In March 2018, the Facebook page “Historical Pictures” shared the following meme (archived here), purportedly a screenshot of a Facebook post in which a woman named Emily Noel mistakes discarded drill bits for bullets:
Underneath a photograph of what is clearly four drill bits, a poster named “Emily Noel” wrote:
Was At the gas station and found these bullets on the ground so I took them home. did some researchand found out they’re from an automatic assault rifle. Really?! People make me sick. How are you just gonna let these kinds of things lie around Smdh!
Whoever created it ensured that it appeared that the original author was not joking, but instead entirely ignorant about firearms and ammunition (implicitly a characteristic conferred by the post upon proponents of gun control in general.)
The “Emily Noel” drill bits/bullets meme was not new in 2017 or 2018, either. Versions of it circulated as far back as 2015, as evidenced by a post on thefirearmsforum.com. In that iteration, the original poster was purportedly “Petty Crocker.”
Not far into the thread, a user explained that they located the original post — and that it appeared to have been intended as a joke or satire:
A 3 minute search of facebook found a account under petty crocker ( actually many ). and reading the posts, petty is ( donald ) and a guy, and he posted that as fun. As a matter of fact someone spoofed it with real bullets and posted that they found dewalt screwdriver bits laying around.
for anyone that wants to read the 102 (laughing their buts off ) comments to the original post, it is from october 8th user: petty crocker ( the one with no profile picture )
I thought this felt like a joke and not real..
Not sure where the ‘womens shooting network’ came in, because that does not appear on the ORIGINAL facebook post. So spoof on top of a joke….
Another post by ThePoliticalInsider.com blog from October 2015 eventually admitted the original post was likely satire, but still framed the post overall as characteristic of anti-gun positions:
The “Petty Crocker” girl is now acting like it was a big joke, but I’m not so sure.
Each time the updated version attributing the claim to an “Emily Noel” circulated, an actual Facebook user with the same, very common name received angry and threatening messages. In March 2018, she shared screenshots of a handful of messages in her inbox, adding:
Shout out to all of the random, ignorant individuals out there that choose to spend their free time trolling the internet and bullying people. Several of you have already heard my story about the “bullet/drill bit” post that went viral on Facebook almost 3 years ago — posted by another Emily Noel — who I am now getting 100s of messages on behalf of (to this day, damn!! Super viral!) because I’m being mistaken for her online. It never ceases to amaze me how cruel people can be when they feel safe hiding behind virtual walls. I’m particularly amused by Robert the Chihuahua here, who wrote to let me know that I’m a “Dumasscrat”… good lord.
And in January 2019, she posted again about unending inbox threats:
Round 3… let’s do this again.
For all of the random people that keep looking up my profile, sending me messages, & trying to friend me. I don’t have time to block all 300 of you and I also don’t feel that I should need to change my name on Facebook.
No, I am NOT the Emily Noel that posted the now viral ‘bullets’ post 3+ years ago. It’s amazing to me that something so stupid can go re-viral so many times, and also amazing how many ignorant people are out there that choose to spend their time trolling someone they don’t know (and the wrong person, on top of that).
Can ya’ll get a life and go do something productive with your time. Or if you’d like, I can keep putting your ridiculous posts on blast. Thanks 😂
When the original drill bits/bullets post first appeared in or around 2015, those sharing it reluctantly admitted the likely satirical nature of the post. Despite not lining up with the original attribution, at least one “Emily Noel” on Facebook has continued for years to receive hate mail and threats over what was almost certainly a joke authored by someone wishing to mock supporters of gun control.