I believe Robert A. Heinlein once said something to the effect of "The reason humans laugh is because some time it just hurts so much that there is nothing else you can do."
Like I said in my post, not all of the kids were joking about it and apathetic about it. Many, especially the more intelligent, paid close attention with a more somber attitude, realizing the seriousness of this event. My girlfriend was one of the ones that realized the seriousness of the event but found it so depressing that she couldn't talk about it, so she talked about someone else. My Spanish teacher said, "Ever since I first heard about the crashes I have done nothing but file papers. I cannot control the events in NYC and DC, but I can control my papers." Some of the other teachers cried throughout the day. My eyes watered, the tears only held back by the anger within me against those responsible and the fact that I was to young to help in any way, to young to even give my damn AB blood. There were those of us mature enough to care.
There were those at my school that were not mature enough to care. Here's a quote from a friend of mine:
"I turned around to a fellow student who had not understood the enormity of the situation. I asked her, "Do you know what just happened?" I made her slightly angry that I would interrupt her conversation about a note she wrote. She looked at me with blank eyes, and I wanted to reach out and shake her. HOW DO PEOPLE NOT KNOW??!! I explained to her what had happened, and she looked at me with a dubious expression, clearly not believing me."
I saw kids that were genuinely laughing at the plight of others, as opposed to laughing out of pain. These were kids that did not care about others tragedies, as long as they weren't personally hurt it did not matter to them. These were kids that walked through the halls as if nothing happened, complaining about their petty problems. Girls asking if their hair was ok. "You know what john said? Damn I am going to whack that boy upside the head next time I see him." Things like that.
This was a life changing day for many people. Perhaps all of America. It's not a day to be laughed out or joked about. I can see laughing in pain, but there is a difference between laughing in response than joking about it.
Perhaps the best description I've heard all day was a CNN correspondent when the North Tower collapsed: "There are not words."