(Washington, DC 10/4)
Today, around 4:30 ET, a man set himself on fire on the Capitol Mall. The video, Man in Flames, reports that the man poured gasoline on himself, saluted in the direction of the Capitol, and set himself on fire.
Joggers stopped and put the flames out with their shirts.
Before being evacuated by medics, the burned man thanked the joggers for their help.
As the Capitol Hill Car Chase video shows, yesterday, Margaret Carey of Stamford, CT, crashed into barriers near the White House. After officers aimed their guns at her, she suddenly drove off toward the Capitol Building, pulled over when she arrived, exited her car, and was promptly shot by police. She had no weapon. Her one year old daughter was in the care with her the entire time. Police in her hometown found papers that she’d been prescribed risperidone, an anti-manic/anti-psychotic medication, that Carey was taking for sudden onset of postpartum depression.
The Capitol itself was locked down, as a bitter debate over the government shutdown was interrupted by echoes of shots, officers with guns and an urgent order to “shelter in place.” Washington Post, Oct 3
Could it be that the delusional and manic behavior of some in Congress is summoning those on the fringes to Washington to act out their distorted visions?
There is an interesting contrast in the events concerning the burning man and those of the dead mother. When passers by saw the man on fire, they knew what to do immediately. They put the fire out and sought help for the man. The man on fire behaved with extraordinary composure after the fire was put out. He thanked the joggers for their help.
In the car chase incident yesterday, the first reaction of the police was to draw their weapons. This may seem odd to the rest of the country. But, some of us who live in the area hear stories about friends turning into the wrong building only to be approached by heavily armed security guards, weapons drawn. That seems to be the first reaction – assume the worst. It may or may not be justified. However, in the car chase incident, the driver tried to end things peacefully. Ms. Carey stopped on her own, exited the vehicle with no signs of a weapon, and was dropped, immediately.
The lesson is simple. If you’re going to lose it in DC, make sure the first responders are citizens, not police. It’s a matter of life and death.