The Florida mother whose anguish was captured in a now-iconic photograph from the Parkland school shooting called comments made by a National Rifle Association spokeswoman at a conservative gathering over the weekend "despicable" and "vile."
Speaking to an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C., NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said journalists from the mainstream media "love mass shootings" because "crying white mothers are ratings gold."
"I’m not saying you love the tragedy, but you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold," Loesch said. "And notice that I said ‘crying white mothers’ because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend. Where’s the CNN town hall for Chicago?"
Cathi Rush's two sons are enrolled at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School and survived the Feb 14. mass shooting that left 17 people dead. She described the moments surrounding the photo that depicted the panic and fear felt by hundreds of parents as they waited for answers outside the school.
“We were just screaming and crying together. And I didn't know, I didn’t know about my children and I really hope that Dana from the NRA never has to experience that,” Rush told NBC 6.
She continued, "I mean, does she have no sympathy, no empathy at all. I truly believe that it's vile, it’s a wretched disgusting thing for her to say.”
Rush said she doesn't know whether Loesch's comments were about her photo because "there were lots of moms crying," but noted she hates that image because it forces her to relive the panic of not being able to find her sons every time she sees it.
She recalled racing to the high school when she learned about the shooting. Her 11th-grade son had evacuated but her younger son, who is ninth grade, was still inside the building. She later learned he had sheltered in place when they finally reunited several hours later.
Rush says both of her children will return to the school on Wednesday as classes resume for the first time since the mass shooting.