Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm bored and unhappy - think I'll set my self on fire

SEATTLE – A 61-year-old former University of Washington staff member doused himself with gasoline and set himself ablaze Thursday in the midst of a crowded campus plaza. He died a short time later.

NVDL: I think to get to this point where setting yourself on fire seems like a bright idea, means you are so immersed in thoughts that you're essentially not connected with reality. Reality is that burning is pretty painful. Ever burned a finger? Now imagine a whole arm, chest, legs, your face.

My guess is the guy felt fully alive moments before he died. And then he thought: "Damn." This is about the failure to imagine beyond the humdrum of ego-based thought. It's a failure to be aware of one's own consciousness, of being alive.
clipped from
Police carry fire extinguishers from the scene of where a 61-year-old man poured

"Everyone was eyeing him because we couldn't comprehend that he was actually pouring gas on himself," Preston said.

One onlooker ran toward the man in an apparent attempt to stop him, but slipped on the liquid before he could reach him, witnesses said.

Student Dan Kim said the man, who appeared to be alone, "lit a match and all of a sudden everything went up in flames, including himself. He dropped down onto the ground. He was rolling on the ground."

Several people, including student Peter Chung, rushed toward the man and tried to smother the flames with their jackets, shirts and other clothing. A few ran to get fire extinguishers, he said.

"A bunch of us used our water bottles to try to kill the fire," Chung said.

One man took off his jeans and stood in his boxers trying to douse the flames, witnesses said.

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