Scott Olsen: The Accidental Occupy Wall Street Symbol

Scott Olsen, 24, has become both hero and symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement after he was critically injured during an Occupy Oakland protest. Despite the peaceful protest methods, local law enforcement officers proceeded to shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at a crowd of protesters, hitting Olsen in the head and causing a fractured skull injury, which left him in critical condition.

Olsen was a former U.S. Marine and two-time Iraq war veteran. After his second stint in Iraq, Olsen left the army and joined the Iraq Veterans against the War. Articles on Olsen highlight the irony in the fact that Olsen returned from both stints in Iraq unharmed only to be critically injured on American soil.

The depiction of Olsen that has emerged from recent media coverage is one of a man whose personal journey emulates many of the social dynamics that have given rise to the Occupy movement. These dynamics include the dilemma of veterans forced to join the ranks of the unemployed, police brutality, and income inequality.

The news of Olsen’s injury broke quickly and spread through Twitter, which mobilized OWS protesters to strengthen their unity:


Olsen is in fair condition and is being treated in a local hospital, according to friends and family. Both doctors and family members have declined to comment on the details of his condition saying that he is cognizant after undergoing surgery.

For more information read The Reuters article and the article.

-Catherine Lee


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