What happened in Las Vegas recently was shocking, to say the least. Yet, sadly, it’s almost like we’ve come to expect these things to happen… simply because these events are getting higher in number and volume of deaths. The shock value on our hearts is diminishing to the point where we’re almost becoming numb. And then in that numbness, sometimes people do or say things that go against what they portray or actually represent. And vice versa.
Dan Bilzerian’s followers and onlookers on Instagram right now are giving the hashtag #danran a real go. Many people are frustrated – even confused – as to why this self-proclaimed tough guy ran away when there were so many other heroes taking gunfire and becoming human shields for others. This is a person who had applied for a position with the Navy SEALS and failed. He had entered the training program in 2000; however, after several attempts, he did not graduate. He was reportedly dropped from the program for a “safety violation on the shooting range”.
So what we see, as online spectators, is an Instagram account of a “tough guy”. A person who wanted to fight on our side to protect our citizens from harm – foreign and domestic. Yet, what we saw on Sunday night, some would argue, was merely Instagram stardom. Yes, allegedly, he did go back after attempting to locate a firearm. But he proclaimed there was nothing much he could do at that point. It was too late. How long would it take for a person to run from a scene like that to go find a gun? I would think a while? And I’m not sure what he was thinking about what he’d be able to do with it – shoot from how many hundred feet away at a building with people in it? And not miss the target and hit another person? As a civilian?
He’s taken a lot of criticism and I think this is an opportunity to really see how a social media account can take a hit when the verbal and imagery of the subject (Dan) do not align with the actions (of Dan). It’s like a do-what-I-say-don’t-do-as-I-do type scenario. What he professed to be and the image he projected to his audience didn’t line up with his actions in that particular moment. And many would argue that actions speak louder than words.
Nobody can blame a person for wanting to run while being shot at. It’s natural instinct, I think, to flee danger. But this was a person who was willing, at one point, to put himself in danger for the sake of others. When the time came this time to put it into action, it didn’t happen. So we’re all left to wonder why. We point fingers in shame, arguing that so many others “less tough” and “more heroic” stayed there, helping victims and shielding them from gunfire.
I close my eyes, thinking about what I’d be doing if in the same situation. I’d like to say that I’d be shielding my children and other women from the gunfire. But, that’s a motherly instinct – and I’ve lived my life pretty fully so I’d be ok with the thought of being injured or dying if it meant I saved others. Have you thought what you would do?
It’s hard to see someone as “tough” as Dan Bilzerian run from the scene, taking the time to videotape it instead of helping victims along the way. It feels insensitive. It felt like a celebrity newscast with an agenda for a bit of sensationalism. There were so many others that stayed behind, taking fire, and Dan chose not to. He ran, to go get a gun. We’re not sure why he chose that over helping people in that moment that needed it.
I’m not going to throw judgment at Dan here. I’m not in his shoes or experiencing what he saw or felt. I do think his instincts to run kicked in… and that’s human. But it is hard to swallow that when so many others stayed and had people dying in their arms. Several lives were saved because of less-popular heroes. They weren’t spending their time amidst chaos posting videos of the shooting. They were busy saving lives in the moment. Dan did go back to help after all the shooting had stopped.
What I will say is that the social media around the misalignment of his actions with the image he projects on Instagram and elsewhere are taking a beatdown. And I’m not sure if he’ll recover from that. Some are saying to give it up and that he’s done. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the situation from a social media impact and alignment perspective. What are YOUR thoughts?