Man Sets Himself On Fire in Protest of Fur Store, Dies

01/29/2010 1:33 PM |

burning monk

A man set himself on fire Wednesday, in Portland, outside of a fur store. Witnesses heard him screaming, “There are animals dying! Animals dying!” He later died from his burns. The great ugly sea of anonymous internet commenters and other “real Americans” are enjoying the opportunity for jokes, none of which I will repeat here.

I’m just kind of amazed by this. Clearly, anyone prepared to immolate themselves has a degree of mental instability that none of us can really understand. Then again, living happily in a society that has elevated cruelty to such mind-numblingly euphemized, hyper-industrialized efficiency, requires an awful lot of willful ignorance—maybe we should all be a little more unhinged. (Warning, those links are pretty intense, but hey, this stuff is happening in our own backyards…)

George Bernard Shaw summed up the cognitive dissonance inherent in the way we treat animals: “While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?”

7 Comment

  • Its not ignorance. Most people know all about it, we just don’t care. Well I wouldnt say that theres no care, but you need to get your priorities in order. If you cant get passed the fur trade then youre not much help to the human condition. What did this guy do but ruin the credibility of activists even further.

  • Yes, let’s get our priorities in order: step one, stop treating the tortured husk of a wild animal as a luxury item. That would be pretty easy really, in terms of the Big Priority List of Things We Should Care About in Order To Help the Human Condition, because caring is a zero sum virtue that needs to be meticulously rationed, also.

  • the guy who set fire to himself was probably one of the few sane people in this insane world where animals are tortured (and often skinned alived) by the millions per year so people can buy garbage that makes them feel trendy for a little while. http://www.furisdead.com. The activist has my sympathy. RIP.

  • Sympathy, indeed. Food for thought, definitely. “One of few sane people in this insane world,” though? Let’s not get carried away.

  • I’m a vegetarian, and don’t wear fur or leather, but thought I should point out this line on the oregonlive.com website – “Though Shaull set himself on fire near Nicholas Ungar Furs at 1137 S.W. Yamhill St.

  • I’m all for more treating these animals more justly, but I know people that have been dehumanized, threatened and harassed by PETA. One individual I know was woken up at 5am to phone calls telling him that his kid would be kidnapped from school and killed. I have seen PETA verbally attack children whose parents wore fur. They would hand them violent images of cartoon bunnies being ripped in half with blood oozing out all the while why yelling at them that their parents were “bunny killers.” Its one thing to fight for what you believe in, its another thing to impose on other people’s liberties and legal rights. If PETA wants to gain any ground in my mind, it needs to gain some morals (which is especially ironic because it is an organization that fights for better morals toward animals).

  • I just happened upon this story while browsing through the local news website in Kansas. The story caught my eye so I began to read it. Sadly, to my horror, I happened to have known this man. I worked with him as a Direct Care Staff in two homes he lived in that were managed by our local mental health facility. All I will say out of respect for Daniel is that he was indeed a VERY ill man. He was never once harmful to any of the other consumers or staff. He was actually very kind, nice, and quiet…which is why, I suppose, he stuck in my memory. This story is devastating to me, to see the demons that Daniel tried so hard to fight finally took control. It deeply disturbs me the comments that some of you are making. He was a person just like you and me. He had a family, feelings, friends, you have no idea the pain hundreds of thousands of Americans are in everyday struggling with mental illness. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family. God bless.