Father shares daughter's witness before & after Columbine shootings
HANNIBAL, Mo. (BP)--"What a difference one person can make," said Darrell Scott, referring to his daughter, Rachel Scott, a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 600 at Hannibal-LaGrange College's 59th annual Booster Banquet Nov. 17, Scott was greeted by a standing ovation. After showing an eight-minute video recounting news clips and other images of that fatal day in 1999, Scott said, "We're now going to move from tragedy to a story of triumph."
Sharing from diaries left by Rachel, Scott noted what he believes are prophetic overtones in his daughter's writings, allowing closure in his own life after her death. Months before she died, Rachel wrote, "I'm dying.... It isn't suicide. I consider it homicide. The world that you [society] created has led to my death."
Said Scott: "I challenge leaders not to put a Band-Aid on deep, gaping wounds, but to look deeper to the influences of the heart." Noting that many national leaders call for gun control and armed guards in schools as a solution to youth violence, Scott said he believes those are not the right solutions.
"We know that the influences of our lives do affect us," said Scott, referring to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenage gunmen at Columbine. Scott claimed Harris and Klebold often played violent video games and watched violent movies. Families have an important role in influencing youth, Scott said, but he also stressed the importance of a strong moral education system.
"I see Eric and Dylan as victims of the world we've created," Scott said. Harris and Klebold took their own lives after killing 12 students and a teacher during their shooting rampage.
Rachel had shared Christ with Dylan and Eric three weeks before they shot her. "I dare believe I can start a chain reaction through acts of kindness," Rachel wrote in her diary. She had made a commitment to reach the unreached in her school, including handicapped and new students, as well as those who were often teased by others.
On April 20, 1998, exactly a year before her death, Rachel wrote, "It's like I have a heavy heart.... I lost friends at school. Now that I've begun to walk my talk, they make fun of me.... If I have to sacrifice everything, I will.... If my friends have to become my enemies to be with my best friend, Jesus, that's fine."
Rachel had dreams of becoming an actress and a missionary. Through her death, her father feels she has fulfilled her purpose, reaching large audiences with her message of kindness and love, with thousands of young people having accepted Christ after hearing Rachel's testimony through his presentation.
In May 1999, Scott spoke in Washington, D.C., to the House Judiciary Committee. In his speech, he called for changing the violent state of the nation through "humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God."
During the Hannibal, Mo., Baptist college banquet, Scott said, "In this country, we're willing to look everywhere for solutions. We should take heed to the fact that youth are crying out for moral guidance.
"I'm asking for freedom of religious expression; I'm not asking for prayer back in schools," Scott said.
The father said he is determined to let his daughter's story be one of victory, not defeat. "The world that we've created has caused some problems," he told the audience. "I encourage you to make a difference."
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DARRELL SCOTT.