I am a pacifist to a fault and very much against war, but there is something to be said for a young man who successfully did two tours in Iraq only to come home and end up shot by police, who he defended in war, during a peaceful protest.
Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran, participated in Occupy Oakland when police shot rubber bullets or tear gas cans into the crowd, depending on the report you read. The police hit him in the head with one of the projectiles and critically injured him, again, depending on what report you read. He is now lying in a hospital bed and heavily sedated due to a skull fracture and brain swelling.
If Olsen thought anything at the time it happened or while lying in a hospital bed, I bet it goes something like this: “Ain’t this some sh**! I do two tours in Iraq and make it home alive and unharmed, only for the very police I defended and protected to shoot and almost kill me.” Ironic, is it not?
As you can see, the soldier faced whatever projectile the police were shooting into the crowd and became a fallen protestor. They say war is hell, but how much worse for a soldier, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, only to come home to fight another war? Did the sounds trigger something in him or was he just that stubborn as a veteran, determined to protect his country against domestic enemies?
"He was standing perfectly still, provoking no one," said Raleigh Latham, an Oakland filmmaker shooting footage of the confrontation between police and hundreds of protesters at 14th Street and Broadway. "If something didn't hit him directly in the face, then it went off close to his head and knocked him down."
After he fell from whatever hit him, people carried him to a car and someone drove Olsen to the hospital, but his injuries are severe.
Harken said Olsen had suffered a 2- to 3-inch fracture on the left side of his skull. He is able to write and move, but is having trouble speaking, Harken said.
Olsen has a bruise on his brain that is causing swelling, but he should recover fully without needing surgery, Harken said.
Olsen was dropped off at the hospital by people in a private car and was unconscious for 12 hours, Harken said. He is unaware of the global interest in his condition.
"He wouldn't be able to comprehend it," the doctor said.
Whatever the case, he was fine before that and showed no signs of PTSD nor was he violent. Olsen was a peaceful protester in Oakland, who is also a veteran, standing against the wrongs our government and financial institutions are committing.
"It's just so damn ironic," said George Nygaard, Olsen's uncle. "To do two tours over there and not a scratch. All of a sudden he comes back here and a damn cop hits him with a projectile. It's crap."
Nygaard, of Chaseburg, shares a special bond with his nephew. Both were Marines, Olsen inIraqand Nygaard inVietnam.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine. There is that camaraderie," Nygaard said. "He is a brother as well as being a nephew."
It is “crap” and as Nygaard watches the videos of what happened to his nephew, he feels sick, because it is sickening and draws tears to my eyes.
"There was no riot going on. I don't think they had to be that aggressive," Nygaard said. "I don't understand it."
Keith Olbermann interviewed Keith Shannon, his roommate, friend, and comrade in the war. Both of them disagreed with the war, even while they served their tours of duty.
Mox News reported:
The problem is that the protesters were not the ones who were violent. It was the police and the Republicans have it all wrong, because they, along with the Tea Party, and the Religious Reich want war, people without jobs, no health care, no homes, no social security, and little education. They are the ones who are inadvertently and indirectly killing people and being violent, not the protesters.
Nygaard said he's optimistic about his nephew's recovery and hopes some good can come out of this.
"He's a brilliant kid," Nygaard said. "I'm more proud of what he's done since he's been out than when he was in."
The very people who supported the Iraq War and drove our economy to the brink of disaster are calling the protesters discontents and other names, as well as saying they are the ones who are violent, not the police. They do not take any responsibility for this, but instead point the finger at Obama.
There is something seriously wrong with our government, not just our financial institutions and then, the Religious Reich, who does not question the Bible, their religion, their god, or even their minister, has the audacity to tell “Christians” not to participate in the Occupy Movement. They, along with Pat Robinson and others, are part of the problem too, because they even refuse to question their government. They do not question anyone in authority or even stand up to authority.
Instead, they would rather send young men and women to do their slaughtering for them, just as they have those they put into office do the same by denying people health care, human rights, Amendment rights, education, safe, healthy environments, and more. At the same time, they twist the facts of what they do, as well as what those who do not agree with them do, as they unsuccessfully attempt to make themselves look good. Currently, the Religious Reich is twisting what those who are protesting our currently corrupt Capitalistic Religious Reich government are doing. However, the Religious Reich supports and upholds our current system without question. Can anyone say the Fourth Reich?
Because of the Right Wing and the Religious Reich, people are dying and more will die if they keep going like this. Sometimes I think the Religious Reich, along with those they put into office, want people to die, especially when they support war, lack of health care, education, women’s health, and blame it all on some fictitious being that does not exist. If killing people in ways that are indirect is Christianity, then I am so glad I am not a murderous Right Wing, Conservative, Extremist Christian.
Olsen is lucky, because he is still alive, despite his injuries classified as critical, but he may suffer permanent brain injury or worse yet, he might still die, which is screwed up because he returned from war without a brain injury or death. However, the Religious Reich and the Republicans blame him and the other protesters for what happened. All I have to say to them is, “Here’s your B.S. Degree and the B.S. does not stand for Bachelor of Science.”
However, the Episcopal Church supports the protesters and sees the various Occupy sites as a means to evangelize.
[Episcopal News Service] In the early stages of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Rev. Michael Sniffen and some clergy colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island traveled to Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to observe what was happening. He's returned regularly since, talking to protestors and offering pastoral care.
"I see myself as part of the movement," said Sniffen, 31, priest-in-charge of the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York. "I really feel like this is my generation's plea for a just society. I think the Gospels make it quite clear in Jesus' teachings that there can be no justice without economic justice."
On Oct. 23, the Episcopal Church's Executive Council issued a resolution affirming "that the growing movement of peaceful protests in public spaces in the United States and throughout the world in resistance to the exploitation of people for profit or power bears faithful witness in the tradition of Jesus to the sinful inequities in society" and calling upon "Episcopalians to witness in the tradition of Jesus to inequities in society."
"From our perspective as Episcopalians – certainly from my perspective as somebody who was highly influenced by liberation theology – my reading of the gospel is quite clear that Jesus showed a preferential option for the poor and that in situations of economic justice in particular Jesus always sided with the poor," Sniffen said. "I have a lot of hope for the movement. I think the potential is there for this to lead to real transformation of our economic system in this country and hopefully of other systems as well."
That kind of Christianity I can deal with, but I cannot deal with the Religious Reich, who gets involved in our government, crossing First Amendment lines to establish a Church State, as they deny others their First Amendment Rights. Despite the fact the Episcopal Church is preaching the Gospel and talking about Jesus and God, their religious beliefs are more tolerable, with less injury or even death to others. The Episcopal Church protests greed in this Occupy Movement, as well as supporting Women’s Rights and Gay Rights in other forms of activism.
I do not care that the Episcopal Church is taking this opportunity to evangelize. I much prefer their form of evangelism than the Religious Reich’s, which forces people, even via the government, to do their bidding, even at the cost and expense of lives.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan denies knowing anything about the police violence and insists she was not involved in the planning of this barbaric violence against peaceful protesters. Maybe before she took the red-eye out to Washington D. C. she should have told everyone, including the police to leave the protesters alone, especially if they are not harming anyone.
That is what I would do if I were mayor of any city and the Religious Reich, as well as the Right Wingers in office, can take a flying leap, for all I care. Then maybe none of this would have happened to begin with and maybe our Iraq Veteran, who stood “proud” and tall, would not be a fallen protester, just as he was not a fallen soldier in the war.
As for the flying leap… Well if they truly believe what they preach, what do they have to fear? The lack of health care in this country or maybe they are wrong about their god concept? Maybe they need to fear both, as well as the people of this country taking over, just as our Constitution says, “We the people…” and not “We the religious, rich, and/or Conservative.”
Scott Olsen took an oath and as he faced the police, he stood by that oath he took and did it well, in my opinion. He stood by the Constitution, defended it, and did not break any laws. He defended his nation from enemies both foreign AND domestic, but it was not until he peacefully defended against the domestic “enemies”, who would deny us our Constitutional and human rights, that he fell, which is a crying shame, because he defended them too in an unjust violent war.
It brings tears to my eyes that such a man, strong in convictions, ethics, and morals, would end up severally wounded by his own fellow citizens, in a class war in the country he protected and defended during the Iraq war. Something about that is totally wrong and unjustifiable. Maybe it is time Obama, our president, stood up and said, “Enough. Leave the peaceful protesters alone and start listening to what they have to say, so this does not happen again.”
However, the actions of the police, during these protests, makes it appear that the late Michael Jackson was right when he recorded this song: