Richard A. Serrano
Los Angeles Times
2:25 PM EST, February 18, 2010
The pilot, identified by authorities as Joseph Andrew Stack, a software engineer who lived in a north Austin neighborhood, raged about U.S. tax policies, the health care system and even his business failings and tax problems in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"I am finally ready to stop this insanity," Stack wrote in a posting at the website thesmokinggun.com. "Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well."
According to federal law enforcement authorities in Washington, Stack started a fire at his home, then flew the small Piper aircraft into the Echelon 1 building in northwest Austin, which houses a large IRS contingent. Next door was another building where the FBI maintains a resident agents office.
Stack wrote that he began the blog "many months ago," triggered by his realization that "there isn't enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken." He called his missive a "rant,'' and said, "desperate times call for desperate measures."
He went on to complain about "a handful of thugs and plunderers,'' and mentioned auto executives, the American medical system and drug and insurance companies.
Although much of what he said was difficult to follow and incoherent, he talked about losing more than $40,000 over ten years, which ''set my retirement plans back to O." He went to engineering school, apparently in Harrisburg, Pa., where "I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge." He said he once considered supplementing his diet with cat food.
But his main beef came in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He said he spent "$5,000 of my pocket change and at least 1,000 hours of my time'' complaining to Washington and state officials. "I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings,'' he wrote, though he was unclear what he meant.
Finally, he said, it was "bye to California. I'll try Austin for a while." But he said he could not make it in Texas either, and "to survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA" retirement account.
"So we come to the present '' he wrote. " In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws." He added, "I have had all I can stand."
The posting was signed: Joe Stack (1956-2010) and dated on Feb. 18.
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