Nine members of Congress took a tour of the blood-stained and bullet-packed halls at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday.
During their tour, ballistic experts fired at least 140 live bullets during a reenactment of the 2018 mass shooting.
The reenactment is part of a lawsuit by the victims’ families and the injured that accuses a Broward County deputy assigned to the school of failing in his duty to protect them and their loved ones. A parent of one of the victims organized the tour in hopes it will spur lawmakers to act.
“We can come together and we can enact common sense school safety solutions so that this will never happen again,” said Max Schachter, a father to one of the victims.
Friday afternoon, inside of the Parkland Marriot, huddled around a roundtable, sat nine members of U.S. Congress and 10 mothers and fathers.
“The flashbacks come back to me as I walk in. They didn’t tell us that Alex was dead until one o’clock in the morning,” said Schachter.
On Valentine’s Day 2018, law enforcement met with those same parents in a ballroom telling them a school shooter murdered their kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Those parents returned to talk about how to make schools safer. However, to make change, parents of victims, like Lori Alhadeff and Schachter, knew lawmakers first had to understand their pain.
“The blood on the ground, the bullet holes, the glass, broken glass,” said Alhadeff.
“Seeing the blood all over Alex’s chair and all over the floor,” said Schachter.
But what went wrong?
“How close everything was and how much time it took for this to happen,” said Schachter.
Friday morning they led Congress on a tour through the untouched building where Nicholas Cruz took his AR-15 and murdered 17 people and injured 17 others.
WINK News asked Florida Republican Senator Mario Diaz-Balart what kind of impact will have on him as a person and congressman.
“Look, this is not a day that I will soon forget. You really saw evil incarnate,” said Balart.
“They need to take that pain and horror that they saw and then focus that into school safety bills,” said Alhadeff.
“They can go back to Washington, D.C., to craft legislation to prevent this from happening again,” said Schachter.