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Man Sets Himself On Fire On National Mall

Submitted by on October 5, 2013 – 8:32 amOne Comment

A man was airlifted to a Washington area hospital yesterday after setting himself on fire on the National Mall. The very public self-immolation comes just a day after a woman was shot to death trying to ram a White House gate and Capitol Hill barriers with her car, and less than a month after a mass shooting at the city’s Navy Yard.

Multiple witnesses say the man doused himself with gasoline from a canister before lighting himself on fire. Passersby used their clothing to try to smother the flames. The man was reported in critical condition last night, and has still not been identified.

The National Mall is a large park and walkway in Washington DC that stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument is roughly in the middle. Many museums line the mall, and the man was located near the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Self-immolation was sometimes used as a protest during the Vietnam conflict, after a Buddhist monk lit himself on fire in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the regime’s persecution of Buddhists. Several Americans imitated the act, including one man who lit himself on fire in front of the Secretary of Defense’s office at the Pentagon.

The woman killed at the Capitol yesterday has been identified as Miriam Carey, a dental hygenist from Connecticut. Her sister has told the media Carey was struggling with mental illness, but “didn’t appear to be unstable.”


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