“U.S. VET INJURED IN OAKLAND POLICE ACTION” is a headline that gets your attention. 

Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland

 Scott Olsen is a 24 year old Iraq war veteran.  He suffered a fractured skull while participating in the Occupy Oakland protest and was listed in critical condition at the Highland Hospital in Oakland, California.

“It’s unconscionable that you go overseas to protect our country, but you get injured by police officers who are supposed to be protecting us,”

I guess it all depends on what the meaning of “us” is.  The police were not there to protect the protestors from the citizens of Oakland; they were there to protect law abiding citizens from the law breaking protesters.  Olsen’s injuries are regrettable; so is the implication of police brutality in the headline.  But it was Olsen’s own choice to put himself in harms way.

It could be argued whether or not the use of tear gas was necessary to stop a crowd that was getting out of control.  Perhaps it was.  A video you can see here shows the ensuing mayhem in which Olsen sustained his injury.  It appears, as NBC reports, that Olsen was hit by something thrown or propelled in the air.  There were no policemen anywhere within striking distance of the incident when it happened.

A primary purpose on the part of the organizers of protest demonstrations is to shape public opinion.  Unfortunately, many voters don’t read much past the headlines. For them the incident will go down as police brutality which it clearly was not.

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