By now it’s pretty obvious that Joe Stack intentionally flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, yesterday. He left a long suicide note on his website and set his house on fire.
Apparently some commentators and news organizations took a while before they labeled this as an act of terrorism. Some were cautious because they didn’t have all the facts; fair enough. Others probably held off because Mr. Stack didn’t fit the profile of a terrorist; he was white, American, and didn’t have an unpronounceable name.
And then, if you’re a newly-minted Republican senator from Massachusetts who campaigned against terrorism, you leaven your talking point with a sense of sympathy and understanding as to why Mr. Stack did what he did.
A lot of people are probably wondering — if not scrambling — to see if this outburst of paranoia and anti-government hatred is of a particular brand; was Mr. Stack a tea-partier on a mission to make the point on the day the CPAC convention got underway in Washington? That’s highly unlikely; his troubles and tangles with the IRS go back a lot further than last year. But what remains clear is that it was an act of terrorism. I wonder if the right wing will spend as much time spinning this story of an actual act as they did over a guy who couldn’t blow up his own underwear on an airplane.