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.