Joseph Stack, I feel my right nostril twitch slightly upwards, pulling that side of my face into a sneer of disgust and unforgiving anger. This is the man who, on the morning of February 18th, 2010, set fire to the house where he lived with his family and then proceeded to fly his airplane into an office building in Northwest Austin, the city that I call home. Since then, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll think about him at least twice a day, as I pass very close to the crash site on my commute to and from work. As of this writing, the access road that passes by the devastated building is still closed.
I saw the news first on Twitter just minutes after it happened, before it was clear that it was a purposeful act against a pre-determined target. I felt a twinge of recognition when I realized that the crash had taken place right down the road from my office, from the very spot where I was standing. Pretty soon, the entire office was abuzz, gathered around monitors with news sites pulled up, messaging links to one another, shouting out updates over cubicle walls. It was not unlike the atmosphere that followed the collisions of two other planes into two other buildings a little over eight years ago.
I can find nothing in the coward Joseph Stack’s actions or motivations that elicits anything even close to sympathy within me. I don’t care about his stupid tax problems or his frustrations with the government. Whatever issues he was having with them, whatever wrongs he felt he had endured, whatever pissy little grievances he had, I consider them all completely irrelevant to the conversation surrounding what he did. I’m sick to death of hearing and reading comments that start off with something like “Well, I don’t think it’s right to go flying airplanes into buildings, BUT...” and then go on to list the ways that the commenter agrees with the coward Joseph Stack. As far as I’m concerned, the coward Joseph Stack made no statement. He put forth no argument. The coward Joseph Stack committed no less than an act of terrorism and murder. Beyond that, one could argue that he committed an attack against his very own family, as he not only burned down the house where they lived, but did so while they were home. Whatever legitimate points he may have had to make during his lifetime, they all went up in smoke along with his charred corpse.
I don’t often write about current events, as I figure the news and other commentators have that pretty well covered, but I can’t seem to stop thinking about this one. This would have been a tragedy no matter where in the world it occurred, but it happened here, and in all honesty, I don’t remember ever being this pissed off about any other such senseless act of violence. How dare the coward Joseph Stack blast this horrid event into my town’s history? How dare he paint himself as some kind of victim? How dare he commit his murder in such a way as to ensure that he wouldn’t have to be around to be held accountable for it? How dare he bring an end to even a single life?
And besides all that, the fact that he even owned a house to burn down and a plane to crash, yet still felt like he was some kind of down-trodden victim, well it just makes me wish I could kick him in the face.