What Its Fraudulent Anti-Gun Video Reveals About “Change the Ref”And Everyone Applauding it

Change the Ref

The anti-gun group “Change the Ref” pretended to represent a fake school, “James Madison Academy,” when they invited former NRA president David Keene to give a speech at a graduation ceremony. He was told that he was participating in a rehearsal, as he addressed a stadium of empty chairs. Another gun rights advocate, John Lott Jr., also was lured into the trap by the same ruse.

In reality, the group was filming an anti-gun video. As Keene exhorted the imaginary students to revere the Second Amendment, the video added audio from 911 calls, and the sounds of terrified students during an active shooter episode (or simulations of them). Keene addressed empty chairs, 3,044 of them, allegedly representing children and teenagers who were shot and killed before they could graduate from high school, though he wasn’t told that. Just a rehearsal! After they provided the desired footage to be used against their cause, Keene and Lott were told that the ceremony was canceled.

Change the Ref was founded by Patricia and Manuel Oliver, parents of a boy killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting. The video is called the “The Lost Class.” Powerful! Clever! Also dishonest, unfair, disrespectful, unforgivably unethical and one more thing: signature significance. A group that would do this is untrustworthy. Nothing it says or publishes can be trusted; none of its arguments can be taken at face value; none of its statistics or analysis can be relied upon by anyone. With this video and its abuse of Lott and Keene, Change the Ref exposes itself as practicing “by any means possible” warfare, not legitimate policy advocacy. It believes that the ends justify the means—their ends. It is a perfect match for the current progressive movement, which has taken an ominous turn to totalitarian strategies with its full embrace of Alinskyism.

Good to know.

“Ironically, had the men conducted a proper background check on the school, they would have seen that the school is fake,” a smug Change the Ref spokesperson said in a press release. Gee, that sounds a lot like Otter telling Flounder in “Animal House,” “You fucked yup! You trusted us!”

Oh, I get it! See, he’s analogizing checking to see if someone you have generously agreed to do a favor for to enhance a graduation ceremony is a liar with requiring background checks to purchase a gun! Yes, that’s representative of the logic and intellectual rigor of anti-gun activists, just as this indefensible scam nicely illustrates the kinds of people and organizations attempting to gut the Second Amendment using misrepresentations, appeals to emotion, exaggerated statistics, fearmongering and lies. Incidentally, a Google cache shows that a website was created to help ensure the scam’s success.

Why would, and how could, anyone trust an organization that would do something like this, or a movement that would endorse it, to be open about their intentions and goals? I believe it has been obvious for a long time that the ultimate goal of the anti-gun movement is to ban private ownership of guns. “Oh no!” they protest. “That’s just another right wing conspiracy theory!”

After this stunt, why should I, or anyone, take such protests as anything but Machiavellian misdirection?

The same conclusions should be drawn about anyone who ratifies the mistreatment of Lott and Keene by continuing to support the group with contributions or words. Surely there must be gun control groups that don’t use such tactics. (Aren’t there?) I know CTR’s defense—it will be the same rationalization that unethical extremists have used throughout history: “Who cares about them? They are the enemy! They are evil! They support what we oppose, which means they don’t deserve fair treatment.” You can fill in the names and nationalities of victims of that attitude over the years and decades as well as I can.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a tweeted that the fake graduation trick was “brilliant.” Again, good to know. She is ruthless and unethical, and winning a debate fairly isn’t important to her. If her organization and its members don’t force her to recant or resign, we know all that is necessary o know about them, too. Nicole Hockley, a mother of a student killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, also pronounced the trick “brilliance.”

I’m waiting for the anti-gun advocate who has the integrity to condemn this video. Don Lemon? Beto O’Roarke? David Hogg? In the absence of such evidence that such activists care how they “win” as long as they do, I will regard them as enemies, not just of the Second Amendment, but of democracy and truth.


Pointer: JutGory

30 thoughts on “What Its Fraudulent Anti-Gun Video Reveals About “Change the Ref”And Everyone Applauding it

  1. The obvious “whataboutism” response is James O’Keefe. I don’t trust him either, but it’s not analogous. O’Keefe uses unethical methods to do undercover journalism, not turning human beings into props to make propaganda.,

  2. Can’t David Keene and John Lott Jr. sue for defamation based on pure fraud? “Change the Ref” organization is going to make money from this outright fraud and smear Keene’s and Lott’s reputation in the process.

  3. Can you imagine the outrage if this had been pulled on Adrienne Kimmell, Alexis McGill Johnson, or any other leader in protecting abortion? There would be no smug laughing.

  4. Sickening on every level. And as it’s already been abundantly made clear: unforgivably unethical. I’m with Steve: sue the bastards.

    Imagine if the right did this to point out things like black on black crime (particularly gun violence)?!?

  5. The website they set up is diabolical. It reads like boilerplate online institution blather, but nothing different than any other. Their about page claimed the online high school was founded by two public school teachers that felt that core constitutional values were not being upheld. The site listed Wuhan Virus precautions. There were links to an online store and course pamphlet, though google didn’t cache those sections.

    The only way to know that the school was fake would be to look through web archives and see whether the site has been in existence since 2005, the claimed founding of James Madison Academy. Americans should not have so little trust for fellow Americans that such digging would be required before accepting the honor of speaking at a graduation. Because of this group, however, it seems that everyone will have to do a large amount of digging before any honor is accepted. Though not as prominent or blatant as CRT, these tactics do their own damage to America and the values for which she stands.

    • Creating such a site to fool two innocent people would create a loud and clear blaring attack of conscience in all but the most sleazy of people. I’ve had harmless April Fool’s jokes that involved far less deception, which I was unable to go through with. As sad as it may be that they lost a child to a shooter (directly due to Obama’s policy “protecting” juvenile offenders, btw,) they have let the incident strip them of their human decency, if it hadn’t already happened before.

      • Sometimes when you get too involved with a cause it takes over and nothing else seems to matter. A few years ago a parent who had lost a child to cancer (horrible, to be sure) asked the Empire State Building to light up in gold to bring awareness to childhood cancer. The ESB turned the request down, since they already do several cancer-related lightings and don’t accept requests from or on behalf of individuals. So they started a phone, mail, and social media harassment campaign to bully them into lighting. After one too many nasty posts and tweets, sometimes profane phone calls, and letters that started with “this is a picture of so-and-so, who died of cancer,” accusations that they didn’t care about kids with cancer, and wishes that they get cancer and die, the ESB said enough is enough, stop bullying us and harassing our employees, we will NOT light for this cause, maybe we will consider a request from a more responsible group.

        I don’t doubt this person was sincere. However, just because you’ve gone through a horrible issue does not entitle you to have others do for you or embrace your cause at the risk of abuse. Unfortunately this seems to have gone out the window in the past few years. Display the rainbow, or we’ll accuse you of being homophobic. Donate to BLM, or we’ll call you racist and sic the Twitter mob on you. Take that statue down, or we’ll take it down for you. Cancel that event, or we will cancel it for you. Now it’s reached the point where you can’t trust people you think are friends or admirers, because they might be trying to trick you so they can make you look bad publicly.

        Yesterday the George Floyd statue installed at City Hall in Newark was defaced with black paint and white supremacist graffiti. The City covered it with a tarp until it could be cleansed and posted a police officer to guard it. This is the same city that yanked a statue of Christopher Columbus at night, without notice, strictly to prevent people from toppling it in a protest, you understand. It’s still about nothing but a monopoly by the left on everything, by hook or by crook. This latest thing kind of reminds me of the Muslim doctrine of taqiyya, the doctrine that permits you to be false with enemies of the faith in order to gain the advantage. There is now a leftist version that permits double-dealing and deception in order to gain the advantage.

        Oh, and I wouldn’t bet on anyone on the anti-gun side condemning this, or trust them if they did. It would be the same as in the movie Patriot Games, where IRA spokesman Paddy O’Neil (Richard Harris) denies that the organization had anything to do with an attempt by Sean Miller (Sean Bean) to kill Jack Ryan’s (Harrison Ford) wife and child. In this case it happens to be true, but Ryan isn’t willing to accept this, quite rightly believing that the IRA tells the truth or lies as it benefits them. He demands O’Neil reveal the whereabouts of the would-be murderers, but is rebuffed, since O’Neil won’t turn on his fellow Irishmen, no matter what. Loyalty to the cause trumps all. The only reason this doesn’t hit the wall is that Ryan has a trump card of his own. Enraged, he threatens to go to the media and get the IRA a raft of bad publicity for trying to kill an innocent little girl because “I don’t give a sh*t whether you did it, and neither will anyone else!” O’Neil, though scoffing publicly, privately doesn’t want to take the risk of losing Irish-American support and having financial support dry up, and, rationalizing that he owes no loyalty to someone who is not Irish by blood, fingers the murderers’ English accomplice. In this case though, there isn’t a weak link we can threaten.

  6. I smell a lawsuit coming very soon. These people that founded Change the Ref probably stupidly thought they could get away with defaming the reputation of a past president of the NRA and a gun’s right advocate. Not so fast. The NRA has deep pockets.

  7. Then, there is Biden telling us the Second Amendment didn’t contemplate citizens owning or needing high capacity magazines, and that if we want to take on the government, we need F15s and nukes. Here is a clip:

    I am going to go out on a limb and declare that this comment has to be one of the strangest, most bizarre comments ever made by a President about this country’s citizens, and considering the crazy things Trump supposedly said, that is saying something. I don’t recall Trump ever threatening to kill citizens or whatever Biden meant.

    The palpable condescension and contempt dripping off that comment is indicative of what Biden really thinks of the American experiment.
    He’s got it exactly backwards: we are the government, not the idiots in the government prancing and preening about with the Secret Service details, and, frankly, they should be afraid of us. We consent to government authority but we can withdraw and withhold thatch consent when they government no longer represents the people’s interests.

    Also, Biden has said January 6th was the biggest threat to the republic since the Civil War. I guess it would seem that a bunch of Trump tee shirt and viking helmet wearing middle-class people weren’t so threatening after all. So, why are they held without bail for misdemeanor trespassing charges when accused murderers and aggravated felons are released on PR bonds?

    If Biden is correct that no constitutional amendment is absolute, then perhaps we should take him at his word and ignore the 11th Amendment (sovereign immunity), the 13th Amendment (abolition of slavery), the 15th Amendment (voting rights based on race or national origin), 16th Amendment (taxation), the 19th Amendment (women’s voting rights), the 24th Amendment (abolition of the poll tax), the 26th Amendment (18 year olds can vote), and the 27th Amendment (fixing congressional salaries) just to name a few.

    And they said Trump was a fascist.


      • Nope. His social workers do. His Secret Service detail has its hands full trying to keep Hunter out of trouble and extracting “refunds” from adult-themed escorts in Los Angeles hotels.


    • BIDEN: “Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government.”

      “If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”

      JVB: “Also, Biden has said January 6th was the biggest threat to the republic since the Civil War. I guess it would seem that a bunch of Trump tee shirt and Viking helmet wearing middle-class people weren’t so threatening after all.”

      Perhaps Joe should evaluate our outcomes in Afghanistan and Viet-Nam. How well did we do against a bunch of rabble with Kalashnikovs and home-made IED’s. He should also understand that the Japanese citizenry was prepared to fight any invasion from the Allied forces. One does not need to defend our Constitution against only domestic enemies. We may not have a standing army of 3 million like China but the potential for China to invade militarily is tempered by the fact we have many more guns in the hands of the citizens than they have in soldiers.

      Joe Biden thinks of himself as a tough guy who relies on his position to bully people. He is a paper tiger at best.

      His comment about you could not own a cannon back when the framers wrote the 2nd amendment is outright false. There were zero restrictions on who could own firearms and of what type. It was not until the firearms control act were any restriction placed on weaponry. He is a liar because he was told of this before.

  8. It’s a funny thing about the gun control lobby: if they were on the side on the angels as they claim to be, if their positions were as broadly popular as they claim, why would they need to rely so much on deception?

  9. “Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a tweeted that the fake graduation trick was “brilliant.” Again, good to know. She is ruthless and unethical, and winning a debate fairly isn’t important to her.”

    This tickled something in the back of my head, and I’m going to tangent over to internet culture for a second.

    Many of you might be familiar with Stephen Crowder, host of Louder With Crowder, a conservative podcast and YouTube show. You might know him from, or at least seen a meme referencing, one of Crowder’s recurring bits: “Change My Mind”, where he sets up a table at a university with a sign on it that says: “(conservative talking point), Change my Mind.” Some of you might know Ethan Klein, owner of H3H3 productions, which used to make edgy internet humor and being a staunch speech activist before having a meeting with Susan Wojcicki, doing a complete 180, giving up on comedy, and starting up a podcast. And a special few of you might know Sam Seder, who is ostensibly an actor, but aside from a couple of bit gigs and some extra voice acting on Bob’s Burgers, really hasn’t had steady work since the turn of the millenium. He currently hosts his own podcast “The Majority Report”.

    Those are the combatants.

    Stephen Crowder is an interesting cat. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I see his appeal, because when we do agree, he has this ability to make you feel really good about your position. One of the things we agree on, at least in spirit, is how horribly the CDC botched Covid, and how we should take what they say with a grain of salt. Ethan Klein disagrees, and mentioned Crowder’s take on his show. There was a back and forth and eventually the two decided that they were going to have a debate.

    This debate was never going to happen, Klein never wanted to have it; he self describes himself as not politically plugged in, not as good a speaker as Crowder, and a little bit dumb. So why did he agree to it? The memes! One of his production assistants talked about how Crowder had been ducking Sam Seder for years, and thought that it might be a great opportunity and funny as hell to do a bait and switch.

    On the topic of Crowder ducking Seder… I have no idea what’s true. Seder is taking the line that Crowder is afraid to debate anyone who isn’t a self proclaimed moron or a college student, Crowder says that Seder’s schtick is trying to glom onto people with significantly larger audiences to get amplified. Looking at their histories…. Both seem true. I suppose they aren’t mutually exclusive. But Crowder doesn’t owe Sam Seder a platform, and for whatever reason he hasn’t booked Seder, so Klein backdoored him.

    Which went about as well as you might think it did. Have you seen that gif where these two packs of dogs are barking viscously at each other through a gate while the gate retracts, and then when there is no gate and they realize nothing is keeping them from actually fighting, they run away? Think that, but with people. Everyone said the things you would expect them to say, Crowder ended the Stream, and all parties declared victory.

    Crowder won the debate with Ethan, because Ethan wasn’t prepared to debate, brought a proxy for himself, and was a giant pussy.

    Klein won, because his intention was never to debate, he was looking to get some chaos, and succeeded.

    Seder won, because he finally got that screentime with Crowder that he’d been so thirsty for, and Crowder leaving feeds into the coward narrative.

    Best off all: All their respective fans believe that their guy won…. Because they did. Depending how you look at it. All three got a bump in subscribers, all three got a massive bump in views.

    Which very meanderingly leads to my point, on the topic of: “winning a debate fairly isn’t important to her.”. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s important to me. Perhaps it depends on your definition of fair. Michelle Obama famously lied: “When they go low, we go high.” I think there are lines, things that are self defeating, depths that you don’t go to, and the fake school speech for a sound byte might qualify, but if we fight by the Queensbury rules while our opponent is trying to kick us in the junk, we just lose.

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