Tragedy at Utah’s Element 11 Regional Burn

bm_logoThis past Saturday, a person lost his life at the Element 11 Arts Festival in Grantsville, Utah. Element 11 is part of the Burning Man Regional Network, a group of organizations officially affiliated with Burning Man. A version of the event, which culminates with the burning of a large wooden effigy, has been held each year since 1998. The victim, who has been identified as a Salt Lake City resident in his thirties, broke through an established safety perimeter and entered the flames of the burning art piece.

This is obviously a terribly difficult and sad event for the global Burning Man community, the dedicated organizers of Element 11, and most especially for those who witnessed it. Our thoughts and prayers today are with the victim’s family and the Utah Burner community.

Many people came together to create a safe and enjoyable event celebrating community, art and creativity. While this is a heavy blow, we’re heartened by the fact that we’ve already seen the Burning Man community reaching out to those affected with offers of support.

For our part, our leadership has been in touch with the leadership of the Utah Regional, and we will be doing everything we can to support the community through this difficult time.

An investigation is currently underway by local law enforcement, and more information will be made available in the coming days and weeks.

Here’s some news coverage of the event:

And here’s the official statement from the event’s organizers (released Sunday, July 13):

“We acknowledge there was indeed a fatality last night at Element 11 (Utah’s regional). This is a deeply upsetting event with tragic results. Our hearts go out to the Utah community and to the attendees of Element 11. This is a tragic event, and we struggle to respond to it. We ask for your patience while we find the appropriate resources, but please know that we are committed to supporting those affected by this event in the best way we can.”

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Chris Wallace. His family has set up an online donation campaign, if you’d like to make a contribution to help pay for his funeral and end of life costs.

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Burning Man Project

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39 Comments on “Tragedy at Utah’s Element 11 Regional Burn

  • G says:

    That was some totally radical self expression!
    It is unfortunate that he did not consider how much pain, hurt, and overall buzzkill his actions inflicted on others. Here is hoping his family, friends and fellow burners successfully cope with this event.

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  • Jessica Jenesaisquoi says:

    He mooped himself in my soul forever. I can’t unsee his burning body, can’t Unfeel the horrific terror of seeing him jauntily launch himself into the fire. In a strange way, however, I take comfort in having seen firsthand how joyfully one can leap into death. He looked like he was having the time if his life. No pain, just utter joy.

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  • Will Chase says:

    [Editor’s Note: Some comments were removed, as they violated our comment policy. Please conduct this discussion with respect for everybody involved.]

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  • Alix Txé says:

    **** John Christopher Wallace!!! <3 you will always be in our ETERNAL FLAME!!! Still, I would rather have kept you alive ONE MORE DAY………………. This year's Man's and Temple's Fire Perimeters will be so SOLiD!!! We will ever so lovingly watch out for one another………………. <3 <3 <3 )'( <3 <3 <3

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  • Micah says:

    What is a person like Janice doing at an event like this (besides party vibing)? I’m always amazed at how much I take away from the maturity, grace and intelligence of the people I meet at Burner events. I wonder what you take away, Janice

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  • LEMUR says:

    When it is said that the ‘leadership’ will ‘be doing everything [they] can to support the community’ would that include helping with any legal fees and/or providing legal counsel if that is needed?

    This isn’t the first time someone has broken through ‘an established safety perimeter and entered the flames of [a] burning art piece’ at a Burning Man related event. Perhaps Burning Man et al. need to rethink what an established safety perimeter is.

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  • Papa Naughty says:

    Lemur and others have this underlying disdain for “the leadership”. I say get off it.
    If one intends to take his own life, it is a waste of potential future good, but none the less the right of one to do so. Just don’t include those that don’t want to be a part of your death art piece. Don’t fuck with my burn!

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  • Shannon says:

    He’s an example of what can happen when you do drugs. He wasn’t suicidal. He wasn’t trying to make a statement. He wad just high and fascinated by the flames, which is why he didn’t scream as he died. I just wish someone could have saved him and his family the hell he suffered. Prayers my Brother.

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  • g says:

    @ Shannon

    Drugs? Could be, but do you have any substantiation?

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  • Kathryn says:

    Whether this was deliberate suicide or drug induced euphoric suicide is a moot point. As adult human beings we are capable of conscious thought and decision making and are also responsible for the outcomes of the decisions. Regardless of the reason, this man made a choice which resulted in his death. Festival leadership, friends, family members, drug dealers nor anyone else is responsible for his choice.
    There are repercussions for witnesses of this death as well as his friends and family members and they are tough and painful or for some as already expressed possibly bittersweet / sadly beautiful.
    Let us remember though that EVERYONE’S action’s every day impact for good or ill the lives of those around them. We must each deal with the impact of the choices of those around us daily, but every single person who touched your life isn’t coming by your house everyday for a pat on the back thank you or a punishment.
    We are each responsible for what we put into the world and equally responsible to make our own choices as to how to handle what others put out there that touches us.
    You can choose to look at the mud or the stars it’s up to you.

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  • Red says:

    Sad that it happened. Some people use drugs and alcohol to have a good time, but taking too much can bring out serious problems. People that have taken too much are often not aware that they have done too much and it then becomes the responsibility of everyone else to provide a safe place for that individual until the drugs and alcohol wear off. It would seems VERY likely that drugs were involved because a sober/sane/rational person would not do that. It was several years ago that I attended BM @ BRC and was impressed at the effort and services the organizers provided for those that have done too much drugs/alcohol. They (BM org) cannot do everything, but all participants must not only do their part to leave no trace and be radically self sufficient -we must also ensure that the experience stays safe for those few that have temporarily lost touch with reality and could be seriously injured or killed by fire, vehicle accidents, falls from elevated structures etc.

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  • Corvus says:

    So, what would your standards be on an adequate established safety perimeter be? How about cops and rangers standing shoulder to shoulder armed with batons? How about a ten-foot high fence topped with razor wire? Either of those would pretty well stop anyone from casting themselves into the flames. Neither of those would be a burn I’d like to watch or participate in.

    Criticism is easy; solutions are harder to come by.

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  • jakie says:


    I think it’s about time for these large sponsored fire events to end. It was fine for a while, but they’re totally out of control now. A guy kills himself, and the first thing people think about is how to protect the corporation from liability.

    We’ve entered amateur hour. I think that comes after jumping the shark.

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  • Scott Williams says:

    This is very sad. I think we should show respect for Mr. Wallace, his family and friends and I ask Burning Man to please turn-off comments to this blog post.

    Thank you.

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  • spangler says:


    I think thats going a bit far, don’t you? Now if this were a regular occurrence or hordes of people committed suicide in the burning mans every year then that would raise some concern about the culture surrounding these events. But as of yet that is not the case.

    What is surprising to me is that something like this hasn’t happened sooner, given the sheer numbers of people who have participated in these things over the past 20 years or so. Suicides are often committed as a way to get attention; what a better way to get attention than to jump in a fire in front of hundreds or thousands of people.

    So I actually think the record of the burning man type events are pretty good from a number point of view

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  • Sharon Spade Hart says:

    Lost soul dancing into the fire, your heart’s desire. Why should we weep? Your soul rose with the flames in swirling splendor, and forever lives with us as dust in the wind.

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  • Aaron Schmitt says:

    I am not sure if the leadership aspects of Elemenent11 are helping to provide any legal funds… but there is a crowd funding page to help with his widow and family pay for funeral and end of life costs. We as burners may not be able to bring his life back but we all can help our community in the healing process…

    <3 & Light

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  • Ben says:

    I was there. I was acquainted with Chris. Fortunately, I turned my head and, while looking away from the effigy for 10 seconds or so, I missed seeing this tragic occurrence. I knew something was wrong from feeling (more than hearing) the entire crowd gasp. I turned my head and saw firefighters running toward the flames and people screaming, “NO!!!” This all happened so very quickly. The way it affected the entire atmosphere of the event was incredible. Everything was turned completely upside down. It made me realize just how much each of us matter to each other. It was simultaneously awful and transformational.

    To the point of tightening down perimeter security by erecting fences and other solid barriers, I wholeheartedly disagree. Life is dangerous. If somebody decides it’s time to go, they could just as easily (much more easily) run into a busy interstate highway. It’s totally unreasonable to think every potential element of danger should be removed from life. This was an event for adults who have free-will. We make choices and we live with them. Nobody was at fault for this death. It was a person’s choice.

    All that being said, I wish I would have bumped into him that day, had a conversation, spent some time with him and possibly made some impression or had an affect that would have changed those sequence of events…. It’s nice to think that I maybe could have had that sort of power….

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  • Carolyn Lojik says:

    What makes me Sad is the Utah Fire Tribe Performers got robbed there Show was so great and the whole suicide drama stole there moment My Daughter is one of the Fire Performer’s she has been working her Ass off to Pull off one hell of a show And it was one hell of a Show. It horrifies me that Mr. Wallace chose to take his life in the manner he did and make so many of us witness his demise. My heart goes out to his family And for the Sorrow he must have been feeling. Although I have no tolerance for his choice to go out the way he did. So many Beautiful people were in attendance no one should have scared there beautiful souls not like that.

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  • Michael Williams says:

    As a former suicide hotline counselor who has talked to hundreds if not thousands of suicidal folks all I can say is how sorry I am for his family and the folks that had to witness that, those who tried to help stop him despite how sudden and impossible that task was. I strongly urge you all to seek out support from friends, family and professionals.

    I’ve read so many comments about as well as descriptions of what happened. It’s sad but understandable to hear the various reactions about how it ruined the party or that he did such a bad thing by doing that in front of so many people. People react in all kinds of ways after a tragedy, sometimes in ways that seem inappropriate. Same for overly glorifying what he did or projecting philosophical/religious/spiritual aspects on to his behavior, by saying he was dancing or had a look of joy on his face.

    Bottom line is a full explanation may never be available, although those near him may have information that helps point to a more fully formed idea of what happened.

    Hearing that his arms were flailing or windmilling as he approached makes me think ketamine, but I refuse to watch the video to know more. I’ve seen that kind of overly physical activity on the playa for those under the influence. I’m inclined to think it’s very likely he was on a drug but acknowledge I have no way of knowing for certain.

    I’ve been at burns where people have suicided intentionally. We have no way of knowing whether this was intentional. It’s a cautionary type of incident, in any event, whether’s it’s about doing too much drugs, or being aware of (and acting upon, even it kills your buzz) erratic behavior of festival attendees (ALWAYS an issue), or just the seductive appeal of overly romanticizing this or attributing some sort of spiritual symbolism to it. It’s unfortunate and tragic and not unexpected and I just hope those traumatized and otherwise affected by it get the help they need.

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  • Jeff Kuryk says:

    Observing extraordinarily gruesome events can lead to emotional damage such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the event of someone immolating themselves, turn away, plug your ears and return promptly to your camp. Do not listen to people describing what they saw or look at photos or videos. (I worked as a psychologist in a mental health clinic for 30 years and learned how truly fragile people are.)

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  • Jesse says:

    You are all so ignorant. Chris Wallace was my husbands cousin. Posting these assumptions and judgements on an internet website is so direspectful to the young man who lost his life and his family. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

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  • Mosquito (David Skeeter) says:


    I don’t believe we have met; we may never. Still, I *am* sorry and regretful for all of the badness Chris Wallace’s death causes your family. I know that will continue for a very long time. I hope that all of you can find the strength, assistance, and love to make it through to the next, better segment of life, where ever that might be up ahead.

    But, I ask you not to shame us. Though most of us *are* ignorant of the facts about who Chris Wallace was and why this happened, we are caring and compassionate. The people who read this know that they and a hundred thousand others are affected by this. It will have an impact on how things will be. The people who are posting here do so because they care. Talking about it helps people deal with it emotionally and sharing ideas and perspectives is intended to help find ways to make it make sense.

    Take care.

    Okis ce.

    — David

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  • Piko says:

    suicide is many things: self-expression, an end to pain, incredibly selfish, but as i see it, the individuals ultimate decision. how we, the survivors, it’s up to us how to deal with the aftermath. we can remember those that take their lives with fondness, or vilify them. i choose to remember the good and move on.

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  • Randy says:

    Mr Wallace was not the victim here, those of us who had to see it are. Seems to me that while technically the event ended in suicide, this was more a horrifying display Mr Wallace put on for hundreds to see. I can’t help but speculate about what drugs he was on… I guess you had to see it with your own eyes. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I have little sympathy for the “Victim.” And it makes me sick to see some glorifying him. No disrespect to the family, but he did not “lose” his life. The only disrespect was what he did to us.

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  • Jennifer says:

    @Ben. I am intrigued by your final comment, that thinking you might have been able to change something, or help, gives you hope, rather than regret or frustration. I am going to ponder how believing I might have had a power I didn’t get to exercise can give me strength rather than guilt or hopelessness at my lack of control. Thank you for putting a nice reframe it out there for consideration.

    @Jesse. I am truly sorry for your loss and understand that you are hurt and angry, but asking those who are affected by a tragedy not to discuss it and reach out to others for help and support is decidedly unfair, and shaming them for doing this mature and responsible thing is inappropriate. I have no insight into your cousin’s death, but I am a trauma counsellor; sharing is one of the best methods of alleviating the effects of witnessing (and thus being a part of) traumatic circumstances. All those who were there and/or were otherwise touched by this horrific image are legitimate survivors and as entitled to their grieving as any direct family member. You have no right to refuse it to them. I hope you find a way to get the support you need as well. Our response to events is unpredictable, but talking to someone, anyone, about it – directly or online – is an effective way of alleviating some of the emotional consequences that otherwise harm us by eroding our spirit.

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  • Jon says:


    I completely agree. It’s a shame that this person took his life, but, he was an adult and made an adult choice. Whether he was drugged out, drunk, naturally euphoric, or absolutely normal (as normal can be), he needs to be held accountable for his own actions.

    Point being, I feel more sorrow for his family, and for the people in attendance who witnessed this, than I have for Chris.

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  • Robert Rolfe says:

    I have gone to BM @ BRC 23 times, this year will make my 24th. Due to my work with BM I have gotten inside the burn circle of both the MAN and the TEMPLE. Several times I and other people with me have had to move back away from the fires. I am sorry for the loss of life, however I do think he must have had some drugs in him, by his fault or others I do no know.

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  • Bill Foreman says:

    It is very rare, but not unheard of, that someone somehow becomes entranced by fire and just walks into it and dies. It happened at one of the pumping stations on the Alaska pipeline. The man simply walked into a roaring inferno of a burning building and died. If you see someone heading toward a big fire, it would be a good idea to tackle him or her and get help to drag that person to safety. The person can’t stop on his or her own. Alcohol or other drugs aren’t necessarily a factor. And I wouldn’t call it suicide.

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  • A Nony Mouse says:

    For those of you interested, this article explains which substance was involved:

    For those of you who are so easily dismissing Chris as selfish, etc., you have likely never experienced the true power of psychedelics. For those of you who have, you can easily understand.

    Many who saw him willingly enter the fire were shocked at how joyful he was. He did not know what he was doing.

    I blame him no more than if he was hit by a bus.

    What we should take away from this is a VERY deep respect for the medicine.

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  • Letmeout says:

    We are born to died and some of us chose to live this place earlier then others. The birth of a child is a blessing to life and death is a blessing on its passage. I am just sorry to hear so many beautiful lives were affected by this trauma that will hunt them for sometime but that to will pass like a wind in the dust. Love your Brother and Sister love your Neighbor and Enemy as well! Lets make this world a better place Now. It is our world and we can make a difference by showing love!!!!!!!
    Yours truly ,

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  • Robert Rolfe says:

    Bill were you there when this happened or just heard about it? I still find it hard to believe that a person without drugs or something could keep walking, running or what ever into that much heat.

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  • Mattress says:

    As someone who works regularly as part of FAST and Conclave Convergence, I just wanted to pop in and say that we work really hard to keep a balance between keeping burns open and accessible, and keeping tragedies like this from happening. While I do not in anyway represent the BMorg, I would like to say as a volunteer who puts my life in harms way, that whether he was on drugs or not doesn’t matter. Millions of people have taken drugs at events like this over the years, and almost none of them have chosen to die in structure fires. You simply can’t blame drugs as the reason Chris chose his actions. Chris made a choice most drug users simply never make at structure fires, ketamine or no.

    We get runners every year, and every year everyone from our beloved Rangers and DPW, to Silver and FAST, do an amazing job of incercepting and redirecting people who mostly break perimeter out of playful spite for what they see as authority limiting their experience with their burn. Usually they run in, stop when they feel the heat and either run around the fire ir run back out. On rare occasion they have to be tackled and carried out. Sometimes they are high, sometimes they are mentally ill, more often than not they are photographers looking to shoot the croud or Silver from the fires side. In all cases we usually get them out without too much hassle.

    E 11 and Chris’s choices were tragic for two reasons. The first one is that he didn’t stop, he fought. I worked a perimeter where a woman said she wanted to die in our structure. She punched a ranger in the face, climbed over them, and dodged me twice on her way in. Luckily I was able to dive and get her ankle and slow her down enough for LEOs from BLM to tackle and restrain her. I never found out why she broke our line and frankly I didn’t care. What mattered is she wanted in the moment to die in our art so baddly, because of the affect it had on her, that it took five of us to restrain her. I do know now that she was not high. Chris really wanted to die in that fire, and so he did. When a runner breaks the line with that level of intent, they have made a strong choice, and stopping them is almost impossible. Fences can be climed. Riot cops can be tripped and blinded. Concrete walls can be toppled. If sandman and silver couldn’t stop him, then no one could. Not his friends, not his family, and not a million other strings of possibility.

    The second reason it’s tragic is because, by what ever means, a good man has died in America and left a hard mark on us all. I got to spend a little time with a ranger who was on that perimeter and saw him go. She was so traumatised, that watching a fire performer spin on top of our structure before it was even fueled, brought back more than she could bare. But she got through it because of the many rangers and good hearts around that stepped in to give her space. That’s what’s important right now. To be present and to recognize both the immediate and long term need of our community and all of the people who had to feel the pain of Chris’s choice.

    Chris is dead. No gods, no laws, no masters, and no blame can change that. As Rangers, DPW, First Responders, FAST, and Silver, and as a community we can strengthen our perimeter to make it harder for this to happen in the future, but it may still happen. When it does, a person has still made a choice that has an intense and painful impact on us all. What I see now is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as a community in dealing with the bad choices some members make. By its very nature, the burn is a dangerous place. Radical expression can be a morbid and fatal thing. How are we supporting his family? How are we as community members supporting the Rangers and first responders who dealt directly with his death? What are you doing right now to comfort someone who was in or around that circle? We can’t bring Chris back. We can’t completely prevent suicide from happening. What we can do is create a space for people to grieve and to forgive, and to release. It will be hard for the Rangers on that circle not to blame themselves. It will be hard for Chris’s friends and family not to do the same. We live in a culture of guilt and blame. We need to help them. We need to help them to let go. They need to scream and they need to cry, and we need to hear them, hold them, and love them.

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  • Chris Steadman says:

    I saw Chris’s suicide and it was clear that he did not know what he was doing. I did not personally know him, nor was he known by many people at the burn. He was pretty close to where I was standing when he started his dance/run. It was pretty obvious to everyone watching that he was out of his mind. He had taken mescaline earlier in the day. They are doing a toxicology screen on his body, which I understand was surprisingly intact enough to do so. I’ve talked to enough reliable people that I can be certain for myself that’s what was going on.

    I don’t think of myself as a “victim” by having to watch him anymore than I would feel like a victim if I saw someone trip and fall off a cliff. Should he have been more careful? Sure. From what I understand, it was his first time using that chemical and nobody around him had any experience with it either.

    If you don’t believe that this could happen to you, you’re fooling yourself. Psychedelics are powerful and if something goes wrong, it’s you vs. you. As strong as you think you are, your enemy is exactly as strong. Be educated and be safe.

    We can never know what was going on inside Chris’s head, but I am as certain as I can be that this was an accident.

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  • shiva says:

    I was having lunch when I heard this news.
    I processed the event in 15 minutes by tapping.
    It is a technique known as EFT – it is incredibly powerful.

    For some reason the image of suicide has a huge charge for me – I remember reading about how London underground train drivers were traumatized (sometimes permanently) by ‘jumpers’ – I couldn’t travel the ‘Tube’ for over a year. I didn’t know how to ‘tap’ back then.

    I support my wife who teaches ‘tapping’ on the playa every year at BM – she has 7 tapping (or EFT) workshops this year. I urge anyone traumatized still to try this technique. It is so simple and it works for everything. The simple version is just to tap the chest (sternum and above) while allowing yourself to feel the horror of this. Let the image be there in your mind – don’t push it away. Accept, breathe and tap. You can say to yourself, “Even though this happened, I love and accept myself”, “even though the image is still with me, the horror is still with me, the is still with me, I love and accept myself”, “I am open to processing this event, and reducing the emotional charge” any number of variations on this. You can not do it wrong. Add in forgiveness. I in fact used hardly any words because the feeling was so visceral – but you have to allow it. What you resist persists. Accept, breathe, repeat and tap.

    I am now at total neutral with this event even though it ruined my lunch and created an intense horror in me. Try it – you can only fail by not attempting it.

    I invite you to come tap with us at Red Lightning. Every day (Tuesday onwards) at 1pm at Red Lightning (8.30 and Esplanade) – suffering is optional.

    This action by Chris is in fact a springboard to evolution – it is down to you whether you choose it.

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  • Chemy Kick Hass says:

    16 years of Burning..
    My heart goes out to this persons loved ones..
    but I must say…
    We are all – at some point going to encounter death… some faster than others..each life has its corse and Im pretty sure that for um…since the beginning of time- one of the first things even a small child understands- ..FIRE is HOT…yep and it BURNS
    do not touch!!!!
    Maybe a sign or two around the camp ground or on the ticket stub…(Hmmmm?) may remind us all that DUH! fire is HOT…NO INTIMATE or prolonged contact with fire because it will burn you ..and that is BAD…OWWW OWWW OWWW..
    In 2001 my Husband was returning to BRC on Burn day from Reno with my sons for our wedding- he collided with a wasn’t very nifty..I found this out during the raising of the Mans arms- and remember having to wait an excruciatingly long time for a ride out to Washoe Trama…The ride was in an ambulance and as I recall, a participant was suffering a broken foot and third degree burns, sometime after the man fell he ran into the coals- our tradition for many- but forgot to read his ticket..part of the unfallen structure and he became intimate- the fire won- he was feeling very little – at time and actually returned for the Temple burn- and then back for a two week stay…Yep- fire will fuck you up if you don’t respect it- your storys of wonder as well as your storys of greif and death rhat can and do happen with in our events.., are our truthes-and serve as lessons for us all no matter how grim- ..You can not stop death- only side step it..and there are lessons for us all to open our souls to as we sift thru those ashes…He will be missed I am quite sure, Im hoping he was experiencing some deep kosmic epiphany and bliss- total joy and may his pain be fleeting quick and mercifully brief. …It is your responsibility to be watchful alert and aware that death stalks you at every turn..Make the MOST of every second of your gifted life-be carefull but not to fearful with this life- and find your own truthes, simply do not be the Darwin award- do not be a lemming-do not be a party pooper nor the strip of bacon on deaths plate….remember fire is an elemental has to be well as your journey and those whom attend it with you …There are reasons for everything that happens in the universe..I am sorry for bummer it brings, the reality check and to those whom loved him the void ,and greif for his passing perhaps bring us closer together..
    there are so so many types of death – may we all, find meaningfulness in respecting his life and his passing for what is was, remember it , and respectfully not judge him, the event, natures truths – and consider that even before the golden gate bridge was became a dramatic exit for so many ..ritualistically so- we didn’t take it down-nor do precautions prevent the determined from finding their way to the edge and beyond…..These are just my thoughts and to remind us all…Don’t be the Crystal Moth to the Flame… the light that inspires- be the hearth that gives warmth,be the heat that ignites ,from the ashes to the dust- Make your life count- … be good to yourself and others. don’t take shit for granted. and most of all grateful, and open to EPIC experience. okay one more thing…green dots aside..i remember a time when trips were planned and there was always the designated driver – one person to be sober and same enough to guide-to assist and be alert for dangers that could harm the tripper/s while they explored..Ground control…for Major Tomz…explore thiss old school tradition when responsible with freedom. okay that’s my blather…im passin the stick. forgive me if I offend..I will think of him while I build this years Temple with the crew tomarrow..Im sure there will be some discussions and reverances.

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  • Fukimoto says:

    Probably wasn’t suicidal. Just drawn into the fire like bugs are drawn to light. I’ve sat very close inside the burn perimeter at the big burn (burning man) and being color blind myself, the bright hue of the yellow flame is very inviting. It just looks like a wonderful ocean of brightness that you could actually swim in. It draws you in. Whatever caused him to separate the lure of the beauty from the reality of instantaneous death had to be a very fine instance of distorted thinking. Even for myself, the hue and invitation of the flames is a snap decision away from jumping in and swimming or not – it’s so beautiful. Probably the only thing that held me back was the crackling sound of the wood as it burned under intense heat from the flame. It’s a sound reminiscent of danger and death. It is sad for families and burners all around.

    Quoting Ben above: The way it affected the entire atmosphere of the event was incredible. Everything was turned completely upside down. It made me realize just how much each of us matter to each other. It was simultaneously awful and transformational.

    If anything, hopefully this will help to form deeper bonds amongst the families and burners who witnessed it first hand.

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  • George says:

    There’s a possibility this wasn’t a suicide. He was most likely out of his mind on psychedelics, or drunk, or whatever else people take that alters their decision making, and thought it would be a cool stunt to jump through the corner of the fire. If you watch the video, he dives head first into a hidden support beam (he probably knocked himself out cold on the beam and never felt a thing. I really hope thats the case because burning has to be one of the most painful ways to go.) Had the support beam not been there, he would have popped right out the other side. He would have suffered some minor burns I’m sure, but he’d be alive.

    I hope it helps his family to know that he was most likely knocked unconscious when he hit the beam and never felt any pain.

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  • alexa bauer says:

    How incredibly sad, I feel for anyone who witnessed this and the poor guys family. I can’t remember which year, but a girl I met had built an art piece as a shrine to her sibling who’d committed suicide and some guy hung himself inside. Totally and utterly devastating for everybody. Please think before you choose to kill yourself in such a public way.

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