Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

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Self-Immolation in Rockford

old news but apparently not reported here -
27 year old activists sets himself on fire at local mall on the busiest shopping day of the year, yelling "let freedom ring"
Last Friday, on the busiest shopping day of the year, an activist by the name of Richard Lewis, 27 years old, handcuffed himself to the second floor balcony railing at Cherryvale Mall, the largest mall in the Rockford Area, doused himself with a flammable liquid, set himself on fire, and (unsuccessfully) tried throwing himself over the railing, yelling "Let freedom ring" over and over. The local media just quoted him as saying "freedom" but an eyewitness who is a personal acquaintance of mine told me what she heard, which was "Let Freedom Ring." Mr. Lewis, who suffered burns on 40% of his body, was still in critical condition at a Chicago area hospital (I think Loyola University Hospital, but I do not have the local paper's articles on this in front of me at the moment).

Mr Lewis is a longtime dedicated activist who has spent the last several years on the west coast involved with various organizations out there. He also mainatains an internet site about political causes, however, the URL, like the exact hospital he is at escapes me at the moment. (I was expecting to find out more information on here, but when looking for it discovered noone had even reported it here, so please forgive my unpreparedness - I felt that this was of enough intrest to the local community that specific details could follow later)

The local corporate media quoted his mother as saying he was "mentally unstable" "crazy" and "borderline schizophrenic" altho it also said that she had not spoken to him in years.

The local independent media (The Rock River Times) is a weekly and has not published an edition since last week, So I do not yet know what it has to say, though it should be interesting, as one of the columnists, Stanley Campbell (a local peace activist), knows Mr. Lewis personally.
New issue comes out tomorrow, and I expect it to have a bit more information on this affair.
(I am not affiliated with them, by the way, I'm just a reader)



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