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I Can Relate to Joe Stack's Pain: Fix the IRS!

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After Joe Stack crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin, his daughter called him a "hero." I don't think he's a hero ... but after my own audit, I can relate with many of his frustrations.

Joe Stack

Guest blogger Diane: After Joe Stack crashed his plane into an IRS building in Austin -- killing himself and another person -- his daughter, Samantha Bell, said he acted as a "hero" who was trying to call attention to an unjust government.

Bell acknowledged that Stack's actions were "inappropriate," but said that at least now, "people will listen."

I doubt anyone will.

I was audited last year by the IRS. I know what it is like to be considered a criminal by your own government when you feel you did nothing wrong.

When you encounter a shady auditor (like I did), you feel more like you're dealing with the Mob than with a government employee. But you know you can't complain or they will just go after you harder next year.

That said, I would never even consider an act of violence or anything like Joe Stack did. I just took my lumps and moved on. But when I read Stack's suicide note, I could relate with some of his feelings of frustration at the IRS.

Is he a hero? No way. He murdered an innocent person: Vernon Hunter, a Vietnam vet who didn't deserve to die. No matter what, that is not okay.

I too wish the IRS could be overhauled. But I don't think Stack's actions will make one bit of difference. By taking such drastic, horrific measures, he will simply be labeled a quack and a killer. His mercenary mission will not result in one single change, I'm afraid.

Stack wrote, "Here we have a [tax] 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' [then] what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is."

I know that when I was audited, the auditor kept saying, "You signed your return" -- as if I had committed fraud. But I had put my fate in the hands of a highly paid accountant. If the accountant screwed up (which she did), I would have no way of knowing this! She was actiing as if I were some sort of scammer, when I am actually an honest, tax-paying citizen who is barely making ends meet and just trying to provide for her kids.

Stack concluded his manifesto with: "I have had all I can stand." My audit was one of the worst things to ever happen in my life, other than my mom dying. Someone compared it to having an autopsy while you're still living. I agree with that. I will be paying off my debt for years and years and years, and honestly will always live in fear of the IRS and another audit.

When I was a teenager, my orthodontist had a lot of tax troubles. He was a father of a 3-year-old girl. We had to make out our checks to the IRS, not him. One day, he parked his car on the train tracks and waited to be hit by a locomotive. He too had had all he could stand, but thankfully he didn't take an innocent person with him.

Do I think Joe Stack is a hero? No way. But I do hope that the IRS can be fixed.

IRS: Stop wasting your time on the little guys, and instead focus on the rich and the corporations -- who should be your primary focus anyway. Leave us honest, tax-paying middle-class citizens alone.

next: Joannie Rochette Will Skate Despite Tragedy
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
Terry Bogard February 24, 2010, 10:09 PM

Meet the IRS agent killed by your hero, Joe Stack.

He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. And thirty years later this American hero is killed by a lunatic with a plane who got caught cheating on his taxes. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t have to hear lunatics like Lisa declaring his murderer a hero.

Lisa February 25, 2010, 11:13 AM

Terry…are YOU a government shill? Their tactic is to name call and discredit viable information. I assure you, I am neither delusional nor paranoid. I AM AWAKE. I AM NOT IN DENIAL. What about YOU?

Terry Bogard February 25, 2010, 12:49 PM

No, I am not a government shill. I just don’t accept murder as a viable response to problems with the government. My father was killed my a criminal named Gisu Hawado. I became a better man, a better fighter, so one day I could take him down. Time after time I defeated him, but only when he proved there was no other option was I forced to commit the final act. It has haunted me, both metaphorically and literally as his vengeful spirit, Naitomea Gisu, continues to darken my path. Still, I know to this day that murder is never the answer, it is never right. Which is why I adopted Gisu’s son, Rokku.

So maybe you can understand why I think we should not celebrate murderers. Ever.

Lisa February 25, 2010, 4:31 PM

Terry, Let me assure you that I am neither delusional nor paranoid.

Do you know that in the IRS training manual that the taxpayer is called a “subject”. I have read that myself, so I know from my own research what is there. Have you read the IRS field agent training manual?

I have a concern about your previous post, Terry. You see my concern comes from research I have done that indicates that a “plant” will attack the messenger and not the message he or she posts. Now, this is NOT paranoia. It is FACT. So, I question your post as a means to minimize the impact my post may have. I would much rather you address WHAT I posted and not try to get an EMOTIONAL response by suggesting that I am paranoid or delusional.

I KNOW of what I speak. I have researched these issues. I am an investigative reporter and I am awake as to the dangers we face. I am not in denial.

We have major problems in this country and one of the major reasons is that we HAVE TRUSTED THOSE WHO ARE UNTRUSTWORTHY…like most governmental and quasi-governmental entities.

Others need to wake up. Will you help them do so, Terry?

Lisa February 25, 2010, 5:05 PM

OOPS!! I failed to go to the next page. LOLOL on me. I am sorry about your father, Terry.

The father of my son died and former husband died of aides after he was seduced by a homosexual and got infected. Our son lives with this reality today, just as you live with your memories. The pain there was also deep and wide for us. However, I never considered taking the life of the man who infected him. A little different from your situation, I know, but both are painful.

I acknowledge that these are difficult times. In one post I asked if anyone had an answer for a different outcome than what Joe Stack did. NO ONE SUGGESTED ANYTHING…so how can we stop this from happening again? How could we have stopped this man who killed your father? We all know we have major problems, but we MUST FIND A SOLUTION.

What I KNOW IN MY HEART IS THAT THIS COUNTRY IS BEING RUINED FROM WITHIN, and the IRS has a lot to do with that. There are other causes, of course, but taxing the people only reduces them to a pile of broken people…always has and always will. That is what “taxation without representation” was all about.

When you research as Joe Bannister (former IRS criminal investigator)did, you may find that my comments make more sense. I believe we need to bring the awareness of the PEOPLE to a higher level. The issue of how that is to be done is an individual decision. Each is responsible for his or her own actions. The better solution would be to rid our country of the evil, the lying politicians and the blood-sucking benefit programs. Just my opinion. Am I still allowed to have a personal opinion in America today? You tell me.

Lisa March 4, 2010, 6:31 PM

This is very interesting….I posted another comment. It was accepted and I was told it was posted. When I went to read it…it is NOT here. Geez…is Obama monitoring the internet again? I know for a fact that he is having people call the conservative talk shows to “pitch” his bogus health care swindle. Interesting, no?

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