Following the Las Vegas shootings on Oct. 1, the deadliest in United States history, Marine Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer took to social media to blast Dan Bilzerian, a social media personality, former poker player and Navy SEAL training washout who uploaded a video to Snapchat showing himself fleeing the scene.
Bilzerian — a self-styled “King of Instagram” best known for his braggadocio, displays of fitness, and legal problems arising from an incident in which he threw a nude woman off a building and broke her foot — found himself in a terrifying and unscripted moment as gunfire erupted around him at the the Route 91 Harvest music festival on Las Vegas’ strip Sunday night.
The Snapchat video, uploaded to Bilzerian’s account in the wake of the attack, shows the social media celebrity running from the concert site, the Daily Mail reports.
Dan Bilzerian says he went to get a gun after seeing a girl get ‘shot in the head’ at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas shooting pic.twitter.com/EyiEWqlOdo
— Tom Richell (@tomrichell) October 2, 2017
“Holy fuck, a girl just got shot in the fucking head. This is so fucking crazy,” Bilzerian said in the video, before adding that he was going home to “grab a gun.”
Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking life and limb to evacuate fallen coalition and Afghan soldiers during a Taliban ambush on Sept. 8, 2009, in Afghanistan, took to Instagram on Oct. 2 with a withering response to Bilzerian’s post:
This is why children shouldn’t classify heroes by their followers or their photos. @danbilzerian this is what kills me about people like you. Always playing “operator dress up” and so so tough when the cameras are on. A woman just got shot in the head and you are running away filming that’s not what operators do. Please stop trying to be someone your not. People are dying, you’re running away not helping them and pretending it’s worthy of a video is disgusting.
While it’s tough to say who is or isn’t qualified to dictate how Bilzerian should have handled himself during a mass shooting, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for a professed “operator” who decided to live-blog a tragedy for posterity’s sake.
After the attack, stories of tragic loss, panic, and fear juxtaposed with moments of spontaneous courage: Strangers gave their lives to treat the wounded; others commandeered trucks to serve as makeshift ambulances; and Las Vegas residents formed lines around the block to donate blood.
Amid the social-media mud-slinging that followed Bilzerian’s Snapchat video, one thing is certain: Countless unsung heroes in Las Vegas stepped forward in his wake.