• Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen Fought for Freedom (to Be Shot by Police)

    Some of the most bitter speculation surrounding the Occupy Wall Street protests and its varied offshoots involves the identity of the protesters. For example, was the Occupy Oakland demonstration "a run-of-the-mill gathering of various socialists and Communists" plunging into "squalor, violence, public urination, fire hazards, and public sex" as suggested by one source?

    Or were the protesters who engaged with police on Tuesday a more mixed lot, including some paint-throwing hooligans, but also peaceniks, wheelchair-bound activists…and combat veterans?

    In what appears to be the first serious injury nationwide in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran lay in an Oakland hospital Wednesday night with a critical skull fracture, adding a new level of intensity in a mass demonstration that has swept the country and led to clashes with police.

    Scott Thomas Olsen, 24, of Daly City, was struck in the head above his right eye with a tear-gas canister during a massive confrontation Tuesday night in which protesters threw rocks and bottles at police officers who deployed tear gas and fired bean bags to disperse the crowd of about 1,000.

    "It's absolutely unconscionable that our citizens are going overseas to protect other citizens just to come back and have our own police hurt them," said Joshua Shepherd, a six-year Navy veteran and friend of Olsen.

    Olsen served two tours in Iraq, operating in "hotbeds of al-Qaida and insurgent activity" before receiving an administrative discharge. I'm not sure the "right to be shot in the head with a tear gas canister" is exactly what politicians mean when they say the troops fight for our "rights and freedoms," but congratulations to the Oakland Police Department are still in order. Roadside IEDs and ambushes were unable to injure Olsen, but the streets of Oakland — featuring the 5th highest crime rate in America — must be a bit more "safe and sanitary" now that a U.S. Marine isn't befouling the place with his Veterans for Peace propaganda.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: California, Occupy Wall Street, Police, Protesters, Veterans


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