In the Dallas, Texas suburbs, a man stands accused of trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline. Authorities say Anson Chi detonated a bomb at a natural gas regulator station last week: he was critically injured as a result; the station and pipeline fared much better, experiencing only minor damage.
In the wake of this act of alleged pipeline vandalism, Chi’s anti-government sentiments have become apparent. He had posted pages and pages of comments online railing against income tax and the banking system: he even filmed himself ripping up a 1040 tax form, arguing that there is no law requiring average American citizens to pay income tax. “I will not file, nor will I pay a single penny in income tax until I see the law,” Chi said in the video.
Talking of tax, the UK press recently uncovered that one of the nation’s favourite comedians had been paying a puny 1% tax on his (quite substantial) earnings, by using a ‘legal loophole’. Jimmy Carr’s accountant was instructed to file taxes in the channel island of Jersey (which is not part of the UK and is therefore a ‘tax haven’ for UK citizens). Carr, presenter of humorous current affairs panel shows and quiz shows, has since apologised for what Prime Minister David Cameron blasted as his “morally wrong” tax arrangement.
Now, as far as I am aware, Mr Carr hadn’t expressed any particular opposition to the systems of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, but this didn’t stop him exploiting a loophole in British law and escaping the tax that millions of ordinary people pay. Equally, I’m not sure if Mr Chi ever aired any particular views about the oil and gas industry in his rants, but this didn’t stop him from attacking the pipeline with a home-made bomb.
Sometimes our anger is misdirected and sometimes our actions have consequences that we don’t acknowledge. The pipeline company is not the US government, is not the income tax system, is not the banking practice. We must be clear on this: the oil and gas industry is not a universal bad guy you can hit at when you want a fight.
Chi’s comments in a 2007 online radio interview may help explain the way he sees it: “It’s not just the IRS. It’s also the government and the federal reserve. It’s everything tied together, and they’re all working as one. And so, you can’t just attack one part of the dragon, you’ve got to attack the whole dragon and slay the head off.”