It's tax season and everyone hates paying taxes, so in a way it was easy to shrug our shoulders at the attack on the Austin, Tex., IRS building last month. We might have even made a little joke that come tax time, we'd feel the urge to do the same thing ourselves.
But violence by those espousing extreme anti-government views is no joke, and it's time to stop putting the serious and growing threat of homegrown right-wing extremism - and the acts of violence it sometimes provokes - on the relative back burner, even as we sound the alarm bells every time we disrupt an attempted act of radical Islamic terrorism.
Yet some are doing exactly that. Elected politicians are pandering to this anti-government sentiment in order to gain the so-called Tea Party, populist, "stick it to the man" vote.
A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center states that "almost a decade after largely disappearing from public view, right-wing militias, ideologically driven tax defiers and sovereign citizens are appearing in large numbers around the country." Law enforcement has identified 50 new militia training groups, calling it "the most significant growth we've seen in 10 to 12 years."
Yet instead of unconditionally condemning Joe Stack - who flew that plane into the IRS building - as a suicide terrorist, a disturbing number of politicians have reasoned away or ignored his actions.