It’s graduation season throughout the nation, and a lot of different people are asked to speak to the graduating classes. Sometimes, those voices are gun control advocates. Other times, they’re pro-gun fixtures.
However, there are some names that I wouldn’t think about speaking during graduating classes like economist John Lott and former NRA president David Keene. Yet, apparently, both men actually agreed to speak to a graduating class via video.
Only, it turns out it was all under false pretenses.
A former NRA president and gun rights advocate both unknowingly delivered commencement speeches at a fake high school graduation that represented thousands of children who died from gun violence before they could graduate alongside the class of 2021.
In two videos shared on Wednesday, former NRA President David Keene and author and gun rights activist John Lott are seen delivering commencement speeches to a field of empty white chairs.
The speeches were organized by the group Change the Ref, which was founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver, whose son was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The 3,044 chairs represent the students who did not graduate with the high school class of 2021 because they were killed by gun violence, according to a statement obtained by The Hill.
In the videos of the speeches, the speakers are seen delivering addresses to a Las Vegas-area high school named James Madison Academy, which does not exist.
In other words, the whole damn thing was a gotcha.
Both Keene and Lott spoke about James Madison and his role in crafting the Second Amendment, which stands to reason since the supposed school was named after him. Lott said he was encouraged by organizers to speak on Madison, in fact.
What these people did was try to arrange a big old hoax to try and make the gun rights crowd look ridiculous. After all, they’re speaking about the value of the Second Amendment to a bunch of empty chairs representing the students who didn’t graduate because they were dead.
Oh, hardy har har. Good one, right?
No. It’s stupid.
First, these were two men who agreed to take time out of their lives to speak on a subject they’re passionate about to a group of high school seniors. Neither of these is someone who I’d have thought of as being interested in speaking at high school graduations, but they did.
Yet they were asked to do so under fraudulent circumstances. While it doesn’t sound like anything illegal took place, it’s still fraudulent in my book. They lied to set up their little spectacle.
I’m curious, how many of them despise Project Veritas and what they do? How is this somehow better? At least Project Veritas simply records people in their natural element. It just shows us a glimpse of what is taking place behind closed doors.
In contrast, these people sought out Keene and Lott, then actively asked them to focus on a certain topic. This was a setup, plain and simple.
What groups like Change the Ref need to consider, though, is that if this is the kind of tactics they want to employ, more than one can play that game. How will they like it when Shannon Watts or Fred Guttenberg are publicly embarrassed because someone lied to them in order to set it up?
Don’t think it’s not going to happen.
However, I’m also going to say that neither Keene nor Lott should be embarrassed by anything. Those empty seats? Those children didn’t lose their lives because of the Second Amendment. They lost their lives because some jackwagon decided to use a gun to settle a score. As per usual, the problem isn’t a gun issue, it’s a people issue.
The Second Amendment, however, preserves our right to fight back against people like this. Both Keene and Lott know this, of course, but clearly, the other side doesn’t.
Honestly, I’m disgusted by these antics. It’s not because the Second Amendment or its advocates should be embarrassed by the death of these kids–they weren’t responsible in the least for these deaths–but because of the underhanded efforts taken.