A classy statement from one of Joseph Stack's victims
Was Joseph Stack a deranged left-winger or a deranged member of the Tea Party movement? Many on the left and right buzzed with such speculation -- and thought of little else -- after Stack posted an angry anti-tax manifesto on his website, burned down his house, and then crashed his plane into an office complex housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas.
Stack, a 53-year-old software engineer and obviously a very troubled man, died along with an IRS manager, 68-year-old Vernon Hunter. At least 13 others were injured. Stack lived with his wife and stepdaughter. Their home was in a solidly upper middle-class neighborhood.
Given America's political climate and cultural divide, it perhaps is understandable that many on the left and right seized upon Stack's rambling manifesto in an effort to understand (and in some cases score political points over) his horrific public suicide. Their lack of restraint and reflection is what makes comments by Shane Hill -- one of Stack's victims -- all the more notable.
Hill, an investigator with the Texas Comptroller Criminal Investigation Division, was the most seriously injured of Stack's victims, suffering second degree burns on his back. Recently, he was released from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He issued a statement that -- given the tongue-wagging by many on the left and right -- was notable for its dignity, reflection, and lack of anger. He wrote:
My family and I are so grateful for all of the prayers and concerns that so many have expressed on our behalf. Our own prayers are for the many others who were affected by this tragedy, particularly Mr. Hunter's family and Mrs. Stack and her daughter. I hope you will all keep them in your prayers in the weeks and months to come.
I am very grateful to the first responders who were there to assist me, and to those who have cared for me in San Antonio. I am so blessed to be home today, and I ask for your courtesy and our privacy as my family and I focus on making a quick and full recovery.