Ex-NRA president and 2nd Amendment activist duped into speaking at ‘fake high school graduation’ for kids killed by gun violence

Two major gun rights activists were conned into giving commencement speeches at a phony high school graduation, its audience consisting of stand-ins for thousands of kids who died of gun violence before they were able to graduate.

The stunt was organized by Manuel and Patricia Oliver of the nonprofit group Change the Ref, which previously staged an address in October in which their late son Joaquin Oliver ‘spoke’ to his fellow classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Oliver was gunned down by Nicolas Cruz during the Parkland high school shooting in 2018, but his parents have worked with a tech company to bring him back to life as a hologram and have since brought him to various events in an effort to convince politicians to vote for gun control – “because [Joaquin] can’t.”

David Keene, the former NRA chief who was first to speak, praised his invisible audience for being “staunch defender[s] of your right to keep and bear arms.” Heartstring-tugging 911 audio from the Parkland shooting was overlaid on his speech as the camera panned out over 3,044 empty white folding chairs – supposedly the number of students killed by gun violence.

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While Keene was ostensibly giving his speech at “James Madison Academy” near Las Vegas, that school does not actually exist – though Keene praised it for Madison’s support of the right to keep and bear arms. The speakers were told they were delivering their speeches for a dress rehearsal, with no students present.

Another speaker, gun rights activist and writer John Lott, gave his own speech before the sea of empty chairs, also opting to praise Madison for “propos[ing] what became the Second Amendment to the Constitution…an individual right for people to be able to keep guns for protection.” He complained that the nation had “stopped 3.5 million dangerous people” getting a gun, arguing instead they had stopped “3.5 million law abiding citizens.”

Both speakers were informed their speeches had been canceled before the date of the mock “commencement.”

Oliver’s last tribute saw the young man digitally strut across the stage, urging his former neighbors and classmates to keep him in mind when they cast their votes – many of whom would be exercising their franchise for the first time.

“Everyone knows, but they don’t do anything. I’m tired of waiting for someone to fix it,” the digital ‘Oliver’ told the audience in October’s projection, which, while rated “powerful” by some, was deemed “obscene digital necromancy” by others. 

The amount of guns purchased by Americans has soared since last year, when lockdowns, a perceived increase in police brutality and the arrival of the novel coronavirus ratcheted up the fear level across the nation.

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Parkland shooting victim's parents reanimate son's image via AI urging viewers to vote for gun control - ‘because he can’t’

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