Scott Olsen Iraq War veteran seriously injured in Occupy Oakland demonstration
The Iraq War veteran injured during a clash between police and anti-Wall Street protesters wasn’t taking part in the demonstrations out of economic want.
Scott Olsen, 24, makes a good living as a network engineer and has a nice hillside apartment overlooking San Francisco Bay. And yet, his friends say, he felt so strongly about economic inequality in the country that he fought for that he slept at a San Francisco protest camp after work.
“He felt you shouldn’t wait until something is affecting you to get out and do something about it,” said friend and roommate Keith Shannon, who served with Olsen in Iraq. Olsen, who is from Onalaska, Wis., served two tours in Iraq, felt the anti-Wall Street movement had a chance to create real change, Shannon said.It was that feeling that drew him to Oakland on Tuesday night, when the clashes broke out and Olsen was struck by a projectile that fractured his skull.
Olsen’s condition improved on Thursday, with doctors transferring him from the emergency room to an intensive care unit. Olsen has become a rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators across the nation, with Twitter users and protest websites declaring: “We are all Scott Olsen.”
Joshua Shepherd, 27, a Navy veteran who was standing nearby when Olsen got struck, said he didn’t know what hit him. Shepherd said it’s a cruel irony that Olsen is fighting for his life in the country that he fought to protect. “He was over there protecting the rights and freedoms of America and he comes home, exercises his “freedoms” and, it’s here, where he’s nearly fatally wounded,” Shepherd said.