The expression “going postal” is well-known and relates to a series of high-profile shooting sprees by employees of the U.S. Postal Service – where they flipped out, obtained a gun (in many states of America, these can be obtained in six-packs from “Guns ‘R’ Us” – soon they will be able to obtain them at 7-11) and proceeded to blast away at their colleagues.
However, this activity is not limited to the postal service – in fact, the prevalence is higher in other industries – it is just that the Postal Service is considered innocuous and therefore, when their sorting offices became more like the OK Corral, it garnered attention.
So what DRIVES people to suddenly go ape-sh*t and take it out on their fellow man?
Well that is not hard to see. Our modern World is dominated by large, faceless corporations, self-serving bureaucrats and other organisations whose prime directive appears to be to find as many ways as they can to f*ck with us.
And how can you respond to this constant assault? “Call-centres”, that is how. Except most of those centres are merely peopled by poor shlubs like US – the REAL bastards are tucked away where only the likes of Michael Moore can find them – usually on the golf-course.
So, filled with fury and hatred acquired through YEARS of dealings with banks, employers, tax inspectors, teachers, cops and rude shop-assistants – every now and then, someone SNAPS and goes on the rampage. And it is people like YOU who face the result.
People debate over what makes a killer. But while MOST killers are morons who lack the grey matter to appreciate the enormity of taking a human life – or psychotics who lack the reason – the fact is, push ANYONE far enough and we ALL have the power within us. It is merely a question of having the right buttons pushed often enough.
And when someone DOES finally explode, our System is geared to dismiss them as nut-jobs – and we tut-tut and struggle on with our lives.
But while YOU may think you are only at risk of some OTHER guy blowing up – think again. Sure, you are a SANE person. Intelligent. A person of understanding and sensitivity. Except, so was Joe Stack – right up to the time he set fire to his house, then flew his Piper Dakota into his local Austin, Texas tax office, earlier this year.
The event being in America, at first everyone assumed the incident was another terrorist attack – in fact, even Wiki describes him, erroneously, as a terrorist – but then, a number of people read Joe’s “mission statement”.
In the past, suicide notes were rarely made public. But we live in The Age Of Information. Joe POSTED his note on the WEB.
And it made interesting reading. It showed the guy was NOT a loony. He was an intelligent, reasonable, hard-working man whose buttons had just been pushed one time too MANY.
He could have been ME – or YOU.
True, he was still dismissed by most as a head-case. But his gesture had its desired effect. Along with injuring a dozen people, he took OUT an Infernal Revenue Service manager – one Vernon Hunter. Whether Vern was a good guy in a bad job (such jobs quickly corrupt the best of us) or a right bastard, we will never know. But Joe had certainly sent him a MESSAGE.
Of course, incidents like the Stack one are rare. The excrescences who plague us with their poison mostly get AWAY with it. Backed by the System that corrupted them from the decent human beings they once were, they prevail.
And you and me – for the moment – are reduced to listening to piped music on another bloody call-centre line. But one day… ONE DAY…
Footnote: if you would like to READ Joe’s statement – you can find it on http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/us/20100218-stack-suicide-letter.pdf