One thousand, two hundred miles away from the mass shooting unfolding at Santa Fe High School in Texas, students in Parkland, Florida, were struggling to process the footage they watched Friday.
In teacher Jeff Foster’s AP Government class, what was supposed to be a celebration of the seniors last day at school quickly turned into a painful reminder of their own horrific experiences.
“When I was watching the news on my computer, I made the conscious decision to put it on the big screen and plug in the audio,” Foster told NBC News after the Texas shooting. “Everybody stopped what they were doing and watched it.
“The students all seemed to be in disbelief and angry. Watching them, you could see, looking into the kids’ eyes, you could see them remembering when they had cameras in their own faces three months ago.”
“You go from saying, ‘We won’t let this happen ever again,’ and then this happens,” said Foster, whose 11-year-old and 6-year-old daughters reluctantly came to visit his school on Friday for the first time since the Feb. 14 mass shooting and were jarred by what they were seeing on the television news.
“What do you say now?”
You don’t say “my thoughts and prayers are with you” because that doesn’t mean anything. You don’t say “now is not the time to talk about gun control” because now is exactly the time. You don’t say “arm the teachers” because that’s stupid and impractical beyond repair.
I don’t know what to say. Do you?