NRA bigwig David Keene gave a graduation speech at a fake high school where the 3,044 empty seats represented students from the class of 2021 who were killed by gun violence.
BuzzFeed News explains:
In a speech to the James Madison Academy 2021 graduating class, David Keene, a former NRA president and current board member of the gun rights group, called on the teens to fight those looking to implement tighter gun restrictions.
"I’d be willing to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and prevent those from [succeeding]," he said, to a Las Vegas stadium of thousands of socially distanced chairs on June 4.
"An overwhelming majority of you will go on to college, while others may decide their dream dictates a different route to success," said Keene. "My advice to you is simple enough: follow your dream and make it a reality."
The escapade was staged by Change the Ref, an organization founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver whose son Joaquin “Guac” was killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a few years ago. Keene and gun rights activist John Lott were filmed during what they thought was a graduation rehearsal at the non-existent James Madison Academy. Change the Ref calls the 3,044 students The Lost Class.
A video from the fake rehearsal intercuts Keene’s remarks with real 911 calls about school shootings.
Without knowing it, former NRA president and current board member David Keene gave a fake graduation speech to thousands of empty chairs, meant to represent the kids who should have graduated this year, but were killed by gun violence.
This is incredible. pic.twitter.com/Thq5uDUW4G
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 23, 2021