At the time they were written, the words were just one teenager's thoughts about Donald Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. Joaquin Oliver, an outgoing and athletic 17-year-old student whose parents brought him from troubled Venezuela for safe harbor in America when he was a toddler, let his feelings flow.
"Ok guys I've had it," Joaquin wrote in a 2017 tweet. "I wanna ask every one of my 'true' friends who support Donald Trump if they could live without me. If I vanished today would you be happy? Would you be okay with that? Not even just me but anyone being discriminated against by your president. Would you guys be 100% okay with your immigrant friends never existing in your life?"
Months later, Joaquin, known as "Guac," would be tragically murdered along with 16 other people in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. His killer was an avowed racist and MAGA-hat-wearing fan of Trump who had voiced hatred of immigrants — as well as blacks and Jews — in the weeks prior to the Valentine's Day massacre.
Joaquin's father, artist and gun-control activist Manuel Oliver, posted his son's tweet from two years ago in response to Trump's speech about the recent mass shootings in Dayton and in El Paso, where 22 people were slain by a white-nationalist terrorist. The gunman's writings prior to the shooting echoed some of Trump's most toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric, including his statement to federal agents that he tried to kill as many Hispanics as possible.
"This might be the right moment to share Joaquin Oliver's tweet from a couple of years ago," Manuel Oliver wrote yesterday. "The time to act is now!"
Manuel Oliver happened to be in El Paso to install art commemorating his son and advocating for reform of the nation's gun laws. His son's tweet elicited emotional and astonished reactions on social media.
"Wow, truly heartbreaking," wrote Helena, one of Oliver's Twitter followers. "As if he was giving a warning to all that things were going to get worse."
Of all the white-nationalist mass shooters, Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz was perhaps the most enamored with Trump. Though he was largely withdrawn and isolated from society, he idolized the president and even placed a red MAGA hat on his mother's urn. A day trip to Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach was like visiting Disneyland for him, according to published reports.
On his social media accounts, Cruz posted racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic comments.
"I hate Jews, ni**ers, immigrants," he wrote in one post.
Cruz proudly displayed swastikas on his book bag and etched the Nazi symbols on ammo magazines he used during the massacre. Recently released letters written by Cruz in jail, where he awaits trial, confirm he remains a committed Trump supporter. In the letters, he attacks liberals and the media, and warns of immigrants.
"I feel like there is a reason why we're trying to stop immigrants," Cruz writes. "They attack people, destroy property and spread disease. It's a big issue. I'm waiting for the moment when society collapses because of one of these issues."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Before Cruz gunned him down, Joaquin Oliver, a popular and outgoing student, countered that brand of hate speech in the 2017 tweet shared by his father.
"So fight for us and we'll fight for you," Joaquin wrote. "Love us and we'll love you. Take us in with open arms and we'll make sure we make the best out of our stay here."
He also urged those who were silent on the issue of Trump's hate-filled rhetoric to speak out.
"And those who choose to stay out of it are just as bad," Joaquin wrote. "If you stay quiet you're supporting him."