The first ever to receive this prestigious award posthumously. Mr. Stack is the Austin,Texas man who earlier last week decided that flying a single-engine plane into an office building was both a great way to call attention to his cause (the worthiness of which is still to be determined, but some politically-motivated jackasses have already hailed him as everything from Hero to Murdering-Asshole-Tea-Partier), and was legitimate political protest.
Wrong! Kamikaze acts are never legitimate anything. Murder-suicide, especially the "Murder" part, is extremely uncool. Using an airplane for any task except that it was intended for, is the very epitome of doucheness. It has a connotation in the American psyche of the ultimate terror, something even more frightening than Frankenstein, Atomic Mushroom Clouds or Hillary Clinton in a full, form-fitting bodysuit, complete with camel toe. Joseph Andrew Stack (and why is it that we only use someone's middle name only after they've done something this horrific?) set out to threaten, frighten, panic, as well as to kill.
I've been on the business end of a kamikaze before, and there ain't anything scarier. I've tried to understand the motivations of the men who flew that aircraft, and I've tried to do the same for Mr.Stack, and in both instances I come up with the same answer: your excuse sucks. You method is simple terrorism, and cowardly. Some will say "It takes a very brave man to fly a plane into a building", and I'll say "No, it doesn't. It only takes a crazy one." They are the actions of men who are only concerned about having The Last Word, who are incapable of seeing the other side of an argument, who aren't interested in compromise, who are single-minded -- to the point of mania -- about their own "righteousness". Because the rest of us don't see them or their circumstances as "Special" and deserving of our immediate surrender to their whims and wishes. We have to die for this reason (refusal to give the murderer what he wants, no questions asked) and the method of murder he chooses must be one that is extraordinarily-memorable --because the reasons that motivated it usually aren't.
They are the last attempt of a very sick, anonymous, and petty little man to get the attention that he usually didn't get in life. Such events are the work of very insane and selfish men.
Because only insane and selfish people can come to the conclusion that they are perfectly justified in killing complete strangers who are in ignorance of their concerns or existence. Even the symbolism of attacking the IRS -- a move that some on the fringes of both left and right have called a "patriotic" action -- doesn't detract from the fact that there were people, many of them who had never met, spoke, or interacted with Joseph Andrew Stack, had nothing at all to do with his grievances (real and perceived), and would have gone through their lives happily ignorant of him, and he of them...but he still tried to kill them anyway.
They were no longer people to him; they were just part of the "System" that was out to screw him.
I wonder, in the coming weeks, just what else we'll find out about Joseph Andrew Stack that will slowly turn him from the figure of sympathy that some would like to make of him --Everyman tormented by the Mindless Bureaucracy and driven to perform unspeakable, but justifiable, acts of senseless violence in an attempt to preserve his freedoms and dignity -- and what is probably closer to the truth; Joseph Andrew Stack, loser, loner, a man who's life went to shit because he was an unstable personality and he let his problems overwhelm his basic decency and common sense. You have to wonder about a man who can leave behind a daughter who makes the case that her father's murderous rampage somehow makes him a "hero".
Maybe we should lock her up before she reproduces, too?
The truth of Joseph Andrew Stack probably lies somewhere in between those two extremes (Modern-day Nathan Hale and Mental Patient) , but there is no doubt about where it ultimately led. There is no objective difference between Stack, Mohammad Atta, or "Crazy" Pat Sherrill (the man who was responsible for bringing the phrase "Going Postal" into the lexicon ) except for the scale of his attempt and it's ultimate result.
Joseph Stack managed to kill only two people...and one of them was himself. The great tragedy of the Austin Kamakaze is that you can just imagine some guy sitting down at his desk, and getting ready to take that first bite from his bagel, and that first sip from his Second Cup of the Day before settling in to do an Honest Day's Work, and his last very thought upon seeing an airplane headed his way, is not a happy one of a life well-lived, of a family, of something joyous or profound. It's more likely to have been "Oh, shit...."
And that's if the victim was lucky and had time to think even that much.
So, to Joseph Andrew Stack; for thoughts and actions above and beyond the call of Douchiness, for leaving behind a semi-political statement which has more logical contradictions in it than a Barack Obama Speech, for the attempted murder by kamikaze of several hundred people who probably didn't know you were alive and could give a crap if they did, for the actual murder of another man, for making your extremely douchy example available to wingnuts of both political persuasions to shamelessly and tastelessly use as propaganda, I bestow the Golden Douchebag -- with Oak Leaf Clusters --upon you.
May you rot in Hell, you selfish bastard.