This message, which is circulating rapidly via social media, asks you to help get a prayer chain going for an 18-month-old baby named Dakota Miller who is supposedly in a critical condition after shooting himself with a nail gun.
The message asks that you forward the information to everyone you know, apparently in the hope that the many accumulated prayers will help the little boy recover.
An example of the message:
Hey, can you help me get a prayer chain going for micheal bass’s little boy named Dakota Miller. He’s only an 18mo old baby! He got ahold of a nail gun..😥 They had to life flight him. He shot him self and he’s on life support. Forward this to everyone you can please! It’s really appreciated.this is for a friend. Thank you.
But, in fact, the message is an outdated and mutated combination of at least two other prayer request messages, one of which has been circulating since 2010.
Messages like the following example started circulating back in mid-2010 and have continued circulating in the years since:
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: Posting for a FB friend of a friend: 22 month old son shot himself in the chest with a brad nailer, it went in his heart, he is in critical condition not doing good, neither is mom~ please start a prayer chain. Please copy and repost and pray for them. Thank you!
Details about the brad nailer accident described in this message remain unverified. However, references suggest that the accident took place in Champaign, Illinois in late July 2010 and involved a baby named Hayden. Some versions identify the baby’s mother as a person named Kayla Scott. Later reports indicate that Hayden had fully recovered from his injuries.
So how did the name Dakota Miller become attached to the current version of the message? In 2017, a 13-year-old boy named Dakota Miller accidentally shot himself with his grandfather’s gun. The boy was rushed to a hospital in a critical condition.
He was later moved to another hospital and was reportedly showing some signs of improvement.
To be clear, the gun that young Dakota shot himself with was of the bulleted variety, not a nail gun or a brad nailer. He reportedly shot himself while showing a friend the gun, which he did not realize was loaded. And, another news report about the accident identifies the boy’s father as Chris Miller rather than Micheal Bass.
People of faith may believe that sharing such prayer requests will help the sick or injured people mentioned and will thus pass on messages like the one above with the best of intentions. But, given that the information in the current version of the message is significantly inaccurate and hopelessly outdated, we can perhaps all agree that sharing it is utterly pointless and will help nobody.