Leave it to The Washington Post to smear and mock a Las Vegas massacre survivor, seemingly because he’s a proud gun owner.
In a new low, the Post‘s Avi Selk decided to target the real bad guy in the Las Vegas massacre, which left 58 dead and injured nearly 500 others: no, not the killer, but massacre survivor Dan Bilzerian, who reportedly saw a woman get her head blown off right in front of him and rushed back to his home to “grab a gun” and then return to the scene to help others for hours.
“What a macho, gun-packing Instagram star did when he was caught in the Las Vegas shooting,” reads the headline, posted a mere three days after the attack.
According to Selk, the “macho, gun-packing” Bilzerian, an Instagram star, is a fraud because he initially ran to safety moments after he witnessed a woman tragically get her face blown off, as bullets rained down on him and thousands of others.
“Guns and women got Dan Bilzerian where he is today — the ‘King of Instagram,’ with nearly 23 million followers, a mansion full of guns and a hot tub full of women,” starts the piece, as if his personal life or affinity for women has anything to do with him being a target of a vicious attack.
Slamming Bilzerian for filling his massively popular Instagram account with images of himself and “women in the wilderness, playing with his arsenal of rifles,” Selk notes that Bilzerian once trained to be a Navy SEAL, “and while he never became one, he often brags of his apparently deadly prowess”:
“My greatest fear is that someone will break in & I won’t be able to decide what #gun to shoot them with,” he once wrote as a caption for a photo of his table of guns. There’s even an official Dan Bilzerian video game about shooting zombie women in the Nevada desert, and then in a city, with scoped headshots and bodies in the streets.
After presenting the ugly profile, Selk mocks Bilzerian for his reaction to the attack:
But on Sunday night, in the real Las Vegas, the Instagram star found himself caught in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He saw a woman lying dead, he said.
He turned a camera on himself as he walked, short of breath, from the killing grounds, and at first resolved to live up to years of online bravado.
“Trying to go grab a gun,” he says in the clip. “I’m f—— headed back. … Saw a girl get shot in the face right next to me, her f—— brains hanging out.”
But in the next clip, which briefly appeared on Bilzerian’s Instagram account and has since been plastered over the Internet, he stands in front of police lights, looking slightly dazed.
“Um, they got one of the guys,” he says, no gun in sight, all fury gone from his voice. “I’m headed back. I don’t think there’s much I can do.”
So he went home, leaving fans to wonder whether one of Instagram’s most formidable stars was something different in real life.
The piece goes on to quote Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient and a Marine veteran, who blasted the Instagram star as a fraud.
“This is why children shouldn’t classify heroes by their followers or their photos,” wrote Meyer. “… 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. … Please stop trying to be someone your [sic] not.”
But is the Post‘s attack on Bilzerian fair? By his account, Bilzerian ran to safety and then returned to the scene to help others. Is that reaction worthy of mockery? And why would the Post choose to dedicate so much energy to tearing down one of the victims of the nation’s most deadly mass shooting?
The real reason the Instagram star is being targeted, of course, is because he is a gun enthusiast and is perceived as promoting “toxic masculinity.” Selk appears to have a personal grudge against Bilzerian and what he stands for.
Rob Hagen, who serves as the CEO to Bilzerian’s businesses, told The Daily Wire that Bilzerian “did drive two women who had been shot to the hospital and went back to the scene for over 3 hours to help the police carry dead bodies to where the police needed them to be.”
Update 3:30 p.m.: The Daily Wire was tipped off to the man who drove the two women to the hospital with Bilzerian, Jason Waufle. He had the following take:
“I was driving the van Dan entered as well as transporting two women to the hospital at the time. Dan was doing what anyone else would do, and was true in his word to return to the scene and help/aide,” Waufle told The Daily Wire.
“He helped me get the two women out of the back of my van when we got to the hospital and he told me he was going down to aide in finding his police chief’s niece,” he said.
“I drove those women and I couldn’t convince myself to go back down there to help, Dan could and he did. He felt helpless without a firearm, the same way I did,” said Waufle.
“The sounds were confusing and made it seem as if there were men walking on the street level firing. This is why I believe Dan was concerned with having a weapon, he felt he could return fire successfully believing the men were on the ground,” he continued, making it clear that this was not explicitly stated by Bilzerian, but it’s what he gathered from his reaction.
Waufle then pulled up in his van, with the two women in the back, and yelled for Bilzerian to get in. After they brought the women into the hospital, Bilzerian thanked Waufle, grabbed “what he felt he needed,” and headed back to the scene of the massacre:
He entered and realized I had women in the back as well. Like I said, he helped me unload them from the back at the hospital and when we got to his home he thanked me and literally sprinted to the garage of his home to grab what he felt he needed and returned to the scene.
According to Waufle, the women were not shot, but appeared to be in shock.