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Terrorist or Hero – Martyr or Murderer

February 24, 2010

A person with a grudge, gripe or deep seated belief of some kind, whether justified or delusional, decides to “take action”. The person takes a vehicle, supplements fuel or adds explosives to said vehicle. The vehicle is directed, at a high rate of speed, into a building which is used by the entity against which this person has a grudge, or left sitting next to the building and remotely detonated. Innocent people are killed, wounded and traumatized. In Baghdad, or Bagram, Kandahar or Peshawar, they are called terrorists. What do we call them in Austin, Oklahoma City?

HOW does one call them hero? I can’t, for the life of me, understand that. To call Joe Stack a hero, to justify his flying that plane into the IRS building (just because he hated taxes and refused to pay them and had problems with the IRS) is unfathomable. How is he different from the terrorist in Peshawar who set off a car bomb outside a hospital emergency room as a followup to bombing a bus full of pilgrims? For one man, his religion became fanaticism, his hatred of anyone who didn’t believe exactly as he did, became a reason to murder, a justification of an act that killed, wounded and maimed innocent men, women and children. For another man, his distrust of government, his deep seated belief that taxes are unjust and he shouldn’t have to pay them, his ongoing battles with the IRS (and what most of us see as tax evasion and skipping out on his responsibilities as a citizen) became a justification for flying a plane into a building, with the clear intent to kill people.

To me – that’s just Murder. To hear someone say his actions were “inappropriate” – stunningly inadequate. And when I read that he has been called a martyr – gruesome. As gruesome as calling a truck bomber in Kabul a martyr.. these violent acts are not martyrdom. They are the selfish act of someone who doesn’t have the intelligence or the humanity to figure out that what they are doing is murder, pure and simple, murder.


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