City of Brass

City of Brass

plane crash in Austin

In Austin, a man has deliberately crashed his private plane into an office building. Thankfully, no one has yet been reported killed, though there are people injured – details are still coming in and we probably won’t know the full extent until tomorrow.

The man, Joseph Andrew Stack, also left a suicide note online in which he rages against capitalism, taxes, and oppression by the federal government, and calls other like-minded citizens to do likewise:


I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are.


This is rhetoric straight out of V for Vendetta. It’s tempting to label it “terrorism” but Stack was clearly trying to “inspire” people to anarchy and revolution rather than scare them. It’s pathetic and cowardly, not heroic as he obviously imagined. It’s also important not to rush to judgement and tar an entire political movement, however much we disagree with it, with this lone monster’s actions. To be blunt, there’s no evidence at all that Stack was a member of or even sympathetic to the Tea Party movement. If however such evidence does arise then we will have to discuss that frankly and openly.

Here is the photo gallery of the damage. This is horrible news and a genuine tragedy for the city of Austin. Please keep the victims in your prayers.

  • hlvanburen

    I’m sorry, but this is every bit as much an act of terror as the events of 9-11. The only differences are..
    1) The scope of the tragedy
    2) The nationality/race/religion of the terrorist(s)
    3) The nationality/race/religion of the apologists for the terrorist(s)
    My only question is this…where are the calls for the leaders of the 9-12 movement to denounce the actions of this terrorist?

  • Derek

    ‘It’s tempting to label it “terrorism” but Stack was clearly trying to ‘inspire’ people to anarchy and revolution rather than scare them.”
    Are you suggesting that the men flying planes into the WTC weren’t trying to “inspire” jihad and a revolution against the “Western powers”?
    Are you really suggesting that Mr. Stack didn’t want to scare anyone?
    Mutually exclusive, those two conditions are not.

  • Derek

    Let me clarify. I realize that my attempts at subtlety often get misconstrued.
    The men who flew the planes on 9/11 were very much hoping to inspire others. That doesn’t make the destruction of the WTC any less an act of terrorism.
    And I think it’s pretty clear from Mr. Stack’s letter that he hopes the representatives of the government will be scared – if not of him, then of the future.

  • hlvanburen

    It has been an interesting afternoon touring the right-wing blogosphere and reading how they attempt to disavow any connection between this terrorist and the screed we hear so frequently from the Tea Baggers, 9-12ers, and this faux-populist movement sputtering on the right. Yet in all of those blogs I have yet to read a clear, unequivocal condemnation of the attack.
    Thankfully, at least at this point, only the terrorist appears to have died in this incident. Hopefully that will hold as they continue searching the building for victims.

  • Fred

    “To be blunt, there’s no evidence at all that Stack was a member of or even sympathetic to the Tea Party movement.”
    There is also no evidence at all that Stack was a member or even sympathetic to a larger group of disgruntled software engineers. But if evidence should arise supporting that case or anything else then would be the time to mention the possibility. Otherwise why would anyone even mention it?

  • Alicia

    Aziz, I disagree that this was not terrorism. I think this was an act of anti-government terrorism. The idea that lone individuals, acting alone, can’t be terrorists I think is wrong. Granted that may not have the same strategic political purpose as other forms of terror. Stack may have been trying to inspire similar acts of anti-government terror, but in my opinion he was also trying to terrorize government workers, and chill the public.
    You may be right about “V for Vendetta.” I never saw it because I heard that it was an apology for terrorism.

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    these were my initial impressions and thoughts from yesterday. I am still thinking about this and will post later on how/whether my thoughts are evolving.
    I will note that if you didnt see V for Vendetta because you thought it was an apology for terrorism, you were bamboozled. The movie was a very honest attempt to – for once – have a genuine debate about what terrorism actually is. This will factor into my posts upcoming but for now, see these about the movie:,8599,1172195,00.html

  • Alicia

    Thank you, Aziz. I will add it to my Netflix queue.

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    no problem, and Im honored you’re taking my word for it. If you want to write a review of it, in the context of defining terrorism, i would be interested in running it as a guest post.

  • Robert

    Clearly, this was an act of domestic terrorism, a tax revolt inspired by Sarah Palin. It’s as simple as that. Sarah Palin is just as guilty here as bin Laden was of 9/11.

  • Alicia

    Thank you, Aziz. I might just take you up on that!

  • theriverratist

    i just read this mans letter and it evoked many feelings. one thing violence brings more violence “you can not appeasse hate with hate” since to most the self is most important we must respect ones self. i did not watch v for vendetta i was most likely in a jail, institution, or dead (high) oh my! by that time i realized childrens dreams (sometimes) dont come true.ive posted several times all is simple (+)(-)but we manipulate to our own needs/greeds we must realize the consequences of our karmaic actions “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” can work,but we have to work it,right.people do all things and i believe our Gods will is for us to have our own. how else can these things happen. i get in “trouble” for smoking a plant that has been here before us and will be here after us , that we ourselves can not make and is part of this power of life. just because some people do not like it or say its bad i really dont know why. i cant stand cigarettes. do here we, many of us go inti a system that does not get to the underlying truth of things, just points ,decides ,one thing for sure ive never made a living by screwing other people or learning to manipulate a system and take advantage of it thats why id rather stay high ,dead till i die maybe then well find out why but for know things are the way thay are because weve made it that way and were not doing it any other way theres only the present ,will our present be over someday? its a crazy present ,did i agree to it? we agreed? i dont know

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  • Alicia

    Following up on my previous comments, I would like to associate myself with Andrew Sullivan’s take on this incident (see link and excerpt below):
    “Fox News described the Fort Hood shootings as an act of terrorism, but did not describe the assassination of Dr George Tiller as an act of terrorism…
    Terrorism is terrorism whoever does it. Just as I oppose affirmative action and hate crime laws, which make specious distinction on the basis of race and other characteristics, so I oppose making any distinction on those grounds when describing terrorism. That, I think, is a conservative position. And Fox News is not a conservative news organization. It is, in many ways, a racist and xenophobic one whose double standards are a result of pure prejudice not reason.”

  • Teed Rockwell

    It is, of course, unfair to blame the Tea party groups and Sarah Palin for this act–exactly as unfair as blaming all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks. And yet at least one prominent conservative refused to denounce the Austin attacks. According to NYTimes columnist Gail Collins:
    “Scott Brown… the new senator from Massachusetts was asked on Fox News about the I.R.S. office attack, he appeared to embrace the possibility that the pilot of the plane might have been one of his followers.
    ‘And I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense, not only in my election but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated,” he said. ‘They want transparency.'”
    If a Muslim Imam had made this kind of statement about 9/11, he probably would have been Jailed.

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    I think that Stack just never learned how to deal with adversity. And he never really explored all options open to him. Some of the things he was doing were clearly illegal.

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