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Crash pilot’s chilling manifesto: ‘Take my pound of flesh and sleep well’

A chilling anti-government rant from Joseph Andrew Stack not only explains his reasoning for crashing his plane into a building that held 190 IRS employees: The software programmer also foretells his own death.


“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

“[This] has been coming for a long time,” says the piece, which closes with: “Joe Stack (1956-2010).” (NOTE: This story contains the entire transcript.)


“The end result is… well, just look around,” he wrote, chillingly. “Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”


Stack said he lost his retirement savings twice — once while living in Southern California and then after he moved to Texas. He blames federal lawmakers, the Arthur Andersen accounting firm (originally implicated in the scandal involving Texas-based Enron) and, in particular, the IRS, for much of his trouble.

“I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change.

“I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.”

“These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse,” wrote Stack, a self-described contract software engineer. “[But] desperate times call for desperate measures.”


For a copy of the entire suicide note, click here: Joe Stack (1956-2010)

Stack rants against GM, “the American medical system” and insurance companies, who he said are are “murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple.” He calls U.S. lawmakers “thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags,” adding that “the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.”

His primary target, both literally and metaphorically: the Internal Revenue Service.

“How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand.

“The law “requires” a signature on 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 what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.”

Stack said his “real American nightmare” started nearly 30 years ago.

“Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God).

“That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie.”

He zeroes in on the 1986 tax reform act, section 1706, governing the taxing of income of contract engineers.

“During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time.”

“After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

“If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back. Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks.”

Stack said he was living in Southern California, servicing airport clients, when the early 1990s recession hit the area.

“Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that…. [B]ecause the government caused it, no one gave a [expletive] about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall.”

Following a divorce, Stack said, he got back on his feet. “Then came the .COM bust and the 9/11 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive.”

He moved back to Austin, he said. “I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages,” for which he blamed a lack of oversight by the U.S. Justice Department.

“To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA.”

He continued: “[H]ere I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.”

Stack said it all came to a head when an auditor pointed out that $12,700 of his wife’s income wasn’t reported.

“This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone.”

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