Parents of Parkland Shooting Victim Use Haunting AI Video of Dead Son to Push Gun Control

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2018 file photo, a tribute to student Joaquin Oliver and coach Aaron Feis is left at the base of a white cross at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. The ESPYs are breaking tradition for this year's Best Coach Award, awarding it posthumously to three Florida high school coaches who died shielding their students from gunfire. Family members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School heroes Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel, and Chris Hixon will receive the honor during the award show on July 18 in Los Angeles, the ESPN network announced Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

 

The still-anguished parents of a 17-year-old student killed during the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, recently released a haunting, artificial intelligence video of their dead son in a call for stricter gun control laws.

One can only imagine the anguish of parents not only forced to bury a child but even worse, a child who has been randomly murdered in a senseless mass shooting. We should not judge them personally for their views on gun ownership. That said, this article will not do so.

In the aftermath of their son, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver’s death, parents Manuel and Patricia founded the nonprofit organization Change The Ref to “give the young generation of survivors and victims a disrupting voice to help lead the way to change — a more peaceful future.”

The hashtag #NeverAgain follows the nonprofit’s message.

As reported by AP, “From the grave, the teen is now begging his peers to cast the vote that he will never cast.”

Wearing his signature hoodie and beanie, an earbud casually hanging from one ear, passionate Parkland teen Joaquin Oliver urges his peers to vote for lawmakers who will end gun violence in a new video released Friday. Next month’s election would have been his first chance to vote.

The 17-year-old’s mannerisms and vernacular “yo, it’s me” are shockingly lifelike, but it is just a mirage — a realistic, almost eerie artificial intelligence re-creation of the teen who was among the 17 killed in….the worst school shooting in history.

“I’m tired of waiting,” the A.I. Joaquin says in the video. Then continues: “I’ve been gone for two years and nothing’s changed, bro. People are still getting killed by guns […] what is that? I’m tired of waiting for someone to fix it.”

“You’ve got to replace my vote,” he says.

The Olivers reportedly helped craft every detail of the video, from their son’s clothing to his mannerisms and what they believe he would say, relying on his Twitter account and other social media posts.

Patricia Oliver told AP they just connected the dots of their son’s life.

“It’s something where you just put the dots together if you see his posts, the way he thinks, he was still thinking, the way he was expressing his frustration about situations.”

Manuel Oliver added, “We are letting Joaquin grow into his ideas […] and how he will be reacting to things that are happening today. We know our son so well and we knew exactly what he wanted from life.”

Mrs. Oliver told AP the lifelike video was very difficult to watch. “I couldn’t even breathe well,” she said. “Of course we know that is not Joaquin, but they did such an amazing job with the technology […].”

Mr. Oliver, who has been “keeping his son’s gun control message alive,” said “I wouldn’t describe this as painful but as powerful.”

While the anguish of the Olivers and other parents who have lost children to gun violence is beyond understandable, the facts do not support the claims and demands of those who seek to limit or take away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Let’s first get this out of the way. There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” So-called assault weapons — including AR-15s — are semi-automatic firearms — guns commonly used by millions of law-abiding Americans. Therefore, gun-grabbing Democrats cannot ban something that doesn’t exist. As for “weapons of war,” that liberal buzz phrase is laugh-out-loud hilarious — with zero attachment to reality.

In a 2016 New York Times op-ed titled “Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals,” columnist, and CNN contributor Nicholas Kristof — a liberal — wrote, “For those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.” (emphasis added)

We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.

As noted by the National Rifle Association — the bane of the Left — in 2019, according to the most recent data available (2017) — there were 39,772 total firearms-related fatalities. Sixty percent were suicides. Thirty-seven percent were homicides, which is a rate of 4.5 fatalities per 100,000 people. 

In an article titled “Statistics on ‘Self-Defensive Gun Use’ Will Surprise You and Stun Liberals,” my former RedState colleague Elizabeth Vaughn reported on lives saved because of “good guys with guns.”

And there it is. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

If a gun-grabber or anyone else calling for draconian, gun-control laws were to come face to face in a life-threatening situation with a bad guy with a gun, would he or she not want and pray for a good guy with a gun — even an “evil” police officer — to come along and save them?

Of course, they would. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.