- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

The Texas man who crashed his plane Thursday into a suburban Austin office building full of IRS employees, also left behind a manifesto in which he ranted against the U.S. government and “corporate profits” and anguishes over his tormented emotional state.

Authorities have identified the pilot as Joseph Andrew Stack, a software engineer and registered pilot. He departed from an airport in Georgetown, Texas, several miles from Austin, then crashed his small plane into the seven-story building, producing images reminiscent of both the Sept. 11 and Oklahoma City terrorist attacks.

“There’s a storm raging in my head,” says the six-page letter written by Mr. Stack, 53, and posted on the Internet. “Desperate times call for desperate measures … 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.”

Mr. Stack’s home, about five miles from the crash site, was engulfed in flames. Two law enforcement officials told reporters in Texas that Mr. Stack had apparently set fire to his home.

Other than Mr. Stack, the crash is not known to have killed anybody, though one building worker was missing and two people were hospitalized in critical condition. Thirteen people received treatment.

Mr. Stack said he was angry that “a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?”

He contrasted that with the nation’s health care debate, saying that “at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.”

In an ending that both cited and echoed communist philosopher Karl Marx, he recited the “capitalist creed” as “from each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

The fiery crash, which sent flames shooting through the building and plumes of thick smoke into the air, occurred at about 10 a.m. Central Time and played out on cable-TV news channels as reporters scrambled to learn whether it was an accident or perhaps a terrorist attack. Roughly 200 Internal Revenue Service employees work in the building.

Witnesses reported seeing a low-flying, single-engine plane, then hearing an explosion and windows shattering when the craft struck the building at one of the lower floors.

Gerry Cullen, 66, was eating breakfast at a restaurant across the street when the plane struck the building. “The airplane hit and vanished in a fireball,” said Mr. Cullen, a former flight instructor.

Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who was sitting at her desk in the building when the plane crashed, said, “The ceiling caved in, and windows blew in. We got up and ran,”

Andrew Jacobson was on the second floor when he heard a “big whoomp” and then a second explosion. “When I went to look out the window I saw wreckage, wheels and everything. That’s when I realized it was a plane,” said Mr. Jacobson, whose bloody hands were bandaged.

Mr. Jacobson, also an IRS revenue officer, said about six people couldn’t use the stairwell because of smoke and debris. He found a metal bar to break a window so the group could crawl onto a ledge and be rescued by firefighters.

There was no immediate indication that Mr. Stack was part of a broader conspiracy, though he said in his manifesto that he could “only hope that … the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less … violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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