Just awful.

In Protest

A man who set himself on fire in front of the US Supreme Court to protest climate change died this week, according to an NBC report published yesterday.

Metro Police identified the man as Wynn Alan Bruce of Boulder, Colorado. Police said he died from his injuries on Saturday. According to NBC, Bruce started the incident at around 6:30 pm. Within minutes a medical helicopter took him to a local hospital, but he did not survive.

The man’s friends posted memories and farewells on his Facebook page in response to recent posts.

“This is heartbreaking,” one social media user who seems to have known Bruce posted on his page. I I meditated and danced with Wynn for many years and saw him as a kind and compassionate man. I don’t know his motive, but my take is that as activists, we have to be careful not to sacrifice ourselves for the cause. RIP Wynn!”

Long History

Although Bruce did not have any explicitly explanatory posts on his Facebook at the time of the incident, it’s likely he was inspired by previous examples of self-immolation, or setting oneself on fire to commit suicide, usually as a form of protest.

The most famous example of self-immolation occurred in Vietnam in 1963, when Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire on the streets of Saigon. Photos of the moment taken by Malcolm Browne won awards and remains one of the most recognizable photos in modern history.

NBC said no one else was hurt or endangered by the incident this week, and that the Supreme Court wasn’t in session at the time. It’s not clear if Bruce knew their schedule, but it’s possible he chose to self-immolate in a way that posed no threat to government officials.

Let’s hope those in power hear his message about climate change before it’s too late, because Bruce isn’t the only one upset about inaction in response to environmental dangers.

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