While serving in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, Private Danny Chen died inside a guard tower on Oct. 3 with a gunshot wound to his head. These unusual circumstances have triggered questions as to how the 19-year-old from Chinatown was killed. With racial abuse and bullying potentially playing a major role, parents of new recruits (OurChinatown via SingTao) have become concerned about their children’s safety. At a press conference on Monday, Oct. 17, community leaders and officials called on the military to provide more information. (DNAinfo)
- Despite the speculation, the Chens do not believe their son would have committed suicide. “I think he enjoyed the Army,” said Chen’s father, Yan Tao Chen. “Ever since he was a little kid, that’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to join the police force after his service, so the Army was a means of getting there.” (Downtown Express)
- In response to the tragedy, OurChinatown‘s Alex Peng wrote an op-ed urging that “we, as a country and a community” must not let down the young men and women who volunteer to fight for their country. They deserve to fight without fear and without worry. While Chen himself was born in New York, Peng stresses that this especially holds true for new immigrants who navigate an unfamiliar system.
- Nov. 1 update: The parents of Danny Chen have come forward, with local leaders, to continue the call for more information from the military. Through a translator, they said that they don’t believe their son committed suicide. (DNAinfo)