Scott Olsen, Iraq veteran injured at Occupy Oakland, to undergo brain surgery

The Guardian has an update on the case of Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran who suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a projectile fired by police during the Occupy Oakland protests Tuesday night. He will undergo brain surgery within the next 48 hours. Donations collected here to help with medical costs. Updates on responses by Oakland's mayor and chief of police, and reaction from the Obama administration are here and here. (TL;DR: they're pathetic).


  1. I have a question about his health care…shouldn’t he be getting health care paid for by the VA as he is an Iraq war veteran?  This is so damn infuriating on every level.

    1. Re: his healthcare. Yes, as a combat vet (assuming honorable discharge which we have no reason to not assume), he qualifies for VA benefits. But it is highly unlikely that he was taken to a VA medical center, or that, if he had been, he would not have been transferred to a trauma center. Also, one must actually apply for VA benefits, it’s not part of the discharge paperwork. So while he is more than likely eligible for such benefits, he may not have started the process to get them yet…or maybe he has and this is a moot point.

      VAMCs are generally very good at providing the kind of chronic and subacute care that 99% of veterans require. They are not trauma centers. But hospitals that care for vets will get reimbursed for the care of veterans much of the time (especially in trauma situations). 

      FWIW, I am a physician who previously (but not currently) worked for the VA.

  2. No, combat vets don’t get health care unless they can get on disability due to wounds or PTSD diagnosis. You have to do 20 years to get retirement benefits. The city should pay this guy’s hospital bills.

  3. Carney could not say if Obama had seen any images of the Oakland violence and then he seemed to blame it on the demonstrators in pointing out that they had the right to protest but needed to stay within the law (do the police?).  The rest was mainly boilerplate about understanding the “frustrations.”

    Obama… you better step up to the plate, buddy.  This shit is going to explode and the blood will be on your hands, Obama.  Step up.  Man up.  NOW.

  4. By injuring Olsen so severely, the police are basically spitting in the citizens’ collective faces and daring them to do something about it. God forbid if Olsen should die, it will just encourage more people to retaliate by taking some police lives to “settle the score,” so to speak.

    It’s a crappy situation all around. And fuck Obama; he isn’t going to do anything useful. He’ll sit there with his thumb up his ass like any other career politician.

  5. Obama on police arresting a guy in his own house:
    “The Cambridge police acted stupidly”

    Obama on police critically injuring a peaceful protestor:
    I dunno, whatever, maybe don’t protest I guess?

    what the fuck happened man?  I get not wanting to commit to a position before you’ve had the opportunity to give it some thought, but this:  “As to the violence, we obviously believe and insist that everyone behave in a lawful manner, even as they’re expressing, justifiably, their frustrations.” is the most pathetic, mealy-mouthed, inadequate bullshit I’ve heard in some time.

    1. Obama on police arresting a guy in his own house:
      “The Cambridge police acted stupidly”

      Obama on police critically injuring a peaceful protestor:
      I dunno, whatever, maybe don’t protest I guess?

      what the fuck happened man?

      Er, did you SEE the shitstorm that #1 resulted in?

      Not that I’m excusing his decision to puss out because people said not-nice things about him.  But come on, you know EXACTLY what happened.

  6. There’s nothing that can be said that will fix this.  But things need to be said.
    There’s nothing that can be destroyed that will fix this.  But things need to be destroyed.
    It’s happened too many times before, and it will keep happening until we really care; until we’re willing to force it to stop.
    What would you do if this was your brother?  What if you knew your brother was next?

  7. From the Guardian Article:

    Her interim police chief, Howard Jordan, was similarly defensive when he spoke to reporters, denying that his men had used rubber bullets or flash-bang grenades, as some protesters alleged and adding: “It’s unfortunate it happened. I wish that it didn’t happen. Our goal, obviously, isn’t to cause injury to anyone.”

    If your goal isn’t to cause harm to anyone, then why the fuck are you shooting at people?

    1. I think the NYPD spokesweasel is ghost writing his statements…
      NYPD claimed all sorts of things about Tony Bologna that were false because we have video that shows the truth.
      OPD are trying to claim the thing lobbed at the people trying to help the injured man that went FLASH BANG was not a flash bang.
      Have these people no clue about video and how it works?

  8. @betatron: So what you’re saying is “Don’t ever fight for something you believe in. Especially not if the other side use illegal methods. Actually standing up for something despite the danger is like painting a target on your ass and you deserve whatever happens to you, including death.”


  9. I’m not standing up for the cop:
    Even common sense (without training) tells you that you dont place an explosive device in to a dense crown of people. Sitting at our computers watching the video it’s very easy to see people were running to help. In the middle of the chaos, a bulky helmet with limited vision obscures the ability for proper situational analysis of very “dynamic” events.The guy/girl (cop) is human and we dont know how long he/she was there for. The militaries of our various countries train endlessly in crowd control situations, not specifically for “national guard” purposes, but because crowd control, and the endurance it requires considering the very, very high stress levels that are imposed, are a good way of experiencing high stress, confusion and constantly changing environment. Something you’ll find in combat (but not as focused as in crowd control).So the questions that should be asked are not so much about the offending officer him/herself, but more towards whether these people, police, are properly trained in this specific situation, and have proven they have the the ability to deal with this specific type of situation for the lengths of time that are required, without fault.This IS a big ask of anyone. As low as my authority is in this case, I’d say don’t get intrenched by the “gang-minded” approach, “them and us”. I find the actions of the officer really poor, and the fact you’ve now got a guy “..who can breath by himself now..” is wrong, it shouldn’t have happened… even if he was standing in a risky place.Some of us are overstepping the line (London riots for example), MOST of us arn’t…. ironically you are still the 99% of the 99%, but dont bundle all your stress on to one scape goat, because:”I”- as the 1%, can turn that right around and appease you by hanging that one cop to save all the others. Focus on the real issue, the lobbied power/ 1% vs 99%, other wise he will have got hit for nothing, and your patriot act will get another tentacle.

  10. I know how this will play out.  Nothing will change as far as the police go, I’m willing to bet their is no paperwork of which officers were assigned where and nobody managed to get their badge numbers (I am assuming that US police are similar to UK ones who must display their number at all times on duty).   If such records of who was where DID exist they most certainly do NOT now.

    Unless someone with actual power starts reigning in the police I can see things turning very nasty and quite bloody sooner or later as the usual thing that happens when those with guns and body armour use them against those without either.

    1. Nothing will change as far as the police go

      The only way that out of control police departments are reined-in is if the Department of Justice steps in.  And I see little reason to believe that President Never-Look-Back would order the DOJ to address this.  

      1. I thought DOJ had decided everything was hunky dory and there was nothing to look into.  I mean its not like the Government was handing automatic weapons to narco gan… er umm… nevermind

  11. They just reminded people, really strongly of one of the reasons for the Occupy movement- free health care. It shouldn’t be necessary to hold a collection and get donations to pay for his surgery for any reason at all. The US government can easily afford it if just a couple sensible things were done with the money- things that if done, people wouldn’t need to protest to demand, veterans wouldn’t get shot and brain surgeriy for said veterans wouldn’t need to be collected for.

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