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Groups call Stack hero

 

AP

 

Wendy Cawthon

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Many Facebook members have probably noticed there are groups for just about any subject or topic imaginable, with everything from “Old Spice Guy on a Horse Fan Club” to “When I Was Your Age, Pluto Was A Planet.”

Most groups are ridiculous and pretty annoying, but they’re all in good fun.

But what happens when users start joining groups that openly support acts of violence?

That’s exactly what happened hours after Joseph Stack crashed his plane into a north Austin building Feb. 18. A woman created a Facebook group calling Stack a “true American hero.” The page also showed the image of the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake and a quote from Thomas Jefferson that said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Regardless of individual political views, that quote is pretty chilling. Group members began leaving startling comments, such as “His sacrifice was for all of us” and “We need more of you to make a stand.” Not only did the group support an attack on innocent people, the members also encouraged others to do the same.

It’s ironic that so many of the group members view Stack as following in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers, when he will likely go down in history as a domestic terrorist, which is just about as un-American as you can get.

Facebook took down the page pretty quickly, but it wasn’t the only one. There are currently about 20 groups dedicated to Joseph Stack, although most of them call him a terrorist or worse. But on almost every page, Facebook users are leaving long comments voicing their opinions on the subject, many of which echo the six page suicide note left on Stack’s Web site.

There’s a large number of people that seem more than willing to express their political views publicly on both sides of the subject, so those who really want to see change should encourage others to speak up, perhaps in a way more formal than Facebook comments. If history has taught us anything, peaceful protests or letters to government officials are more effective and certainly more welcome than public suicide. Contrary to Stack’s final letter, violence is not the answer.

 

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