Dan Bilzerian and Medal of Honor recipient USMC Sgt. Dakota Meyer are at each other’s throats over the last few days, due to some inflammatory language on both sides regarding Bilzerian’s actions during the Las Vegas shooting on Tuesday. Yesterday, Meyer challenged Bilzerian to a literal fist fight via his Instagram, accusing him of releasing his wife’s phone number to an onslaught of prank calls and threats.
Here is a brief recap on how we got to this point:
On Sunday, October 1st, there was a horrific shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead at a country music concert across from the Mandalay Bay casino and resort.
Dan Bilzerian–Instagram playboy millionaire, poker player, medically discharged Sailor, banger of many beautiful women (or something), etc–posted a selfie video of himself running from the scene to his Instagram. He later claimed he was going to go “grab a gun” and presumably hunt down the shooter himself.
Dakota Meyer–USMC Medal of Honor recipient–criticized him publicly on his own Instagram:
Dan Bilzerian then responded with a passive aggressive Instagram story (and very petty) video where he calls Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer “some blogger” and a “retard” while he defends his actions.
After this it’s not really clear what happened, but from what’s understood by Dakota Meyer’s video, Dan Bilzerian somehow got ahold of Bristol Palin’s phone number (Meyer’s wife) and put it out publicly in some fashion. This resulted in her receiving prank phone calls and, understandably, upsetting Dakota Meyer personally. Meyer responded with an Instagram post challenging Dan Bilzerian to a fight on Saturday October 7th.
As well, video of Dan Bilzerian from the night of the shooting was revealed, showing him begging a police officer for a weapon. The police officer responds the way you would expect an officer under fire to respond to a random stranger demanding a weapon, “No, get the fuck away from me right now, I don’t know who the fuck you are!”
As of today, Dan Bilzerian has yet to respond to the challenge.
It’s safe to say that this has gotten out of hand at this point.
There’s an important context to which all of this exists, and that is the fact that Dan Bilzerian was a sailor (never deployed) who was medically discharged following two failed attempts to become a Navy SEAL. This is important to understand, since Bilzerian essentially sees himself as an operator of sorts; hence the burly beard and the frequent photos posted to his Instagram of his extensive firearm collection.
This was a violent and terrifying evening for everybody involved, Dan Bilzerian included. One certainly can’t fault anyone for running from the situation, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the point that Dakota Meyer was trying to make. Had Bilzerian simply ran from the venue and not made a public spectacle of it, I don’t think anyone would have thought twice about it. Imagine a scenario where Bilzerian, along with everyone else there, ran for safety. An interviewer catches up with him and asks him what it was like. He simply responds with, “It was crazy, we all just ran and did what we could.”
Nobody would fault him for that whatsoever and this would be a total nonissue.
The issue I think for Dakota Meyer is the narcissistic nature of the video itself, feeling the need to record himself for his audience and then post it to his social media while people are literally dying. Bilzerian invites this criticism because of his celebrity status, but also because of his overarching military operator persona. There were other veterans at this event, many of them performed heroic acts that were not recorded on video, because they didn’t think to.
For me, the video of Bilzerian demanding a weapon from a police officer makes it even worse, despite the fact that it was released in defense of him. For starters, the mere fact that it’s being recorded in the first place further adds to the narcissism involved. Bilzerian wanted the world to see him as a hero this night, so he had a friend record him making a charge for the hotel rather than just helping get people to safety.
Prior to this event, I wasn’t aware of Bilzerian’s past exploits in the Navy. Learning this, however, has cast somewhat of a depressing cloud over the actions seen over the last week. Despite calling Dakota Meyer “some Marine,” I refuse to believe that Bilzerian doesn’t already know who Meyer is and what he is. Bilzerian exists in absolute reverence of the military community and is personally friends with other Medal of Honor recipients.
Bilzerian wanted to be a Navy SEAL, for better or for worse, but failed twice in his efforts to do so. It’s hard to look at his eccentric 22 million follower Instagram feed and not feel like it’s an act of compensation for something he wanted but couldn’t have. No matter how much money, women and cool ass photos he can take, ultimately he never attained the title he so desperately wanted. At the end of the day, the military is one of the only places where your social status doesn’t matter whatsoever–you either make it or you don’t. I think on some level Bilzerian was legitimately hurt, emotionally, for being called out by an actual Medal of Honor recipient.
There’s a valid criticism to be made for Dakota Meyer’s harsh words in light of such a desperate and horrific circumstance. However, regardless of how you feel about Dakota Meyer (and people have feelings), he is one of few people on earth qualified to make that critique. Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor for literally saving lives in one of Afghanistan’s bloodiest battles of OEF. And again, Dakota Meyer isn’t really criticizing Bilzerian for running as much as he is for filming it in the way that he did.
The incident in Las Vegas was a terrifying ordeal, and it’s important to not forget that we have this childish feud in the midst of 58 deaths in the desert oasis. At this point, throwing fists isn’t really helping anyone, and both parties would probably be better off just dropping this.