A man set himself on fire Wednesday outside Ungar Furs in Portland, Oregon. After dousing himself with gasoline, he attempted to enter the store, shouting “There are animals dying! Animals dying!” After police extinguished the flames, he was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he later died. The man was identified as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull from Kansas. Among the local activists I have spoken to, none are familiar with Shaull by name, nor recognized him as being a part of the active, long-running campaign against Ungar Furs. Yet the location and witness reports strongly indicate this man sacrificed himself to bring attention to the horrific treatment of animals on fur farms…..
2. The Defendants have literally gotten away with murder…
The courts are no friend to underdogs. They are ostensibly objective, but ultimately, they exist to protect the “rights” of the rich and powerful to bully the rest of the world, including the poor, minorities, immigrants, the working class, and, last but not least, nonhuman sentients and those who fight for them. Grand juries, which are often witch hunts and sometimes violate their victims’ Constitutional rights by imprisoning them indefinitely without charging them with a crime, and stalking orders, which are becoming frequently employed tools of judicial over-reach and creative law enforcement, are the repressive measures of choice that the corporate-state is using to attempt to intimidate and shut-down legal, above-ground animal rights activists….
Nuancing this sacrifice correctly is going to be a challenge to the AR movement, particularly activists in Portland because, even though Daniel may have wanted to the horrible things being done to animals (albeit rodents, we're often reminded), the attention has been on the burning of oneself.
This is the year 2010. Are YOU still eating and wearing dead animals? [If so, grunt !] It's time for a profound change in our understanding of our moral relationships with self-aware persons of all kinds, not merely symbolic readjustments or the same-old same-old dismissive marginalizations.