War Protestor's Public Suicide in Chicago Went Unnoticed by Media:
At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 -- four days before an election caused a seismic shift in Washington politics-- Ritscher, a frequent anti-war protester, stood by an off-ramp in downtown Chicago near a statue of a giant flame, set up a video camera, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire.This story touches me deeply because I am personally aware of the pain that this unjust war has caused many good, caring souls. One friend had to stop blogging for months, he told me, because it was psychologically damaging.
Aglow for the crush of morning commuters, his flaming body was supposed to be a call to the nation, a symbol of his rage and discontent with the U.S. war in Iraq.
"Here is the statement I want to make: if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country," he wrote in his suicide note. "... If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."
There was only one problem: No one was listening.
It took five days for the Cook County medical examiner to identify the charred-beyond-recognition corpse. Meanwhile, Ritscher's suicide went largely unnoticed. It wasn't until a reporter for an alternative weekly, the Chicago Reader, pieced the facts together that word began to spread.
Even bloggers get the blues. Here's Georgia10 from Kos, Atrios , Digby, and Eric Alterman.
Compare all that with this guy, 19-year-old history major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut:
“I definitely don’t know anyone who would want to fight in Iraq. But beyond that, I get the feeling that most people at school don’t even think about the war. They’re more concerned with what grade they got on yesterday’s test.”