She died for what she believed in.
Rachel Joy Scott was killed during the Columbine Massacre 10 years ago because she believed in God.
This hit me hard, completely rattling my tiny sixth-grade world.
It was so easy to be touched by her story: news reports said that one of the gunmen, after he shot her in the leg, asked Scott if she still believed in God, and that she simply answered “You know I do,” which provoked a second, fatal shot to her head at point-blank range.
She had passion that ran deep and this profound part of her life stuck in mine for years. This moment in history played a role in shaping who I am today.
That’s why it felt like such a punch in the stomach, yesterday morning, when it was learned that this event never actually happened.
In a USA Today article, entitled “10 years later, the real story behind Columbine” released one week from the tenth anniversary of one of America’s most deadly school shootings, highlights new information – including several books that analyze the tragedy through diaries, e-mails, appointment books, videotape, police affidavits and interviews with witnesses, friends and survivors – that indicates much of what the public has been told about the shooting is wrong.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold weren’t outcasted by their peers or bullied. There were no “hit” lists, they didn’t target Christians, jocks or blacks. They killed 13 and wounded 24, but had hoped to kill thousands with their homemade bombs.
What happened in Littleton, Colo., or what we thought happened there, sparked nationwide debates on bullying and put the music and video game industries on trial. In a broader scope, it changed the entire culture as we knew it.
But, it was this one interaction between a gunman and a girl that I remember the most vividly and completely changed the way that I looked at the world.
It lead me to read “Rachel’s Tears: the Spiritual Journey of Columbine Martyr Rachel Scott,” a collection of Scott’s journals and the story of her life, and I believed in it. She believed in herself and in her faith and I believed in her story.
The fact that it’s not true makes me feel cheated and lied to. Misinterpretation of the truth on any scale has consequences, even 10 years down the road.