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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Story Involving Danny Chen

For those who haven't heard the tragic story of Danny Chen, he was an Army Pvt. in Afghanistan who took his own life last year as a result of intense hazing and racially driven bullying. Well, recently the trial of Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel, who was accused of being the driving force behind the bullying, concluded in a guilty charge. Good news. Looking at a possible maximum sentence of four years and nine months in prison with a dishonorable discharge, Van Bockel was only sentenced to 60 days hard labor (45 of which were already credited) and a rank demotion. He is still in active duty. Meanwhile Pvt. Danny Chen is dead.

Some people argue (mostly assholes and douche bags) that it was not Van Bockel's fault that Chen killed himself and that Chen's suicide was further proof that he didn't have what it took to be a soldier. Others engage in odd deflective arguments about how blacks and Latinos are actually more know to be specifically anti-Asian. And still others begin discussing the intricacies of detecting mental illness.

My point is none of these. My point is this: Blind hero worshiping bothers me. Always has. Just because someone enlists in the military and serves our country does not make them a hero. I refuse to call someone who rapes a fellow soldier a hero. I don't consider soldiers who piss on dead bodies heroes. I realize that the percentage of soldiers who act in this way represents the tiniest fraction of the military but the same can be said about the number of terrorists versus the numbers of Muslims but I'm positive more people find the latter an easier conclusion to jump to.

Once we go down a path of blindly accepting the righteousness of any given group, we set ourselves up for justifiable injustice. Always treat an individual as such and never feel obligations to any group. To me, the story of Danny Chen is sadly typical and the shock that people expressed over it illustrates how blind people can be to these kinds of situations.


  1. Hazing is just another form of "Bullying" plain and simple. Unfortunately morons like Van Bockel live with us and the military allows them to continue with their Bullying to build character.

  2. Agreed. Actions make a hero, not a uniform.

  3. Yep, I agree SAM.

    It sounds like this was totally Mr. Van Bockel's fault.
    I also detest blind hero worship. BHW has always led yo big problems, for the people I know.