Scott Olsen, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was in fair condition today with a skull fracture caused Tuesday night when the police clashed with Occupy Oakland protesters. Only two things are known for sure right now:
- A projectile hit Olsen in the head, and
- As he lay critically wounded on the ground, a few feet away from a police barricade, surrounded by civilians trying to help him, a helmeted and visored police officer lobbed either a CS tear-gas grenade or a flashbang grenade directly on top of him.
Occupy Oakland protesters said Olsen, a 24-year-old member of Iraqi Veterans Against The War, was shot just above the left eye with a rubber bullet fired at close range by the police. Occupy Oakland protesters displayed a handful of what they say are rubber bullets collected from the scene. Photographs of injuries suffered by other protesters show wounds that are consistent with the effects of rubber bullets and beanbag rounds (teabag-size bags filled with lead shot, fired from a shotgun).
The acting police chief said Oakland police do not use rubber bullets.
And here’s how The Washington Post covered the event the following morning: With a photo of a nice Oakland police officer petting a stray kitty.
Ah, but The Post probably had an early deadline and there were no pictures to be had of the bloody demonstrators or the clouds of tear gas. But wait: Below the headline “Protesters wearing out their welcome nationwide,” there’s Associated Press reporting about Oakland police firing tear gas and beanbag rounds into the crowd, and arresting 75 people. There were plenty of photos and videos on the Web showing the mayhem in almost real time.
But the damned liberal media chooses to show a policeman petting a kittycat.
In case you are wondering how print newspapers that come out once day are holding up against Web newspapers that are updated every minute, or for that matter against Twitter reports that are updated every second, The Washington Post provides an object lesson.
But back to the point:
Rubber bullets are steel balls coated with a thin coat of rubber. There is nothing soft or squishy about them. While some military and law enforcement officials classify rubber bullets as “nonlethal” weapons, a more accurate term is “less lethal.” Scores of people have been killed by rubber bullets since British occupation troops began using them against Irish rebels in the 1970s. A group of Israeli doctors, writing in the British medical journal The Lancet in 2009, studied the use of rubber bullets used by Israel against Israeli Arabs and concluded that rubber bullets kill and maim far too often to be considered safe for crowd control.
Law enforcement experts I know say that if rubber bullets are authorized to be used, they must be used only:
- by police who are thoroughly trained in crowd control;
- when the officers’ lives are threatened;
- at a distance greater than 40 meters;
- when aimed below the waist, never above;
- and never against children.
Meanwhile, at Gizmodo, there’s excellent advice for citizen journalists who want to cover the Occupy Wall Street events now being held in dozens of cities.
Rule No. 1: Don’t get shot.