Don’t use the Austin plane crash for political smearing

Posted on February 18, 2010


The big news today is the deliberate crash of a small plane into an IRS building in Austin, TX where 200 people worked. The pilot, Joseph Black, was upset with taxes, among other things, and appears to have left a lengthy suicide note/manifesto that we assume is authentic. Black was quite obviously a nutcase, yet the nature of his grievances is already being seized on to smear conservatives and Tea Partiers with a bloody brush.

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart joins commenters at Daily Kos and Democrat Underground slamming Black’s actions as indicative of all those “teabaggers.” Capehart’s exact words:

Joseph Stack was angry at the Internal Revenue Service, and he took his rage out on it by slamming his single-engine plane into the Echelon Building in Austin, Texas. We now know this thanks to the rather clear (as rants go) suicide note Stack left behind. There’s no information yet on whether he was involved in any anti-government groups or whether he was a lone wolf. But after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we’re hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.

You might be tempted to argue that conservatives are being too sensitive about comments like this. The problem is that we saw the same pattern of “smear the right” after a disgruntled Pittsburgh that had left some epithets about President Obama killed four police officers last year. We saw it again when an anti-abortion extremist killed partial-birth abortion doctor George Tiller. We’re seeing it again now, in the pages of the Washington Post, no less.

I don’t know how many times I have to screech about this – politics serves no purpose in tragedies like this, period. Just as it’s not really fair to point out the “Obama obsession” of the “extreme left-wing” Alabama-Huntsville professor who shot three of her colleagues, it’s utterly ridiculous to suggest an entire movement or way of political thought delights in murder. Liberals may get some jollies by comparing murderers to those that disagree with them on political matters, but it’s enormously divisive and incredibly unfair. Nobody sane on the right or in the Tea Party movement endorses this homicidal BS, and no one that thinks this kind of thing is a good idea has any real influence on anything of substance on the right. Anybody who tells you otherwise is just stirring up the pot for some dishonest kicks.

But you know what’s even more frustrating? The same people who are comparing Black to Tea Partiers are conveniently forgetting the parts of his manifesto where he rails against President Bush, vents his frustration about healthcare, and ends by writing this (via Allahpundit):

Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)


Those Tea Partiers sure do hate capitalism, don’t they? Wait …

Let’s allow the adults to analyze the Austin tragedy and leave the juvenile political sniping out of it. People of all stripes and creeds should be able to recognize that Joseph Black was a sicko that didn’t speak for anybody but himself, and we ought to be able to leave it at that. If we lived in a mature society, anyway.

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Posted in: News, Politics