A former president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) was invited to deliver a graduation speech to high school students. Before the event itself, he was called to the ceremony site and rehearsed his speech, in front of some 3,000 empty chairs.
“There are some who will continue to fight the Second Amendment [trecho da Constituição americana que garante o direito às armas nos EUA], but I’d like to bet that many of you will be among those who stand up and stop this from happening, ”Keene told his absent audience.
It was a joke. The fake graduation ceremony was set up in early June on land in Las Vegas and used the name of a school that doesn’t exist. The event was hosted by the parents of a student who died in a Florida school shooting in 2018.
The 3,044 empty seats symbolized the total number of young people who would be graduating from high school this year in the United States, but who have been killed in gun attacks at schools in recent years.
Plan makers Patricia and Manuel Oliver lost their son, Joaquim, in an attack on a high school in Parkland, Fla. In 2018. 15, killed 17 people. The couple then created an NGO to try to reduce access to weapons and prevent further tragedies.
The NRA, America’s main arms lobby, faces a judicial recovery process and corruption investigations.
John Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime” (More Guns, Less Crime), was also invited to the mock graduation ceremony and had the rehearsal of his speech recorded. Speeches by him and the former NRA chairman were included in a video, available below, in English.
Lott, however, told the Washington Post that his speech was distorted by the editorial staff and that organizers urged him to use a more incisive tone because the post would be aimed at conservative students. Lott also said he devoted years of his life to trying to prevent school massacres.
Manuel Oliver told US CNN that there was no editing of the video. “They [que foram enganados] they can be crazy, they can feel foolish. That’s roughly the 3,044 students lost to gun violence, and these guys are part of the problem, ”he said.
The United States lives in gun crime. In 2020, the homicide rate in major cities increased by about 30% from the previous year. This year, 20,989 Americans died from gunshot wounds, more than half from suicide, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
President Joe Biden this week called for stronger checks on background checks on firearms sales to prevent them from reaching people who plan to use them to commit crimes.