October 8's Fact of the Week

About one year ago, military officials found 19-year-old Danny Chen hunched over at a guard tower in Afghanistan with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a rifle beside him. Months preceding his death, Chen’s own unit hazed and harassed him, calling him racial slurs such as “gook,” “fortune cookie,” “egg roll,” “dragon lady,” and “chink.” In addition, they abused him with racially-motivated punishments and debilitating exercises such as being forced from crawling 100 yards across gravel to getting stoned by other soldiers. Suffering from both physical and mental abuse, Chen expressed his emotions in his journal albeit kept hidden from his family at home. Even though soldiers have been charged with hazing, maltreatment, and assault convictions, military court proceedings and investigations still continue today. Chen’s death remains a pivotal moment that remains to influence students, activists, and veterans for reform against hazing, especially when racially-motivated, against minorities in service.