Scott Olsen, the veteran who was nearly killed by the Oakland Police during #OccupyOakland protests when he was hit by a tear gas cannister, walked into Frank Ogawa Plaza / Oscar Grant Park today for what he confirmed was the first time since before that fateful night of October 25th.
Pretty amazing it was.
Here's how Scott (right) looked before his run in with a police projectile:
Here's how he looked immedediately after the run in:
And this is pretty much how he looked today:
The above picture was taken before the night of October 25th, but that's as close an image of how he looks today as I could find. I stood within a few feet of him just a few hours ago, so I have a good idea of his current appearance, headband and all. Just imagine a brace wrapping around his neck and you've got it.
Along with perhaps a hundred other people, I was down in Oakland City Center for a teach-in on #occuping vacant houses and buildings. Having stepped away for a bit to grab some lunch, I came back to find Olsen chatting with a few people at the back of the stage.
I am pleased to report that aside from the neck brace, Scott looks great. He was walking and standing without any apparent difficulty. He seemed to be carrying on conversations fluently, except. that. his. speech. was. puncuated. word. by. word, not in phrases. He seemed to be able to formulate sentences without any grammatical or syntactic problems, just that while his words were coming out at a conversational pace, they were coming out one by one. Let's hope that this is a last bit of impediment on the way to his complete and total recovery!
Perhaps the oddest thing about Scott's appearance at the Plaza was that not very many people seemed to recognize him. I did a double-take when I first saw him, but it was obvious to me it had to be him. Yet he was never accosted by a flock of well-wishers, just a few reporters and friends. He hung around for hours, and may have helped set up a renewed interfaith tent/booth, which briefly attracted the attention of the police, but who then went away.
Speaking of, the police scene at the Plaza is surreal. If Oakland taxpayers had any sense, it should be elicting massive protests. There were something on the order of ten to fifteen private security guards and Oakland police standing around the perimeter of the the plaza when I got there at 11:00 AM, doing absolutely nothing useful. While I don't begrudge the private security people their paychecks, the City of Oakland is apparently spending more than $500,000 of money Oakland does not have to hire them to "keep an eye" on the plaza for a month. Not to mention possible police overtime and the non-assignment of these police to useful patrols and investigations.
In truth, one policeman with a means to call for backup would be more than sufficient to handle the entire plaza. And yet the government of the in-the-red City of Oakland, whose voters just rejected a parcel tax designed to add more revenue to the city's coffers, are spending gobs of money "patrolling" Frank Ogawa plaza, keeping it safe for Democracy. Not.
Welcome back, Scott.
6:39 PM PT: Allie123 is down at the General Assembly in Oakland now.
#OccupyOakland is still feeding people despite mayor Quan's war on compassion.
6:53 PM PT: Waiting for violence in Los Angeles.
6:23pm Cross info from #LAPD. Captain says no raid tonite. Mayor V & Chief Beck say eviction @ 12:01am #OccupyLA ready for all scenarios ~pj
26 minutes ago
Retweeted by OccupyWallStNYC
OccupiedCA Occupy California
RT @OccupyLA: The crowd gets larger. Someone must love freedom around here-OA #ows Join Us! crowd gets larger
6:54 PM PT: And on to #Occupy UC Davis
Clarknt67 Scott Wooledge
99,900+ signatures calling for #ucdavis Chancellor Katehi to Resign over pepper spraying incident. Sign to be #100K! petition
7:06 PM PT: Twenty-five signatures to go to 100,000
7:11 PM PT: Less than ten to go
7:14 PM PT: Five to go
7:15 PM PT: And done. 100,000 to recall UC Davis Chancellor Katehi.
AFAICT, the 100,000th signature:
Vida Behzadi (Sunnyvale, CA)
less than a minute ago
7:40 PM PT: Bike swarm. Good idea.
seanbonner Sean Bonner
RT @Reverend_Borfo: BIKE SWARM for OCCUPYLA tonight at 9pm! j.mp/uK8MRI #bikela #occupyla" please retweet