A Parkland shooting victim’s parents tricked a former NRA president into giving a graduation speech for a gun violence prevention video


Video posted on-line exhibits David Keene addressing a makeshift discipline in Las Vegas. Keene thought he was training his speech to the graduates of James Madison Academy, however in actuality he was speaking to 3,044 empty chairs representing college students who would have graduated highschool this yr had they not been killed, based on the parents, Patricia and Manuel Oliver.

“This year you focused on one of the most important of [James] Madison’s amendments, the Second Amendment,” Keene stated to the rows of empty chairs. “There are some who will continue to fight to gut the Second Amendment, but I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent them from succeeding.”

“An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success,” he added. “So my advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality.”

CNN has reached out to the NRA and Keene for remark, however has not but obtained a response.

Patricia and Manuel Oliver, co-founders of the gun security group Change the Ref, organized the pretend graduation. Their son Joaquin Oliver was killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

They included the speech in a three-part video sequence titled “Lost Class,” which additionally featured footage of the empty chairs, audio of 911 calls made by college students, and the sound of weapons being fired.

Keene wasn’t the one particular person the group tricked into collaborating within the pretend graduation. 

John Lott, creator and gun rights activist, additionally addressed the viewers of empty chairs. Lott’s guide “More Guns, Less Crime” is sometimes called the NRA’s “bible,” the video says.

“Gun control advocates and Democrats will fight you tooth and nail,” Lott stated in his speech about background checks. “They want to go and say ‘We’ve stopped 3.5 million dangerous people.’ I look at it as we’ve stopped 3.5 million law abiding citizens who wanted to get a gun.”

In a assertion to CNN, Lott stated he didn’t need his graduation speech to be political or about gun management, however was requested to take action by the occasion organizers. He additionally accused Change the Ref of enhancing his speech. 

“They should make the entire video public so that people can see how they deceptively edited my talk, taking not even a minute of a 15 minute talk,” he advised CNN. 

“I have dedicated years of my life to try to prevent school shootings.” Lott stated. He advised CNN he talked about “how to fix the system” and “how to make it work,” and the way gun management advocates are combating in opposition to his concepts, however he stated the group edited it out.

Lott, who drove 1,000 miles from Montana to Las Vegas, to present the speech has demanded that Change the Ref releases the complete video.

Manuel Oliver advised CNN that “there was no editing.”

“They said the speech. Those are their words. They believe that,” he stated.

“This is what these guys believe and what we did was call it out and put it out there so everyone knows,” he added.

Manuel Oliver stated the stunt was much less about them and extra in regards to the college students who have been killed and due to this fact won’t graduate this yr.

“They might be mad. They might feel like fools,” he stated. “Honestly, it’s not about them. It’s about the 3,044 chairs that were missing a student because of gun violence, and those two guys are part of the problem and they are far away from being part of the solution.”



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