Software engineer with anti-government grudge crashes plane

A software engineer who had apparently had gone  cuckoo and who was a bit mad at the tax man crashed a small plane into a government office after leaving a web rant explaining why this made much sense.

The software engineer apparently accumulated many financial problems over the years and apparently had also problems filing taxes, while questioning certain aspects of the U.S. tax laws. His last act on Earth of crashing a plane into an IRS office killed two other people in the process, leaving many injured.

News reports say that in Austin, Texas, two bodies were found among the wreckage left after a small airplane smashed into a building housing an IRS office. This in addition to the pilot, raisedthe total body count to three people. About 13 people were injured, and two are in a critical condition.

The madman was identified by the FBI as a software engineer Joseph Stack whom started his software engineering business in Southern California in 1983, eventually moving to Austin,TX to “lend a hand to the growing high technology industry in South-Central Texas.”

His optimism about Texas was short-lived. He declares in his web rant that Texas was not the paradise he expected to find. “Bye to California, I will try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done”.

Poor Texas, it gets no love from those cranky software developers, even the likable Santa Claus of the software world, Richard Stallman doesn´t like ´em…  He should have tried China or India, if one believes the results of a study published on InfoWorld.

The web site “The Smoking Gun” (link) is currently hosting an on-line copy of what used to be the suicidal engineer´s web site, where he placed the on-line rant describing the motivation for this despicable act. Surely he has not heard of sleeping pills, and thought that besides ending his own life, it was needed to harm others in the process.

In fact, that´s precisely what he says in his diatribe: “Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer”, a philosophy that has already caused plenty of deaths in the U.S., like the Oklahoma City Bombing, or the rise of the right-wing militia movement whom frequently oppose paying taxes and see the big bad Government as whole -instead of just the military that sometimes carry out questionable acts- as the root of all evil.

He starts by saying that “The law ´requires´ a signature of the bottom of a tax filing, yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that´s not ´duress´ than (sic) what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is”. We´ll save you from reading the rest of his rambling, but follow the link to TheSmokingGun if you´re so inclined.

So what creates these David Koresh, Timothy McVeigh(s), Hans Reiser(s) or now Joseph Stack(s)?. There is no definitive answer, but in a very fascinating book called The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always do Better the boffins Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett  show that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone – the rich as well as the poor.  Almost every modern social problem from poor health to violence, drugs, long work hours, big prison populations and yes, even mental illness, is more likely to occur in a less equal society.

Since this is a rather sad story, we prefer to end it with a mellow, relaxing song from Youtube.