Letters – Congressman speaks out against Austin pilot
To the Editor:
I think Editor LPR Staff got it right in her recent column regarding the tragic suicide plane attack in Austin and the failure of some to place the blame squarely where it belongs: on pilot Joseph Stack.
Recently, the House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly approved a resolution that I authored condemning that
attack and honoring the life of Vietnam veteran Vernon Hunter, who was killed and the employees with whom he worked, as well as lauding the heroic actions of local first responders who rose to the call of duty amidst flames and chaos. Like Ms. Bliss, the resolution condemns Stack’s horrible wrong perpetrated deliberately against employees of the Internal Revenue Service, who were only doing their jobs that day in Austin.
There is nothing noble about this murderous act of violence. Any expression to the contrary deserves the strong condemnation that this resolution embodies. Like the larger-scale tragedy in Oklahoma City, this was a cowardly act. To promote his deadly wrongdoing, the suicide pilot posted a diatribe on his website that proclaimed ‘violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.’ In response, some immediately contributed to a Facebook page as ‘fans’ and promoted his wrongdoing elsewhere on the web. Sporting a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag, the so-called ‘fan page’ to the murderer misappropriated Thomas Jefferson’s words that ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.’ The resolution that I introduced soundly rejects such appalling tributes. The patriots were working in the building, not seeking to kill public servants like Vern Hunter. The only heroes that day were doing their jobs, not harming others.
We must turn the volume down on hate. In our country there is room for wide political discourse and vigorous disagreement. Debate, intense but respectful debate, about our tax code is good for our democracy. There are many tax provisions which I personally have criticized in very strong terms, as at times, I have the way that the IRS has administered the Tax Code. But while I would hardly glorify the IRS, I strongly reject anyone who would glorify harm to those in public service to our Nation by praising a murderer or suggesting that his is an example to follow.
In our democracy, there is no room for this type of violence, nor is there room for the dangerous incitement to violence. Let us speak with a strong, unequivocal voice renouncing this attack. We reject the path of hate; and we reject the call to violence.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett