One of the wounded survivors of the Parkland, Florida School Shooting is speaking out about how the bullet from an AR-15 nearly tore his foot off, and the long road to recovery he has ahead of him.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School freshman Kyle Laman was hit in the ankle during the Valentine's Day shooting at his school. The 15-year-old was one of 14 injured survivors, and was rushed to an area hospital for immediate surgery. Laman will need at least four surgeries to repair the damage to his leg, and at least a year of physical therapy and rehab before he can walk again.
Both of Laman's parents have temporarily left work to help care for their son, who remains in the hospital. Other family members have set up a GoFundMe page, hoping to offset some of the medical expenses of Laman's extensive treatments.
Laman himself spoke in a video published by TMZ, recounting how he'd helped officers identify the shooter even after he was hit. "It was definitely -- it was pretty cool though. He was cool," Laman said of the officer he spoke to.
He went on to describe the damage to his foot and ankle, and the excruciating pain of his ongoing treatments. "Man, when I woke up from that [surgery], it was torturous. It hurt so bad. It's like, it was unbelievable pain. It was bad."
TMZ published photos of Laman's injury, though they are extremely graphic.
Laman's mother spoke to the outlet as well. She felt that the severity of her son's injury demonstrated the need for tighter restrictions on assault weapons.
"I don't think that child -- kid -- should not have been able to purchase that weapon. It was meant to kill. I can send you pictures of his injuries. That, you know, that's not a normal gunshot," said Marie Laman. "I mean, the whole top of my son's foot was shot off. They had to reconstruct his whole foot. It looked like Walking Dead."
"You know, you think of a bullet hole, you think of a little hole," she went on. "This was, like, a hole bigger than my whole hand. His foot [was] just blown away, because that's what these bullets were made to do. An 18-year-old or 19-year-old should not be able to purchase that. I mean, you can't even drink at that age, you know? You're barely driving, but you can have these weapons that are made to kill. I mean those bullets were made to kill. So, that's what I would get across."
Many of the students from Stoneman Douglas High are calling on lawmakers to tighten restrictions of guns, particularly assault weapons. Some outspoken survivors want to see guns like the AR-15 banned entirely, or at least have the purchasing age raised to 21.
A group of students spoke to lawmakers in the state capital shortly after the tragedy, and were voted down. Last week, Florida voted instead to invest $67 million into arming school teachers.