Gun Bullies & Stolen Valor: A Tale of Two Marines

0513_opencarry2201Two Marines came to my attention over the past week. One Marine threatened a woman online, while the other stood up to gun bullies. First, the Marine who told a woman he hopes she gets shot.

Coalition To Stop Gun Violence shared a screenshot last week, of an online “conversation” between one of their supporters and a man named Cody Dotson.


Dotson has tightened his Facebook page up quite a bit since the screenshot was published, but when I viewed it a few days ago, he stated he was a Marine. Dotson also mentions this during the “conversation”:

It’s okay, I’ll let you in on a secret because I know your [sic] a little “slow” yesterday was Memorial Day and as a US Marine it’s disgusting civilian scum such as yourself that we are ASHAMED to know we defend and protect.

Dotson goes on.

Enjoy getting shot while on the phone with the police. Bye.

The first value listed by the Marine Corps is honor. From the USMC Press website:

Honor: Honor requires each Marine to exemplify the ultimate standard in ethical and moral conduct. Honor is many things; honor requires many things. A U.S. Marine must never lie, never cheat, never steal, but that is not enough. Much more is required. Each Marine must cling to an uncompromising code of personal integrity, accountable for his actions and holding others accountable for theirs. And, above all, honor mandates that a Marine never sully the reputation of his Corps.

The woman responds, stating:

I am ashamed to know that someone who supposedly represents out country would say something like this to someone.

At this point, Cody Dotson has already violated the Honor Code of the Marines, by sullying the reputation of his Corps. Dotson calls this woman “disgusting civilian scum,” and tells her to “enjoy getting shot.” Then he goes further:

Sorry I know you sheep are always expecting a love story from us. Wake up and smell the brass, people will die because of you. I hope you get shot. the end, there’s your story.

The woman tells Dotson she will be reporting his comment to the “proper authorities.”

A supposed United States Marine, telling a woman he hopes she gets shot. How, exactly, does that exemplify honor? Or the core values of the Marines? Dotson ends with this:

Please post this. To those who are not as ignorant as you, it will show your incompetence. I thank you, even though you did not thank me for my service. Oh and also, report it. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA bitch you are a joke.

Lindsey, the woman Cody Dotson attacked online, was kind enough to provide a statement to Forward Progressives about this experience:

I was appalled. I feel as though, as a patriotic American, I have an high expectation of our service men and women. I think American citizens should hold those in uniform to a higher standard than civilians. Obviously, because of the way Cody Dotson spoke to be as a man in uniform (bragging about his “service”), he showed me that he did not truly respect the uniform. Marines, as well as everyone else serving our country, are allowed an opinion, certainly, but I feel as though threats are far beneath them. Upon calling the Marine Corps, they told me that they had no record of Cody actually serving and also said that he was discharged prior to entering training. It doesn’t surprise me at all, honestly. 
I reported his comments to Facebook, as well as my local authorities. I filed a report two hours after receiving those messages. 
This is my first encounter with an extremist. I am not at all intimidated. I plan on continuing to share my beliefs in the future. 
Notice what the Marines told Lindsey: Cody Dotson was discharged prior to entering basic training. And yet, there he is, claiming to be an active duty Marine. This is known as “stolen valor” and there’s a website devoted to finding and exposing people like Cody.

Now, the real Marine.

On Memorial Day, a retired Marine named James was told about a gathering in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. According to his friends, about a dozen men armed with semi-automatic rifles, were hanging out in the middle of Fort Worth’s cultural district. James, who is an independent commercial producer, took his camera, and went to film the demonstrators. From Mother Jones:

What he saw there struck him as especially provocative. Not only had the open-carry activists come to a typically relaxed, family friendly part of town, they were displaying intimidating firearms just three days after a major gun massacre in southern California. What he didn’t anticipate was that they would soon be pursuing him for several city blocks with cameras of their own, harassing him and later posting the footage online, where they would also level homophobic slurs and violent threats against him.

As James begins filming, the “activists” from Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County begin harassing him. They are armed with assault rifles, while he only has a camera, but they are very angry he is swearing at them. Somehow, James’ use of epithets is more terrifying than heavily armed gun extremists in their world. One man taunts him by saying:

Are you gonna cry? Sounds like you’re about to cry.

Members of Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County also followed James back to his truck, videotaped his license plate and information on the side of the truck, and promised to post it online.

Marines serve and protect. James was doing exactly that when he filmed those gun extremists. These bullies descended on a part of Fort Worth frequented by families, with semi-automatic rifles slung over their backs, three days after the UCSB massacre. On the same weekend many of the memorial services for those victims were being held. Gun extremists aren’t known for their empathy, evidenced by the truly horrible things they do, say, and write.

One retired Marine, one who never made into basic training. One who calls a woman a bitch, and hopes she gets shot. The other, a man who bravely stood up to gun bullies with a camera. Who represents the Marines better – Cody Dotson, or James? At least one of the gun extremists claimed to be a Marine, as well. I ask again, whose behavior exemplifies the Honor Code so hallowed by the Marine Corps? Cody Dotson? I don’t think so. The self-professed Marines participating in a “demonstration” whose only purpose is to scare families? No. James, a man who exercised his First Amendment rights and, armed only with a camera and some flowery language, stood up to gun bullies?

Yes. I hope other Marines, both active and retired, will step up and defend James, while decrying the behavior of Open Carry Texas, Open Carry Tarrant County, and Cody Dotson. James did not sully the reputation of the Marine Corps. Cody Dotson and the gun bullies did.

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.


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