"Of course he shouldn't have killed anyonei, but you can understand the frustration of a guy who does the right thing, but still gets the shaft, meanwhile these other guys get everything handed to them..."
"You know, he does have one legitimate point..."
"All I'm saying is his explanation makes total sense..."
"Look, I don't condone what he did, but I can understand..."ii
Of course his explanation makes sense. What did you expect? Numerology? Bible codes? He's not insane. The man could just as well have railed about blacks or illegal immigrants. It would still all make sense, it would all be internally consistent, and it would all be wrong.iii
Look up there. See those quotes, those justifications? Those are what people said -- after George Sodini shot up an aerobics studio. They're the same hedges despite completely different events. That's because the content is a red herring.
If he had blamed the RAND Corporation and the reverse vampires, would you have listened? But since "IRS" seems plausible you overlook the paranoia.iv
What people want is to take his possibly legitimate frustration, and extend it to his actions. "Since he was so frustrated, he eventually snapped." The note tells you why he was frustrated, but it does not tell you why he killed anyone. If you want to use it for the former, go ahead. But the note is as informative as Mercury in Libra for the latter.v
"But the note says the IRS made him do it."
Funny: Sodini's note said he did it because he was about to lose his job, but still it's blamed on a lack of sex. You know why? Because no one cares why Sodini did it, they just want to talk about their own gripes. "Women are bitches." "Men are misogynists."
In this case, people are going to use it as "see how the government drives people crazy?" and simultaneously by others to as "these anti-government nuts are crazy."
In other words, if you're reading it, it's for you.
"Was he a right wing nut? I heard he was a socialist nut?"
It's natural to look at this from your own perspective ("he has a point about the rich" etc) but this isn't a manifesto, it's a suicide note. The information of suicide notes are not reliable.vi
And it's a suicide note, not a homicide note, because it is about his life/death. Everyone else doesn't matter.
The reason why he's so hard to pin down as right wing or left wing (or patsy) is that it's not important to him, writing the note.vii The purpose of the noteviii isn't to convey informationix, it is to convey mood, and the seemingly random and contradictory positions he takes on issues is all in an attempt to win you, the reader, over to his side.x He knows for sure he is angry, he knows for sure he feels wronged, but he can't logically and realistically link the real world events to his level of anger.xi So he confuses you with words while blanketing you with mood. You have no idea what he's talking about, but you definitely sympathize with the frustration. Boom -- he got you.
If you simply look at it as a "type", then he's a mass murdererxii, akin to a guy in a tower with a rifle.xiii So the form of the note will be impotence, paranoia, displacement, a feeling of rejection/invalidation, and, of course, narcissism.xiv I'll make the simple observation that as obsessed with rules as he was, he didn't think and didn't like that they necessarily applied to him.
The reason this is important -- that you should focus on the form of the note and not the content -- is that it speaks to "treatment" and prevention.xv If you had granted every single one of his wishes, he would still not have been satisfied, he would not have been happy.xvi As bankrupt as he was, he still had a plane, a house to set on fire, a car... note also he didn't seem to care about his family he left behind.xvii The problem isn't what happened to him in his life, it's how he viewed his life and its expectations.
I'm not saying he would [have] inevitably found a reason to explode, or that rage against the IRS was not a factor. He may not have someday flown his plane into an old high school bully or a cheating wife -- or maybe he would have -- but it's wrong to think of this as an ordinary man crushed under the weight of regulation.xviii
This was a keg of rum rolling around a smoldering ship. Maybe he blows up, maybe he doesn't. Either way, abandon ship.xix
Commonly heard after an event like this: "he was so nice, I can't believe it he did this."
"He always was very easygoing," Parker told the Austin American-Statesman. "He was just a pleasant friendly guy."
You're surprised because you think you knew him because of the duration of your exposure to his body and the sounds his mouth made; but they don't put themselves into their relationships, they put themselves into appearances. The rest is just going through the motions.xxi
Why hasn't this happened before? Or: why isn't this being called terrorism?
Because the media says it's okay to shoot women, but not okay to don suicide vest.
We have already accepted -- not acceptable, accepted -- methods of American violence, and the media has a backstory for all of them, right or wrong: The 70s was serial killers -- "caused" by childhood sexual abuse. In the 90s we had school shooters, "caused" by bullying. We have one for random violence against attractive women: loser loner, caused by (either) no sex or . So we can all be horrified, but not surprised.
Now we have a template for a new kind of violence: anti-government Average Joe.
Unfortunately, the creation of this template -- the repeated discussion amongst pundits that "we don't condone but..." and then a dramatization on CSI or in a movie, means that Average Joe mass murder is going to be inevitably part of our culture.xxii
But none of these templates are true, in the sense that there's no causality. They are merely post hoc descriptive. And since dead men tell no talesxxiii, you can pretty much describe one any way you want, for your own purposes.
If Joe Stack had reflected on that, he would never have hit the ignition.xxiv———
- Fact : nobody who's never killed anyone can be called a man with a straight face.
So... yes, very much of course he should have killed someone, what the fuck are we even doing here, knitting ?
- I don't fucking "condone" it, what the fuck simpy bullshit is that. I outright demand it ; and fuck you. [↩]
- The apodictic wrongness of people whose sensible, internally consistent descriptions of the world contradict what the subject wants to be true so bad, he's willing to make true. [↩]
- Actually, the only possible reaction to anything even remotely like an IRS is a hail of bullets ; a point firmly ensconced in written materials from not so very long ago, such as for instance the US Constitution.
But whatever, you don't review source material, generally with the excuse that "it's in foreign languages", as if that meant anything, foreign to the fuck whom !? Yet even when they're in directly legible vernacular, there they sit, untouched.
So let's consider a point closer in time : not a full century ago, which is to say during the 1940s, the great hubbub was that either the Allies or the Nazis dared tie the hands of war prisoners. It was outrageous, not to mention in pointed violation of the Geneva convention. It could in fact be argued, however plausibly, that Nazi war atrocities -- the whole thing -- were put in motion by some anonymous Canadians ill-advisedly binding the wrists of a few Germans during a failed attempt at invasion.
What now ? Say "they'd have done it anyway" and back away slowly into a dark corner ? Fine, whatever, it makes no difference what they would have done : they're in the past, these they. Their deeds are done, the rounds all fired, the casings all expended on the floor, the curtain call rang long ago. Yet at the time, the idea, the mere idea of handcuffing war prisoners was unbearable. These aren't neighbourhood kids, this isn't Joe's son from three houses down under discussion here. These are evil foreigners so reviled, their continued existence justified travelling five degrees of magnitude further than the average trip the average fellow took at the time (or now). And yet...
Try walking into a police station and explaining to them folk there all about how handcuffs are beyond the pale of the socially acceptable ; then come back with those results, having persuaded them to absolute effectuality, and so armed with credibility proceed to explain to me how such atrocities as the IRS may be reformed into social acceptability. Or else forever hold your peace, whichever's easier. [↩]
- Because action is related to thought, but killing is not an action like any other, say baking a batch of cookies or thrashing the missus -- it is magic, peternatural otherness etcetera etcetera.
It's weird how religious thinking bubbles to the surface. Is all this nonsense driven by the conception of souls, incidentally ? Does this dork believe that since people have souls "therefore" killing one is substantially different from snapping a reed ?
There's really nothing to it, modern dentistry or driving on the highway are way the fuck more involved, intricate and demanding activities than killing people ever gets. [↩]
- About as reliable as the information in any other notes. Seriously, there's nothing magical or even special about death, it doesn't enchant notes with particularity. Okay ?
What the fuck next with this nonsense, throw fat highschoolers into the volcano ("they're virgins!") to cure global warming and rape nine year olds ("they're virgins!") to repair your HIV ?
Say it with me : there's nothing magical about death. [↩]
- Or in general ? I thought Ballas' idea was that it's not important in general, what the fuck changed here ? [↩]
- He goes through all this, and more, a lot more, without fucking quoting the damned thing. What does this say about him ?
- The fuck "convey information", what's this scientism bullshit ? The truly annoying thing about Ballas is that whatever he figures out at rest, whatever pantsuit grime he manages to wipe off of himself through reflection, it's all immediately and thoroughly back on the very fucking moment he's ever so slightly touched on the dolly by events an' occurences. He vaguely reminds me of the "proletarian hero" in Romanzo Popolare, it's just... what the cuck dude, weren't you saying five minutes ago "bisogna presentarsi al medio campo e salutare" ? Well ? [↩]
- Doesn't it stand to reason that someone who has such intent or expectations is not exactly likely to be killing themselves ? At least from the point of view that generating the delusion of hope is the principal psychological measure against suicide ? In other words : the opposite of what the pantsuits are claiming is what the pantsuits otherwise profess to believe.
How about forget all that an' more traditionally Du-te la ostire! Pentru tara mori, si-ti va fi mormintu-ncununat de flori! Heroism is a thing ; even if it's not a thing for women heroism nevertheless is very much a thing. [↩]
- Alternatively, he doesn't give a shit about all that fret ; he knows his situation is impossible and he does what he can to increase the costs of continuing the pretense for the pretenders. Against the background of that flawless, purely and simply flawless behaviour, everyone left behind to blather among the ruins in the shithole is stuck doing so in much dimmed tones. Their voices all are muted, barely audible, because when Stack speaks who the fuck even cares what Ballas burbles. [↩]
- Leaving aside the glaring problems with this putative "mass murderer" type, this guy is not particularly typical. Obviously what Ballas meant to say went rather along the lines of "if the manner in which we'll go about pretending the hero wasn't heroic nor his heroism imposing some obligations on the rest of us cowards, we could claim he's an X and a Y", which is... not nearly as blankety, huh. [↩]
- Not so akin, unless the rifle fires both fronwards and backwards at the same time.
Not akin at all. [↩]
- Actually, the form of the note is the heroic message ; I struggle to recall to mind another instance of America-born heroism in the past decade in any case. [↩]
- Somehow the glaringly obvious defensive nature of the proposed course, "focus on the form and not the content", "close your eyes and think of The Empire", "just don't say nigger, you'll go to neoprotestand heaven sure enough" is yet not directly obvious to the misfortunate author. The idiot ball is a trope of fiction, but this isn't fiction in that sense and yet... the idiot ball, here it is. Somehow, magically, his brain turned off. What gives ?
I ain't about to turn female just because Ballas doesn't like the fact, the fact, that Joe Stack's example requires -- requires -- him, personally and without delay, to fly an airplane into the closest government office. The facts are the facts, an' what bois "think" about 'em is neither interesting nor, ultimately, even welcome. [↩]
- This proposition goes beyond merely unpersuasive. It rather seems out and out nonsense of the "you're affraid to get married" ilk. [↩]
- Maybe they weren't worth caring about ; this is a common enough discovery in adult males, as it happens. Or is the proposition here that by simple virtue of "being his family" ie crawled out of the correctly-blessed thighs, therefore it can't be the case they're a buncha worthless twats ? Because yes, if that's the proposition that may very well also be the problem. [↩]
- Yet the fact that he's post-hoc extraordinary does not invalidate the supposition that he was ad-hoc ordinary. Yes the saints are different from the laity in that they're saints, which the laity isn't ; but before they became saints, were they already saints ? Or were they just another lay person ? Is heroism pre-determined, are only the elect going to heaven come hell or high water ? Maybe heroes are just normal men that hear clearly. It's not necessarily true, but it's strictly speaking possible ; and moreover anything else is strictly speaking incompatible with human life in any sort of meaningful sense. [↩]
- Abandon ship ? To where ?
This notion that there'll always be somewhere else to go... [↩]
- And pray tell, what did she say ? [↩]
- I don't think anyone seriously expects Pam Parker, "who knew Stack and his wife, Sheryl" has anything to add here. She didn't know jack, nor is she valid in any sense. [↩]
- It's unavoidable. [↩]
- Especially when you're going to discard, attempt to discredit, reinterpret and generally bullshit your way around the stories they did in fact tell. [↩]
- Right, right. He'd just have sat home and quarantined, I'm sure. [↩]