Did you ever see a kid walking down the street toss a McDonald’s
wrapper on the sidewalk, and your first reaction is to smack him? Ever
been cut off by a driver getting on Route 81, and your lesser self
contemplates chasing him up the ramp and running him off the road? What
about those people in line at the grocery store, who keep fumbling in
their pockets for the coupon for the yogurt that they thought was on
special, while your frozen peas melt and the line next to you zips
along smooth as silk? Only happens when you’re running late. Are you
feeling the rage?
We all have murderous thoughts. They are fleeting, momentary and for
the most part go unexpressed. Once in a while we might mutter to an
intimate a threat we would never voice in public. In a more relaxed
moment we would tell our boring stories of life’s little annoyances to
family members or bar mates. That’s called venting.
We don’t set our homes on fire, drive to the airport, gas up our
private plane and then fly it into a building. That’s what Joseph Stack
did in mellow little Austin, Texas, on Feb. 18. To avenge the
injustices perpetrated, in his view, by the tax man, he chose the
method made famous by Mohamed Atta and the 9/11 bombers, and in his
demented, self-justifying fury killed a gentle soul named Vernon
Hunter, who happened to be in the path of Stack’s rage.
All this happened in Austin, which is far enough from Syracuse, but
not far enough for Jon Alvarez. When not dressed up outside KFC in a
chicken outfit, Alvarez spends his lunch hour blabbing on WFBL-AM 1390,
a local talk radio station with a mostly conservative-leaning lineup of
Alvarez doesn’t seem to know the difference between ideas and
actions. He chose to set up a Facebook page and invite all of us to be
fans of the murderous Joseph Stack. “This guy was making a sacrifice to
others who were having problems with the IRS,” Alvarez was quoted as
saying. “We at least owed it to him to make note of his thoughts.”
A sacrifice? Alvarez is having trouble with the dictionary. When you
give of yourself, that’s called a sacrifice. When you take someone
else’s life, it’s called murder. And when that murder is for political
ends, it’s called terrorism.
If his name had been Nidal Hassan, would we be talking about his
“sacrifice”? How can anyone suggest that we become fans of Joseph
Stack, and how can any responsible broadcaster continue to support
someone who does? You can be a fan of Wesley Johnson; you can be a fan
of Sarah Palin. If you are a fan of this guy, you are endorsing murder,
which is what Alvarez did, his protests to the contrary.
Should we be fans of Timothy McVeigh? Should we be fans of the
Unabomber? Would you like to suggest that we understand the “legitimate
grievances” of these folks?
Alvarez also has been quoted as saying that this is just “the tip of
the iceberg.” Does this mean he has knowledge of others planning
similar crimes? Then, instead of telling us to sign up as fans to the
Austin murderer, maybe he should let the authorities know who these
potential murderers are. There is a line between responsible talk and
honoring a terrorist.
WFBL should be ashamed.
Fans of this guy? Fans?
Facebook, to its credit, yanked the tribute page on Feb. 23. Yet If
I weren’t so Facebook-challenged (I don’t think I will ever forgive
them for turning the noun “friend” into a verb, casting aside the
elegant and time tested “befriend” like a tattered napkin), I might
start a Facebook page called “I won’t listen to WFBL until they get rid
of Jon Alvarez.” (Go for it; there’s no copyright).
I do find myself agreeing with Alvarez on one thing. Alvarez
complained that the media spent too much time covering the Tiger Woods
apology and not enough time on the message of his fallen hero, Joseph
I too wish we did not have to listen to the coverage of Tiger Woods’
stilted apologies. I would much prefer listening to the apologies from
the sponsors of a show that elevates a murderer to the status of a
Read Ed Griffin-Nolan’s award winning commentary every week in the Syracuse New Times.