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Man angry at IRS crashes plane into Austin building

It's one thing to read about people who are angry at the tax code and the people who administer it.

It's another to see that anger manifest destructively in your town.

By now, I'm sure you've heard about the Austin man who, after years of reported tax problems, decided to take his life and apparently try to take down a local IRS office, too.

Joseph Stack flew his Piper Cherokee PA-28 into the office building that houses the Austin tax office. He's dead. Two people were injured, one suffering serious burns.

One person who works in the Northwest Austin building, an IRS revenue agent, is still unaccounted for as I type.

I know some of the IRS employees who worked there. I know people whose offices are in nearby buildings. I've been to meetings in the building that was hit today.

And as mad at Joe Stack was at the IRS, I am just as mad at him now.

I've read Stack's suicide note that he posted online before setting out on his final flight. That Web site has been taken down, but I'm sure copies are still floating around out there.

I'm not going to publish or even excerpt his lengthy diatribe against the tax code, IRS, politicians, accountants, organized religion, big business and countless other individuals and entities he saw as conspirators who wrecked his life. To do so would lend undeserved credence to his rantings.

The only thing in his note with which I can agree is that yes, the tax system is complex. But for an apparently educated person who said he early on decided to "take responsibility for my own future and myself" to then spend what looks to be his entire adult life blaming others is amazing and sad.

The only thing sadder is all those left in his self-destructive wake.


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I'm keeping these families in my prayers. I'm glad no more people were hurt. It happened so quickly.

Wes Masters

Horrible, shocking story. We work with a lot of nice people in the Austin IRS branch every tax season. I hope that they are all okay.


Well said. I am praying for my fellow employees in Austin.

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