The Viral Dinosaur Puppet Reenlistment, In Hindsight

The online veteran outrage machine notched a few confirmed kills last month.

For those of you who haven’t witnessed the infamous “dinosaur puppet reenlistment,” last month a Master Sergeant in the Tennessee Air National Guard decided to reenlist with the aid of a hand puppet. The Colonel presiding over the reenlistment ceremony didn’t seem to mind, and the unit First Sergeant who took it upon himself to record the whole affair can be heard giggling throughout. I have embedded the video below:

The video was posted online and went viral. There was widespread indignation from current service members, veterans, and civilians alike: How dare they disrespect such a solemn and significant event? This spits in the face of those that have fought and died for our freedoms! In an excessive response, the Colonel in the video was immediately demoted and forcibly retired. The reenlisting MSgt lost her Active Guard/Reserve status, and the cameraman was removed from his position as unit First Sergeant.

As is typical with the life cycle of internet fury, the tables were soon turned on the outraged: we’ve all seen reenlistments like (and crazier than) this. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen more egregious behavior go unpunished. Was this really worth three careers? DuffelBlog published a dark but apropos satire article (their best work to date in my humble opinion), and commentary videos started popping up everywhere.

Was this a national travesty and a disgusting insult to all those that have sacrificed for the freedoms we hold dear? No, it wasn’t. Just, no.

A few short news cycles later the dust has settled, and we can collectively reflect upon the realities of the situation. True, taking this video in the first place was ill-advised. Everyone in the room (two SNCO’s and a senior field grade officer) should have known better. Sharing the video was an extremely poor decision. The subsequent backlash and punishment, however, did not fit the crime. Was this a national travesty and a disgusting insult to all those that have sacrificed for the freedoms we hold dear? No, it wasn’t. Just, no.

If people were to assume a truly objective stance, they would realize that literally every phase of this debacle was ridiculous: reenlisting with a puppet was ridiculous, recording and sharing the video was ridiculous, the widespread outrage was ridiculous, the punishment was ridiculous, and the outrage over the initial outrage was ridiculous. You’re ridiculous. I’m ridiculous. They’re ridiculous. We’re ridiculous.

In summation, we all need to relax.

What was your initial reaction to the dinosaur puppet reenlistment? How do you feel about it now? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

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