What the Heck is Going On in DC?!

First we have the actions of the Conservative Wing of the Republican Party. Then we have the unfortunate incident of the mother who attempted to crash into the White House and the Capitol. AND NOW SOMEONE SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE ON THE NATIONAL MALL?!

From the CNN link:

Washington (CNN) — Law enforcement and medical personnel rushed to Washington’s National Mall on Friday afternoon to assist a man who reportedly set himself on fire.

Officer Hugh Carew, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said the initial report was the man was conscious and breathing. Carew could not confirm how the fire had started.

Adam Stifel saw part of the incident as he was running.

“I saw a man sitting in flames,” Stifel told CNN. “He had already doused himself in gasoline, I believe.”

Stifel said five or six people used their shirts to pat out the fire. He said he saw a red gasoline canister near the man.

The incident occurred near the National Air and Space Museum. The man was airlifted out to receive medical care.

Seriously, what is going on?! Full moon? Deep national angst? Freud’s Death Drive?

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Matt Bernius
About Matt Bernius
Matt Bernius is a design researcher working to create more equitable government systems and experiences. He's currently a Principal User Researcher on Code for America's "GetCalFresh" program, helping people apply for SNAP food benefits in California. Prior to joining CfA, he worked at Measures for Justice and at Effective, a UX agency. Matt has an MA from the University of Chicago.


  1. Jim T. says:

    If D.C. were a match-free zone, this never would have happened.


  2. Gustopher says:

    I hope the guy has good medical insurance.

  3. John Peabody says:

    I blame George W.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    If he’d been carrying a gun, he could have prevented this.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Matt, the most distressing part of all of the angst in Washington is that at least statistically people there have less to worry about than people in most other parts of the country do.

  6. dazedandconfused says:

    Be interesting to know if that guy has been watching the speeches being made in the House on CSPAN this week.

  7. RGardner says:

    He wanted his 5 minutes of flame.

    (OK, groan)

  8. C. Clavin says:

    An apt comparison…the Tea Baggers and a mentally unstable person.