I am no fan of big government and inefficient bureacracy, but I loath to the core anti-government maniacs who would do harm to federal employees. They are terrorists of the worst kind – even worse than the Islamofascist true believers formerly hunkered down in the caves of Damadola.
But as disturbing as it is, I really can’t say I’m surprised that the less hinged among us would use last month’s Austin tax bomber tragedy as an excuse to threaten federal employees.
Here’s the Washington Post:
Threats against Internal Revenue Service workers and facilities continue to pour in after last month’s plane crash at agency offices in Austin, according to union officials. The pilot and an IRS employee died in the crash.
IRS watchdogs are investigating more than 70 reported instances of inappropriate comments made to agency workers by taxpayers, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley said Wednesday. Workers have received a mix of inappropriate verbal comments — including jokes or statements of support for pilot Andrew Joseph Stack — and more serious threats, she said.
Kelley learned of the threats from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which tracks threats against IRS workers:
“TIGTA is actively and aggressively investigating all threats made against IRS employees, infrastructure and property,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration. His office and the IRS have instructed workers to report threats immediately. “It would be a little naive to think that we don’t get some threats over the course of doing business,” said IRS Communications Director Terry Lemons.
Attacks and threats against IRS workers and facilities are nothing new and are not confined to the annual spring tax filing season, Lemons said. People have rammed cars into offices as well as set them on fire. And some people have taken out hits on agency employees, he said.
The ongoing probe is unfolding in the aftermath of last week’s attack on the Pentagon in which a gunman wounded two police officers outside the entrance before he was fatally shot.
I have been dealing with IRS employees for more than two decades and have personally witnessed highly agitated, unstable taxpayers make serious threats against them.¹ Threats against IRS officials are so common, in fact, that collection employees frequently use aliases to shield themselves against nutjobs who would do them harm.
Here are the characteristics I have found common to anti-IRS lunatics:
- Lack of personal responsibility – If you could rewind the lives of these people and view them on your DVD, you would find that they have long histories of blaming everyone but themselves for their problems. For a good example of this, read my blog post about Joe Stack titled IRS Bomber Blamed Everyone But Himself;
- Extreme paranoia – To a man, these folks believe that the IRS has a personal vendetta against them. This feeling persists even where they owe a relatively nominal amount, have been given many opportunities to present their side of the story, and have consulted with several experienced tax professionals who have told them the IRS is right;
- Relationship problems– In addition to their IRS problem, the lives of these disturblings are riddled with difficulties. They almost always lack deep and satisfying relationships often having estranged themselves from their wives, children and siblings. Inevitably, those wives, children and siblings have become part of the vast worldwide conspiracy against them.
- Narcissism – Lunatic tax protestors truly believe the world revolves around them; that everything bad that happens is somehow directed personally at them. Their self-absorption extends even to natural phenemona, like the weather. I knew one radical loony tune who as he was leaving my office noticed it had begun to rain. He pounded his hand on my desk and squealed like a stuck boar, “why is this always happening to me?“
- Gullibility – I could have approached Joe Stack two months ago and told him that the federal government was instituting a secret plan to exterminate everyone with an engineering degree and he would have immediately stocked up on canned foods and commenced building a bunker. And these are the same folks who believe others are gullible and naive for believing that the we landed on the Moon.
- Middle-Agedness – Extreme anti-goverment cretins are almost always between the ages of 45 and 65. Life apparently hasn’t worked out for them the way they wished it had.² But instead of flying a plane into a building, why not do what every other red-blooded, American male in the throes of a mid-life crisis does: Buy a red sports car and date a hot blonde.
- Maleness – There are of course female anti-taxers, but they are rarely among the most extreme and almost always have adopted their radical attitudes at the behest of a man.
¹ Even though these individuals have attorney-client privilege and their communications to me are confidential, the rules of ethics impose upon lawyers an affirmative duty to prevent the occurrrence of a future crime. Consequently, if a synaptically-challenged tax protestor says he intends to hurt an IRS employee, I am required to disclose that statement to the threatened employee and his or her supervisor.
That is precisely what I did a few years ago when a deranged client told me that if a certain IRS employee showed up at his house or business again he would shoot her and then kill himself. It turned out, happily, that he was just bluffing, but I wasn’t about to take that chance. And, of course, I immediately terminated my representation of him, which promptly put me on his hit list.
² With the possible exception of Hugh Heffner, I suspect life hasn’t turned out for any of us the way we wished it had.