What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.
-Thomas Jefferson, 1787
By now most people have heard about Joseph Stack's suicide attack on an Austin, Texas, building housing an IRS office. He hates corporations, but he also hates the government. Trying to place him in our outdated left-right spectrum results in something comparable to a division by zero error on a computer. Still, some people are trying to figure out if he is a liberal or conservative. After having a "conservative" Republican president who spent like he could create money with the snap of his fingers (oh... wait) and a "liberal" Democratic president who bails out corporations, I thought people would have started to realize how stupid the left-right model really is.
Fox News' big headline is "Crime or Terror? Questions Over Why Attack on IRS Isn't Domestic Terror." In the article itself they quote Austin police chief Art Acevedo as saying "I call it a cowardly, criminal act, and there was no excuse for it."
While I am of the opinion that his arson attack on his house and his attempted murder of his wife and children was a cowardly, criminal attack, his suicide attack on the IRS was neither cowardly, nor criminal. In America, we often accuse so-called terrorists - especially suicide attackers - of being cowardly, but they really are not (Bill Maher and Dinesh D'Souza discussed this on Maher's show shortly after the 9/11 attacks). Joseph Stack was not afraid to die to send his message and he died with his victims. He was a hell of a lot more brave than an AC-130 gunner or a B-2 pilot killing their victims from far above them without any real danger to themselves.
As for labeling his attack on the IRS terrorist, that term does not apply to him. He was not trying to terrorize the civilian population, he was sending a message to the tax collectors of the largest government on earth. And anyways, the word "terrorist" has basically come to refer to the weaker side of any 4GW conflict. Terrorism is committed not just by individuals and non-state actors, but by governments, as well. The powers that be will never refer to the Dresden firebombing, the Waco massacre, the bombing of Serbia, or the war in Iraq as terrorism, yet state terrorism has killed more people than domestic terrorists and Islamic terrorists ever will.
As mentioned above, I believe his attempted murder of his wife and children was a criminal act, but his attack on the IRS was not. He was not the criminal, that role belongs to the IRS, the largest gang of racketeers in history. The IRS destroys people's lives, families, businesses, prosperity, and future so the federal government can have money to redistribute to the underclass, bailout and subsidize big business, and bomb people thousands of miles away. In my opinion, Joseph Stack was like people who shoot burglars or robbers, only he took on a much larger and dangerous robber.
Some might respond, the IRS workers are just doing what they are required to do by law and, besides, they need to support their families somehow. "Just following orders" has never worked as a defense. People are ultimately responsible for their own actions. And the vast majority of people are able to support their families with productive (or at least non-destructive) jobs that do not involve stealing from others.
Joseph Stack was the newest individual in the long line of Americans who have watered the Tree of Liberty.