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Daniel Chen Commits Suicide After Military Hazing

Submitted by on December 22, 2011 – 11:38 am2 Comments

Mere weeks after the suicides of 10 year-olds Ashlynn Conner and Jasmine McClain as well as the hazing death of 26 year-old drum major Robert Champion comes news of an earlier suicide in the military, of all places.

On October 3, Private Daniel Chen seemingly took his own life after enduring assault, harassment, and threats. The young soldier was only 19 years old. Initial reports seemed to indicate that such activity caused Chen’s death directly, but evidence from the scene proves otherwise. According to sources, Chen was taunted for his ethnicity, called “Jackie Chen” and repeatedly asked if he was from China despite serving in the U.S. military. To make matters worse, Chen was dragged across a floor, hit with stones, and forced to hold a liquid in his mouth while hanging upside down.

These things didn’t occur during basic training here in the States, however (not that this would have made things any better). Military personnel, while in Afghanistan, subjected one of their own to this kind of daily torture. With lives on the line at every turn, instead of protecting each other and fighting to fulfill their missions and duties, we had people in uniform who were preoccupied with mistreating a fellow soldier.

How long will we continue to do this to one another? We have too many common enemies to engage on a daily basis, whether or not we ever set foot on a battlefield, to assault one another in word or in deed. It truly is incredible that out of all of the soldiers who have come home in caskets this year, Daniel Chen is returning the victim of circumstances perpetuated by those he should have had a special, fraternal bond with.

It is possible, however, that the fraternal bond is where the problem lies. At some point in our culture, brotherhood came to be defined as a bond steeped in punishment, torture, and brutality. We see this in Greek-letter organizations, other fraternal orders, and in the extracurricular activities of our youth. Whatever happened to being “my brother’s keeper?”

Social commentary aside, eight soldiers have been charged in Chen’s death, five of whom are being charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide. All of the accused were older than Chen by at least 5 years. The five mentioned previously face up to 13 years for the combined charges. The accused remain in Afghanistan but are not on active duty. They are currently confined to a separate base as the evidence and a possible court martial are sorted out.

We must learn to treat others with the respect they deserve and to look out for each other as we are all part of the human family. Matters such as these simply prove that, in many ways, we can also be the most dangerous threat to the survival of that family.

Source: Yahoo News

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