We don’t know what’s been going on since the government shutdown began, but it appears to be a time of stress for everyone. Just one day after a woman tried to drive through the barricades at the White House, a man has set himself on fire at the national mall.
The man poured a can of gasoline on himself in broad daylight and then lit himself on fire. Two men jogging by saw what happened, right near the National Air and Space Museum. They did what most people would do, take off their jackets to try and help the man, but there wasn’t much that they could do.
Police have no idea why the man chose to do this to himself. But setting oneself on fire in public is a method of protest used around the world. Some are seeing the protest as yet another indicator that there are some on the bottom of the economic well who are struggling due to major budget cuts and inadequate access to mental health services.
“I’m not aware of any signage or any articulation of any causes,” said Lt. Pamela Smith of the U.S. Park Police.
Oddly, the man said “thank you” to the joggers who tried to save him as he was being taken away to the hospital.
“A guy took his shirt off, ran over … (to) start trying to beat the flames out,” a witness told the New York Daily News. “A couple other joggers also stopped to help.”
One tourist says that the man was just “milling around” because of the government shutdown and everything was closed.