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Former NRA president duped into giving 'graduation speech' to empty chairs of kids killed by guns

Earlier this month, former president of the National Rifle Association David Keene and pro-gun writer John Lott gave prepared speeches for the graduating class of James Madison Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. In what they understood to be a dress rehearsal, they spoke to empty chairs about Madison's writing of the second amendment and encouraged students to push back on gun control legislation.

They didn't know they were speaking to students at a school that doesn't exist. And they didn't know that they would ultimately be giving their speeches to 3,044 empty chairs, representing the students who would have been graduating this year if they hadn't been killed in acts of gun violence.

Parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student killed in the Parkland school shooting in 2018, orchestrated the dupe to create a series of PSAs about gun violence and the gun lobby. Oliver's father, Manuel, told Buzzfeed News, "We lost Joaquin three months before his graduation. We know exactly the feeling of being there and receiving the diploma without your kid being there. Because we understand that, we know there are a lot of people going through that same experience right now."

Here's the first PSA of "The Lost Class," showing David Keene speaking interspersed with recordings of 911 calls from people seeking emergency help during school shootings:


Lost Class 1/3www.youtube.com

The effect is haunting. Knowing that the "students" Keene is speaking to about achieving their dreams will never have the chance because they were shot and killed hits home as we hear the terror in the voices of those 911 callers.

The second PSA, featuring John Lott:

The Lost Class 2/3youtu.be

And the third, featuring Patricia and Manual Oliver, the parents of a school shooting victim, explaining the purpose in putting together the hoax.

The Lost Class 3/3www.youtube.com

"We are here representing every single kid that is not able to finish high school," Manuel said.

"People deny the actual reality," Patricia added. "And we cannot allow them to deny it because this is real. This is happening."

The powerful PSAs were shared by Change the Ref, the organization the Olivers founded after the Parkland shooting to empower and inspire future leaders to speak out and take action.

"We need to call them out, we need to show everyone — this is how they process the logic behind the gun industry," Manuel Oliver told Buzzfeed. "We need to show we're brave and we're not afraid of these guys. We've already felt the worst possible situation. There's no threat that can make me feel different."

The Olivers encourage people to sign the petition at thelostclass.com to demand that lawmakers pass laws requiring universal background check laws.

If Keene and Lott had done their own basic background checks when asked to speak to students at James Madison Academy, they could have saved themselves some embarrassment. If implemented properly, universal firearm background checks might actually save lives. It's gun legislation that the vast majority Americans already support, so hopefully this powerful message will get through to lawmakers, even if it does nothing to convince the gun lobby that their time has passed.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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