The Dangers of Demonizing: The Real Cost of Our Country’s Dangerous Obsession
For a moment, put yourself in Vernon Hunter’s shoes. You are a 68-year-old black man in America. No doubt you’ve had to experience racism and discrimination, but you didn’t let it stop you. You chose to enter the military out of school and served proudly in Vietnam. You worked hard to support your family, and eventually ended up with a job in the IRS, a government job that provided some security for you and your loved ones. Your job is to help arrange payment plans for people who owe taxes. You are active in your church, have raised your children with integrity and honesty, and you are looking forward to retirement and raising grandchildren. Likely, you believe that following the rules, being honest and working hard, are virtues that will reward you. And it is likely you don’t pay much attention to the Tea Party crowd or the radical progressives and all the name-calling and vitriol from both sides. Yes, you are in a place where your friends and family love and respect you.
But then along comes Joe Stack and his long simmering feud with the IRS over taxes he does not want to pay on his income as an independent contractor. For some reason, Stack has decided that he is special. He does not have to follow the rules most people do. He is convinced that for whatever reason, he should be free of the responsibility of contributing to a society that educated him, allowed him to forge a career in software engineering (however troubled), enabled him to buy a nice house in Austin, gave him the wherewithal to get a pilot’s license, and even provided him the resources to own a plane. Yes indeed. Joe Stack, a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant man in the U.S. is a ‘victim.’
So Joe Stack the ‘victim’ sets his home on fire, which firefighters try to salvage for the wife and daughter he leaves behind (an effort funded by the taxes Stack won’t pay), drives off in his car (on roads built by the taxes Stack will not pay), gets into his expensive plane (paid for by the apparently discretionary income Stack does not want taxed), takes off from an airport (likely built in part by taxes Stack will not pay), and flies towards the building where Vernon Hunter works through the FAA secure skies over Austin (an agency paid for by the taxes Stack feels he does not have to pay).
That is when Vernon Hunter, in the middle of a normal Friday at work, is introduced to Joe Stack and he loses his life. He doesn’t know why. He doesn’t have a chance to defend himself. And he doesn’t deserve it.
But there are those who now argue that Joe Stack is a Patriot because he took a stand against the Government. A deranged man who lied to the IRS, who felt he was special, and who decides that he is going to commit murder because he doesn’t get what he wants, is a Patriot.
And these same people cast Vernon Hunter, a man who served his country in wartime, worked hard virtually his whole life, raised a family, and was loved and respected by friends and family, as a demon IRS worker who should die in the flames of Joe Stacks plane crash.
No….the real Patriot in this tragedy is Vernon Hunter. He is the real American hero; someone who served his family and his country, and lived honestly. He was killed by a cowardly hypocrite who railed against the misfortune that he brought on himself.