Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran who had his skull fractured at an Occupy Oakland protest in October, made his first live television interview last night (Nov. 29) on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.
Introducing him as a “tough Wisconsin kid,” host Ed Schultz asked Olsen, 24, how he was doing.
“I’m doing better every day.” Olsen answered. “It’s not always been a pleasant process. It’s been quite frustrating, but I’m doing better.”
Olsen’s speech was at times slurred, halting and even garbled, indicating both how far he still is from a full recovery, but also how much he’s come along since first waking up in the hospital after a projectile struck his head.
“I had a head full of words that I wanted to say, but I couldn’t make them come out,” he said. “It was very frustrating.”
Olsen criticized Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s decision to approve the October 25 crackdown, when resorted to using tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles in an attempt to evict the protesters.
“I don’t think it was right for her to do that,” he said of his first days after the injury. “We have the right to be in Oscar Grant Plaza (officially known as Frank H. Ogawa Plaza) and to voice our grievances any time of day.”
Olsen said it was “a bit overwhelming” at first to become an international news figure, but is fine now with the media scrutiny.
“I’m happy to step into these shoes and guide this movement and be somebody to look up to for some people,” he said.
Olsen, who did two tours in Iraq, also said he does not regret joining the Occupy movement and would do it again.
“When I took the enlistment oath, when I joined the Marines, I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic,” he said. “And I’m continuing to do that.
Olsen concedes the Occupy movement is “changing a lot,” but doesn’t think it’s “going anywhere any time soon.”
“Scott Olsen, I want to thank you for coming on the program tonight,” Ed said to close the interview. “God bless you. Keep fighting hard. And keep recovering. We`ll follow your recovery. All the best to you, my friend.”