Another day of emotional overload in Parkland.
The process of allowing family members of those who died in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to tour the crime scene continued Thursday for a second day. It was one parade of trepidation after another, as families walked into the site of their nightmares, the 1200 building, where their loved ones took their last, terrified breaths.
“There’s blood everywhere, all over that building. He hunted down and tortured those kids and staff members, it’s absolutely grotesque, it’s horrifying, it’s a horror movie in there,” Max Schachter said.
He was among those who felt compelled to see, to be in the place where his son, Alex, who was just a freshman, was murdered at his desk.
“I wanted to sit in Alex’s chair, I wanted to feel, to be there with him,” Schachter said, clutching an English textbook he took from Alex’s desk. “He stood up and tried to get to safety but he wasn’t fast enough.”
Also Thursday, two former students who were shot and wounded that day went back to retrieve their things and possibly, to make peace with what they endured on Valentine’s Day 2018.
Isabel Chequer carried boxes out to a car. She testified in the trial of the shooter.
“I saw Helena (Ramsey), I noticed that she had passed away and shortly after that I began to freak out a little bit, but we all were just trying to calm each other down as other students were realizing it, too,” Chequer said in her testimony.
In the last five years, Schachter has become a nationally known school safety activist. His non-profit organization is called Safe Schools for Alex, a tribute to his son.
“Every legislator, every member of Congress should understand what happens when you don’t prioritize school safety, when you don’t take this seriously, and the reason I went in there today, the reason why I talk to you is because as I travel around the country, there’s still so many people don’t think it’s gonna happen in their community and this is absolutely horrible what I just saw,” Schachter said.
Schachter says school resource officers should be specially trained and dedicated to the job. It is not, he says, a retirement position.