Joaquin Oliver was among the 17 people fatally shot in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day in 2018. Now Joaquin's parents created an avatar for the slain student to advocate for more gun control, which they believe would have saved their son's life. Unfortunately, the slain student was a victim of the same laws that Joaquin’s parents are advocating.
The AI creation features a very convincing imitation of Joaquin wearing his signature beanie and hoodie. It also imitates his talking style and colloquialisms.
“I’ve been gone for two years and nothing has changed, bro. People are still getting killed by guns. What is that? Everyone knows it but they don’t do anything. I am tired of waiting for someone to fix it,” Joaquin says in a video ad.
The 17-year old would have voted in this year's elections. His avatar urges people to elect more gun control politicians on his behalf.
“I’ll never get to choose the kind of world that I wanted to live in. So you’ve got to replace my vote,” Joaquin says in the video. “Vote for politicians who care more about people’s lives than the gun lobby’s money. Vote for people not getting shot, bro.”
Joaquin's parents, Manuel and Patricia Oliver started the "Change the Ref" gun control organization which was behind the political ad. They claim to know Joaquin very well and what he wanted in his life.
"We are letting Joaquin grow into his ideas,” Manuel said.
The shooting incident lasted 58 minutes, long enough for somebody to act. However, both the school and the then-Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, failed to stop the shooting, leaving helpless children at the mercy of the armed maniac. Had any staff member carried a gun, the shooting would have ended much sooner, sparing more lives.
Over a dozen police reports were made before the shooter went on a rampage. The school's resource officer and the counselors also recommended that the suspect be taken for a mental evaluation. Additionally, the FBI also received a call warning about his erratic behavior, psychotic social media posts, and his intention to shoot people. However, the school administration, the sheriff's office, and the FBI failed to take action.
While Joaquin's parents are doing their best to prevent a similar incident from happening, they're obviously using the wrong approach. The Parkland shooter was a mentally disturbed teenager whose actions were aided by the negligence of both the law enforcement and the school administration.
Additionally, the lack of means for the staff to respond to the shooting was also to blame. Armed citizens have stopped similar shootings in less than a minute. Similarly, the threat of force from armed staff would have convinced the shooter to choose a different target. Unfortunately, “gun-free” signs are not as effective in preventing would-be shooters. Instead, they guarantee them of helpless victims, who are easy targets.
Demanding for the accountability of the school administration and law enforcement would be a step in the right direction for the organization. Similarly, advocating for the creation of effective mental health interventions would be more productive. Supporting the arming of school staff and visitors would also help prevent similar future shooting incidents.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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