Did Vandalism or Wind Claim An IRS Sign Downtown?
||Washington Post (DC)
||Thursday, March 31, 2011
The facts: A sign outside the Internal Revenue Service headquarters was beheaded last month.
The hypothesis: A District resident, furious about paying federal taxes while being denied equal representation in Congress, took a sledgehammer to a small symbol of America’s most mind-boggling constitutional inconsistency.
The official IRS response: The wind did it.
You know the sign. Or you know the type. If you work for or near a federal agency, you see them everywhere downtown: The signs are thin and 10 feet tall, with a slight convex curve toward their tops, like a legion of shadowy soldiers with poor posture. White lettering spells out the agency name on a black surface bleached by the sun. The official name for them is “molded fiberglass monolithic facility identification signs” and they were installed around the city in the mid-to-late-’70s.
They look bland and procedural and definitely of the post-Watergate era. And they look and feel sturdy. Like it would take a hurricane to snap one in half. Winds did reach 65 mph on Feb. 25 in the D.C. area, and the IRS says it has security footage of the ensuing decapitation-by-Mother Nature at the southwest corner of 12th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.
They will not show the footage to us.
Engineering professors at the universities of Maryland and Virginia say that wind cannot be ruled out as a culprit.
The hypothesis persists. A visual hiccup in the federal facade and the approaching specter of Tax Day are reasons enough for conspiracy theorizing.
“Vandalism,” says Russell McInturff, who was visiting from Lubbock, Tex., a couple of weeks ago, as he passed the sign.
Vandalism, agrees the rest of his family as they wait for the light to change at 12th and Constitution.
“Because it’s the IRS.”
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