Parkland parents tricked ex-NRA president into a ‘graduation speech’ to empty chairs representing gun victims

Earlier this month, David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association, stood on an outdoor stage in Las Vegas as he addressed thousands of empty white chairs. Keene was rehearsing his speech to the James Madison Academy’s 2021 graduating class. “Let me begin by telling you what an honor it is to be here to help celebrate your graduation,” said Keene, 76. “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.” But the 3,044 white chairs he faced were never meant to be filled. The private online high school? It never existed. It was all a carefully organized stunt designed to prove a point, Manuel and Patricia Oliver — whose son Joaquin Oliver, 17, was killed in a mass shooting at his high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 — said in a video released Wednesday, with each chair symbolizing a student killed by gun violence. The edited videos from the Olivers’ group, Change the Ref, show Keene and John Lott, a gun-rights activist and author, as they address the empty seats, mixed with audio of 911 calls made during mass shootings at schools. “We are here representing every single kid that is not able to finish high school,” Manuel Oliver said in one video. “Three thousand kids that are not using those chairs because they are not here and they […]

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