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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Wrong Choice

What’s normal? What’s extreme?

Joe Stack flies his aircraft into the side of an IRS building. Maybe the best thing that can be said about that, is his act only killed one other person, although he injured several. His wife and kid left behind, Stack decided it was necessary to climb into a light aircraft and carry out an act of terrorism. His reasoning: violence is not just an answer to the problems of the day – in his own words, “it is the only answer.”

In the same day, the news is finally made public that Iran is now very close to combining nuclear weapons with Intercontinental delivery systems – and simultaneously authorities roll up a terror plot at Fort Jackson involving five suspects who are part of an Arabic translation program. The five were apparently involved in a plan to poison Army food supplies.

As people try to distance themselves from Stack in interviews and as the military does their CID thing with the five “09 Lima” troops who were actually detained in December, and the Iranian government seeks to join the big-boy club of Atomic world-enders, we sink in more than $800 billion in debt. We are collectively dragged under by the whole “green planet,” environmental thing, which has only just begun to make fools of a long list of bribed scientists and new-industry types. All their hands will be eventually caught in that particular cookie jar. The Vegas mayor refuses to meet with the President and job loss has reached levels well beyond the point which Obama himself identified early on, as a level on parity with the Great Depression.

Could any of this be worse? Could there be any more messages out there to tell us we are swimming in dangerous waters?

Stack’s writings, posted on the internet, prior to his suicide / attempted-homicide run on the IRS building, called for revolt, identifying Americans as zombies. He cites draconian restrictions, “pompous political thugs,” and “mindless minions” as the elements destroying the country. He uses the term “cruel joke” and identifies himself as a “fool.”

Whatever happened to Stack, he lost his mind and sought to join the ranks of indiscriminate killers we have identified as terrorists. Regardless of the term eventually used to label him, however, his assertion that violence is the “only way,” is the craziest and saddest part of it all. From Stack’s point of view, life has reached the point where it is necessary to kill others. Odd, isn’t it, that this is the same point of view shared by Al Qaida, Iranian crazies and others across the world. “Nothing changes unless there is a body count,” is what Stack writes in his final words, evidently neglecting to see the obvious – that a body count doesn’t necessarily change anything for the better. Real power does not come from the barrel of a gun, despite the mass-murderer, Mao’s assertions and those in our own government who seem to want to agree – and Stack, who went even further, by actually pulling the trigger turning his aircraft into a bomb.

Killing is a fever. War is killing on a massive scale, shifting the fever into the realm of epidemic or pandemic. In all of these instances, the work of the grim reaper is halted only because he grows tired. Fevers burn themselves out. Meanwhile, they manage to kill fairly indiscriminately. Death is an equal-opportunity kind of thing and in the end, “body-count” often simply means, there’s just a lot of people needlessly dead. The dead aren’t nameless zombies. They are always artists and thinkers and writers and craftsmen, tradesmen and businessmen, homemakers and lovers – all manner of folks who are the same as you and I. And of course, they are also often children and entire families.

Have we forgotten so quickly the terrible September day when so many of our countrymen died? Have we forgotten the exterminations perpetrated in our more distant past? How could Stack have arrived at his conclusions in the face of all that? For that matter, how can any terrorists arrive at their conclusions?

Maybe it’s another kind of fever? Maybe it’s the fever of madness – and if we’re real lucky, it will all burn itself out.

Otherwise, we are facing something worse. Multiple plots on U.S. military bases suggest more than coincidence is at work. Iranian missile tests combined with the level of activity in their nuclear program, as well as reports of Russian assistance, adds up to an imminent attack on Israel or others. A cold war with Iran is not very likely, as in order to be cold, it needs to involve cool heads.

Ask yourself this: If a former businessman can lose himself enough, to fly an aircraft into a building, and if members of our military are involved in killing and attempting to kill fellow troops, how far away do you think we are from nuke-equipped Iranian crazies, lighting candles at the slightest provocation – or for no reason at all? How easy will it be for Iran to provide their atomic weapons to others willing to pay for them? What’s the result then?

What’s normal and what’s extreme?

I would suggest that Stack falls into the latter category with all the other self-deceived and insane. He was born innocent in 1956 and chose to end his time on this world with an act of terror. He could have done anything instead of that. He could have chosen to help others despite his own personal woes. He could have adapted, overcome and found a way to contribute to real solutions today. He could have fled and flown his aircraft somewhere a long way from anyone he ever knew and all his problems. He could have just disappeared, to start again somewhere else. He could have done some good with his remaining time on the globe, and like everyone who enters their names on the rolls of the lost, he could have made a much better choice.

He didn’t. 

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