Probst calls for civility in wake of 9-11 copycat crash

State Rep. Tim Probst was moved by Thursday’s deliberate crash of a single-engine plane into an IRS office building in Austin, Texas, to pen a plea for civility on his official legislative Web site.

Nearly 200 workers were in the building at the time. The crash killed the pilot, 53-year-old Joseph Stack, and at least one other person. Stack was furious with the IRS, according to the suicide note he left behind.

“This tragedy is all the more shocking because it mirrors the events of 9-11,” the 17th District Democrat wrote. “Our hearts go out to all of the families affected by this pointless act of violence.”

“While reflecting on this single incident,” he added, “it is important to consider the role of civility and respect in our democracy. The keystone of any democracy is a fundamental concern for our fellow human beings. All of them, even those who disagree with you.”

“Our economic crisis should not make us fall prey to fear, anger, hatred and division,” he continued. “We need to move forward with optimism and resolve.”

Instead, he said, “this latest incident strikes me as a symbol of our national trend toward angry and violent argument.”

Probst called on his constituents to “proactively reject fear and anger. Speak against it when you see it. Openly and repeatedly call for civil dialogue. Expect people to conduct themselves as adults, and as citizens of a nation that reveres respectful discourse.”

He said he almost chose not to write his plea, but added, “it is important for the calm and reasonable majority to speak up. So I will keep speaking up, and I hope you will too.”

Kathie Durbin

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