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Friday, September 29, 2023

Staff Editorial

IRS bomber far from a hero, but do Americans agree?

In the aftermath of Joe Stack’s decision to take out his frustrations with the IRS by flying a plane into a building that housed a group of government employees in Austin, there has been a raging debate as to where Stack ranks with the American public.

A survey of several Facebook groups conducted Wednesday shows varying degrees of contempt or sympathy towards Stack, with some calling him a hero and others labeling him a terrorist. Stack’s daughter, Samantha Bell, recently told ABC’s Good Morning America that while she views his actions as “inappropriate,” she still considers him a hero. She went on to explain that she doesn’t consider her father a hero for killing IRS employee Vernon Hunter but rather “because now maybe people will listen.”

Really? How many people are now listening to al-Qaida’s message because of its attacks? How many everyday Americans say to themselves, “I really understand Timothy McVeigh’s frustration and agree with his message. I’m glad he did what he did, or I may have never been exposed to such a spot-on way to look things.”

Not many.

It seems that some people are treating Stack’s actions as different from other acts of terror, be it because he’s a white American citizen or because in their eyes his suicide note/manifesto contains valid points. The media has played its part by going out of its way to avoid labeling Stack a terrorist. In our post-9/11 society, the word terrorist has become so closely associated with acts of terror committed by non-U.S. citizens that it has lost its true meaning. One must wonder— if McVeigh had committed his act of terror after 2001, would the media not treat him as a terrorist? Probably not, just another lone, crazed American who was fed up.

The bottom line is that being a terrorist does not go hand-in-hand with owning a green card or subscribing to a non-Christian religion. Stack had an issue with the U.S. government, much like the 9/11 terrorists did, and so putting their issues aside is a must when examining their actions. The dictionary is not subjective, and its readers should follow suit.

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