Climate activist dies after setting himself on fire outside US Supreme Court
A climate activist has died after setting himself on fire outside the US Supreme Court on Earth Day.
Wynn Alan Bruce, 50, suffered critical injuries after the incident at 6.30pm on Friday.
The photojournalist, from Colorado in the US, was airlifted to hospital but died on Saturday.
Capitol Police, Supreme Court police, and DC police all responded to the incident.
Capitol Police tweeted: “A medical helicopter just landed near the Capitol for a medical emergency. This is not a public safety issue.”
Mr Bruce, who had been in charge of a portrait photo studio in the city of Boulder, spoke about his passion for the environment and Buddhism in his posts on social media.
He also left a post on his Facebook page before he died that included a fire emoji and the date of his death, 4/22/2022.
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- Supreme Court
Mr Bruce appeared to be a member of the Shambala, which is a Buddhist organisation based in Boulder.
He often shared quotes from Buddhist teachers such as Chögyam Trungpa.
His final post on 28 March said: “This is not humour. IT is all about breathing. Clean air matters.”
Death planned for a year
Earth Day is an annual celebration on 22 April.
It aims to act as a reminder to protect the environment, restore damaged ecosystems and live a more sustainable life.
Dr K Kritee, a Buddhist priest from Boulder, said that Mr Bruce had been planning to self-immolate for at least a year.
She wrote on Twitter: “This guy was my friend. He meditated with our sangha.
“This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for at least one year. #wynnbruce I am so moved.”
Dr Kritee also shared a quote from Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hạnh about the Vietnamese setting themselves on fire in protest at the Vietnam War in the 1960s.
The quote said: “To express will by burning oneself, therefore, is not to commit an act of destruction but to perform an act of construction, that it, to suffer and die for the sake of one’s people.”