Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Notes from Fort Bragg -- racism v. justice in Danny Chen's death (II)

         Notes from Fort Bragg -- racism v. justice in Danny Chen's death (II)
Danny Chen was American by birth AND by choice. He defied his 
parents' objection to join the Army. But he was RACIALLY brutalized 
to committing suicide by his fellow American soldiers who were his 
superiors. The first culprit got a slap on the wrist. Outrageous! S. B. Woo* and Diana Ting were staying at Fort Bragg, attending the second trial. They are reporting to you here. Will they be seeing justice or racism or something in between?
   Together, we took a stand. Together, we made progress! Together, we RECOVERED from a 100 to  10 beating in Sergeant Holcomb's trial.
   Justice achieved? No! Just a beginning!
 6 more trials to go
 the sentence for Offutt can be reduced upon appeal  
 the final sentencing for Holcomb, the guy who got a slap on the wrist, is still in the hands of Lt. General Daniel B. Allyn of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
   On 8/13/12, my birthday, Specialist Ryan Offutt was sentenced to
1.   6 months in jail, and
2.   Reduction in rank from specialist (E-4) to Private (E-1). (Economic implication: Offutt's pay while in jail will be that of an E-1)
3.   Bad Conduct Discharge (considered a relative severe punishment, because it is a career-ending punishment for a professional soldier. It has many economic implications including no veterans benefits after the discharge.)
   In comparison, Sergeant Adam Holcomb, who is perhaps the most guilty, received only:
1.  1 month in jail
2.   Reduction by 1 rank, and
3.   fined $1181.55.      He was NOT even kicked out of the Army.
   There are aspects of "Justice for Danny Chen" that are NOT even touched by the military justice. Read the following carefully. New York Times reported, "Private Chen also revealed that he had witnessed noncommissioned officers shooting unarmed civilians, Private Johnson testified. The claim has apparently been scrutinized by military investigators. Neither the prosecution nor the defense asked follow-up questions about this revelation, suggesting that the court had imposed limits on its admissibility."
   If you still don't understand the significance of the above, PLEASE go view the movie "A Few Good Men," starring Tom Cruise & Demi Moore. You'll begin to know something about the military justice system.
   Finally, the tactics used in the trial were disconcerting.  While the defense called upon five witnesses to build up the human elements of Specialist Offutt, with the intention to lessen the punishment, the prosecution emphasized how Danny Chen suffered excessive & abusive punishment without real military purpose.  However, there was no counter to the defense's claims that Offutt had a life to lead — Private Danny Chen, another human being, wasn't even allowed to begin his life due to the actions of his superiors.
   Danny was like a prop, ignoring the human element haunting the entire trial. Finally, we salute Major Joshua M. Toman, a good man who is also the leader in the Prosecution team, for his excellent summary statement pointing out how dehumanizing Offutt's abuse of Danny Chen was.
   Diana and I will go home now. "Notes from Fort Bragg" will continue, but no longer be daily.   Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas' trial will be next, beginning this coming Thursday.    Pray and work for JUSTICE.
SB, a volunteer, reporting to you from the Charlotte airport

   *Lt. Governor of DE (1985 to 89) & President of National Asian Am. Educational Foundation, Inc. Ting is Woo's Special Assistant.