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Why is it always a white guy: The roots of modern, violent rage - Salon.com


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Like many other guys these days, Stack was mad as hell. Yes, he flipped out, and yes, he was probably clinically insane. But such arm-chair diagnoses miss the method in his madness, the logic of his psychotic break with reality. Stack considered himself a victim of the impersonal forces that wreak havoc with the lives and the futures of America’s middle and working classes—the labyrinthine impersonal governmental bureaucracies and the impenetrable corporations whose CEOs and shareholders were lavishly compensated. Joe Stack was Joe Sixpack, Joe Lunchbucket, Joe the Plumber. He was a New Economy Everyman. Everything piled up on him, and he just lost it.

So Joe Stack “went postal,” as that new phrase coined during the Reagan era put it, named after that spate of rampage murders in which US Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, supervisors, and fellow workers. Between 1986 and 1997, forty people were murdered in at least twenty incidents involving postal workers. Before 1986—nary a one. What happened?

Reaganomics happened. Under a Reagan-era policy, the USPS stopped receiving federal tax moneys starting in the early 1980s and was pushed to streamline its operations to maximize efficiency, including cutting wages, firing staff, and slashing benefits. The workers who went postal were all post-office workers who had been laid off or downsized or had their benefits slashed.

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