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Feb. 18 2010 - 1:13 pm | 1,413 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Small plane crashes into Austin, Texas building that housed federal offices

I took this photo of a PA-28-236

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News reports are coming out from Austin, Texas that a small plane, a Cirrus SR22 Piper Cherokee, crashed into a building in Austin, Texas that houses a number of federal offices, including the Internal Revenue Service and the CIA. The building was in Northwest Austin’s Echelon complex. While the initial report below from the Austin American Statesmen indicates that the feds were investigating an ‘accident,’ a subsequent report in the AP says that the case is being probed as a crime.

According to an FBI agent who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to release information, the incident is being investigated as an accident, although eyewitnesses said the plane seemed to come in at full throttle. He said the plane was out of Waco and that Federal Aviation Administration officials are en route to the scene.

FBI sources said that the eyewitness accounts saying that the plane did not slow down is making some authorities wonder if it was an intentional act.

FBI spokesman Bill Carter said the building hit by a plane at the Echelon office complex did not contain an FBI office. While the FBI has an office at the complex, the plane did not crash into that particular building, Carter said.

“At this time we have no reason to believe there is a nexus to criminal or terrorist activity,” said Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, told CNN. “We are in the process of coordinating with state officials and other federal partners to gather more information and at this time we will defer additional questions to local officials and the FAA.”

via Plane crashes into Northwest Austin office building | The Blotter.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the AP reporting team that is behind the scoop also reported that Census worker Bill Sparkman was killed in Kentucky for being a ‘fed’ when it turned out he had committed suicide. But this case has some echoes of some other instances.

First, it brings to mind the January 2002 incident when 15-year-old Charles J. Bishop crashed a purloined plane into the Bank of America Tower in Tampa, Florida.

Second, it makes me think of Johnny Lee Wicks, an angry retiree who believed he was a victim of federal racism and shot up the Las Vegas federal building last month.

But in the aftermath of Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s act of fratricide that was likely inspired by al Qaida at Fort Hood in Texas, you can never be sure.

The Austin American Statesman report above indicates that CNN is reporting that the pilot in this case burned his home this morning – another echo of Wicks.

More to come…

Update 1:25 pm – Austin American Statesman has some possible details about the pilot, although they are not confirmed:

Turk could not confirm that the plane that hit the building belonged to Joseph Andrew Stack, the private plane pilot whose nearby home was on fire at roughly the same time.

Stand by on that front.

1:28 pm – Gawker says it was a Piper Cherokee, not a Cirrus SR22, that crashed into the building. They also hear via KXAN twitter feed that the house that the arsonist who set his house ablaze had trapped his wife and daughter inside.

1:32 pm – An internet posting found by AAS indicates that this was an act of anti-taxation-related violence on the part of Joseph Andrew Stack:

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

[...]

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

There’s more – a lot more. It will be hard to pigeonhole this guy’s politics – but I can assure you that people all over the political spectrum will be working posthaste to distance themselves from Stack’s madness.

1:39 pm – To clarify, KXAN indicates that Stack’s wife and stepdaughter were rescued from the burning house in which they were found.

1:42 pm – The plane was a Piper, not a Cirrus, and came from Georgetown airport, not Waco, according to AAS.

1:55 pm – Not much to clarify a casualty count yet. One person is unaccounted for from the building so far, and two people are known to have been transported to hospitals, according to myFoxAutin.

2:02 pm – President Obama has been briefed on the Austin crash, which so far is not being probed as an act of terrorism, says the AP. I know this guy wasn’t part of al Qaida or a white power group, but how can this not qualify as an act of terrorism given the obvious political motive, however nutty it was?

2:06 pm – Allahpundit at Hot Air already plays the “how can you call him a conservative” game. I don’t know, how about we call him neither a conservative nor a liberal? I mean, he’s raging against the IRS AND he considers President Bush a puppet. I think it’s fairer to say he’s part of that movement that drove Ron Paul’s presidential campaign – ideological chameleons who put a pox on everyone’s house but their own. Let’s stay out of the blame game stuff here can’t we?

2:51 pm – Allahpundit takes issue that I’m not condemning people on the left side of the aisle who are invoking this guy’s ranting. Allah, I’ve got nothing but love for you, so much love, in fact, that I want to note that while you may remain anonymous to the world, you’re a lot more important than whatever much more anonymous people are taking off at this guy’s supposed Tea Party credentials behind their secret DailyKos and DU identities. You’re a working blogger who is a critical node in new media; they’re just more noise in their own little echo chambers (chambers I don’t spend much time in). If Keith Olbermann gets on TV tonight and starts going on about how this guy proves that the Tea Party can’t stay away from violent overthrow of our government, I’ll be happy to lament it tomorrow.

2:53 pm – According to the AAS, one IRS tax collector is missing, and two people are injured in the hospital. If that’s the worst that comes to this in terms of lives lost, it is something of a miracle and we’re all very lucky today.


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    I'm waiting for the day when I can get the news directly into my brain. Until then, I'll be lit up by the electric glow of screens, chasing the latest breaking like the hopeless news junkie I am. Ever since the Encyclopaedia Britannica tried to launch a web portal ten years ago, I've seen many ends of the online news spectrum, from my time as a political news reporter for both RawStory.com and the Huffington Post to the better part of a year I spent running the late New York Sun's website. There have been a lot of other stops in between. Now I am your homepage editorial overlord. But I haven't let it go to my head. Yet.

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