Last night, a friend asked me what I thought about this, and I said that I didn't condone it...but that I understood it. Then he asked me, if things were so horribly bad with the IRS, why couldn't Mr. Stack have simply left the country and set up shop somewhere that didn't have the ridiculous taxation we face here. My response was that, in all reality, he should never have had to. Mr. Stack was an American citizen. Texas was his home. He probably felt that a life without the home he knew was not a life worth living...which is, likely, why he decided to take his life.

Again, I certainly do not condone the actions of Andrew Joseph Stack III...but I definitely understand them. Mr. Ken Hunter, the son of the man who was killed, states "My dad, in that building, he didn't write the tax laws. If he would have talked to my dad, my dad would have helped him.” Doubtful, Mr. Hunter. Doubtful. Your father may not have written tax laws, but he damned sure helped with their enforcement...which, by extension, makes your father an accessory to robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Lest we forget, the IRS office Mr. Stack crashed into was not simply a place to drop off your 1040EZ forms. It housed the regional IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, which is the enforcement arm of the IRS. If the Internal Revenue Service is to be viewed as a "criminal enterprise", the office Mr. Stack flew his plane into could be said to house the IRS's "leg breakers". The Criminal Investigations Unit is the unit making sure that John Q. Taxpayer is forking over Big Brother's cut every time a paycheck gets cashed, "or else".

I'm not sure how high up Mr. Hunter was in this office, but he was in his late 60s and had been employed by the IRS for about 30 years...which leads me to believe that he wasn't exactly a secretary. If this is the case, he was undoubtedly involved in the prosecution of those who refused to be robbed by the government.

As such, Vernon Hunter was a robber. In Texas, you're allowed to kill people who attempt to rob you...provided they don't wear a government ID badge. Vernon Hunter's family will get no sympathy from me. Personally, I think this tax-collecting scumbag got his due.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should start chasing tax collectors with torches and pitchforks, nor should we just shoot them or crash airplanes into their offices. What I am saying is that every person who works for the IRS is working there voluntarily, and should fully expect animosity from those they steal from. Personally, I think I would rather spit on a tax collector, as opposed to shaking his hand...but that doesn't mean I'm going to kill him. If someone does shoot a tax collector, I won't shed any tears over it.

In order to maintain an honest living, a man has to work. In order to lawfully work in the United States of America, a man is forced to give a specific amount of his wages to the government, against his will. If you are willing to collaborate with robbers, thieves, kidnappers, and murderers (by seeking employment with the Internal Revenue Service), you are simply asking for whatever harm comes your way as a result of this activity.

No, I don't think this makes Andrew Joseph Stack III a "martyr", but I don't quite think it makes him a "murderer", either. He was just a man that had enough, and decided it was worth it to him, to end his life if Big Brother wasn't going to allow him to live free.

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