PARKLAND, Fla. — It’s an image that has become emblematic of the Parkland school massacre: two terrified moms outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, one of them a tall, weeping blonde with the black smudge of Ash Wednesday on her forehead, the other a petite redhead crying in despair on her shoulder.
The blonde was Mechelle Boyle, whose three children did not attend the high school and were safe.
Boyle, a longtime acquaintance, pulled her up and into an embrace — the image that was snapped by AP stringer Joel Auerbach and would appear on websites, front pages and broadcasts around the world as details emerged of the 17 students and staff members killed.
After the photo came out, Boyle turned down all interview requests from the media until now, saying she didn’t lose a child and didn’t feel she had anything to say.
Rush, 47, appeared on CNN a few days after the rampage, saying she hated the image and felt the photographer had intruded on a private moment.
Rush, a school nurse, wants to see stronger gun control laws.
Boyle, too, turned to Moms Demand Action and has attended every school board meeting since the shooting.
Rush’s ex-husband coached Boyle’s son’s soccer team.
Rush declined to be interviewed with Boyle, saying she disagreed with her on gun control and politics.
Boyle said that she texted Rush a couple of times last year to check in, but that they haven’t kept in touch on social media or in real life.
Rush, a fiery woman with a wry sense of humor, said shooting didn’t unite the community, as some said or hoped; it did the opposite.
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