baumgarter

During freshman year, we formed a circle of friends that included Zach Heckler, Nick Baumgart, Eric and Dylan. Our favorite place to hang out was at the Columbine library. The library was a great place to trade jokes, or sit and talk about how much we hated school. Conversations like those were nothing unusual. But we’d have fun too.

Sometimes we would get so rowdy with our jokes that we’d get kicked out of the library for the rest of the day. Most of the time, though, we did our best to avoid causing trouble. After all, our favorite thing was using school computers to surf the internet, and we didn’t want to lose that privilege.

(Brooks Brown - No Easy Answers: The Truth behind Death at Columbine)

6

Today in History 17 years ago

Nick sees her [Rachel] as she was a week ago Saturday night, the only girl at the prom in a sleek black dress. Everyone else wore poofy pastels. She had a good time pondering, he remembers now, why elephants don’t have toes. He sees Rachel in the restaurant, the only one in his group who dared sample the pate. He looks at a photo of her, so pretty, so bright, sees her laughing as she struggled to pin his boutonniere.

8

Rachel Joy Scott went to prom with Nick Baumgart on April 17, 1999, only three days before her death.

April 25, 1999 - 

“Nick remembers Rachel as she was a week ago Saturday night, the only girl at the prom in a sleek black dress. Everyone else wore poofy pastels. She had a good time pondering, he remembers now, why elephants don’t have toes. He sees Rachel in the restaurant, the only one in his group who dared sample the pate. He looks at a photo of her, so pretty, so bright, sees her laughing as she struggled to pin his boutonniere.

He and his friends have spent hours remembering Rachel. Joking about how she used to imitate the spitting dinosaur from “Jurassic Park”. Laughing at how she would take any dare you could throw at her.”

Rachel Scott and friends before the Columbine prom (April 17th, 1999) 

“Nick sees her in the limo, talking the crazy talk that made her so fun. She had a good time pondering, he remembers now, if elephants have toes. He sees Rachel in the restaurant. The only one in his group who dared to sample the Pâté. He looks at the photo of her, so pretty, so bright, seeing her laughing as she struggled to pin on his boutonniere. 

He and his friends have spent hours remembering Rachel. Joking about how she used to imitate the spitting dinosaur from “Jurassic Park”. Laughing at how she would take any dare you could throw at her.”

4

Rachel Joy Scott’s funeral took place at the Trinity Christian Center on April 24, 1999. More than 2,500 people attended and it was televised worldwide on CNN, as well as multiple other TV channels. Millions watched across the world. Up to that day, it was the most watched event on CNN, even surpassing the funeral of Diana, the Princess of Wales.

An excerpt from “No Easy Answers” by Brooks Brown about Rachel’s funeral:

“Just a few days ago, Steve and I had driven around looking for Rachel, hoping to find her alive. Now she was here, in a closed casket at the front of the church. It still didn’t seem real.

There were several moments during that funeral that truly were beautiful. Rachel’s sister did an exact recreation of the Christian dance Rachel had performed at the talent show the year before, accompanied by the song “Watch the Lamb and Who Nailed Him There.” When it came time for Rachel’s friends to speak, Nick Baumgart gave a genuine, from-the-heart speech that focused on the positive memories we had of her. “Her trueness to herself was amazing,” Nick said. “She didn’t let anybody affect who she was. She didn’t let anybody tell her that what she believed and who she was wasn’t okay. She was true to herself, and because of that, she was true to everybody else. In a sense, she is still here. She always will be, and that smile will still be here … I’m lucky to have known her. I’m fortunate to have been her friend, and I’m fortunate to have called her my Prom date. But I’m truly blessed to have had her in my life.”

At the end of the funeral, as people were getting ready to file out, they asked the family to leave. No one was expecting what happened next.
They opened Rachel’s casket. There was Rachel. Dead. Her body, right there, in the casket for all to see. I don’t know what they were trying to show people by doing this, but in order to exit, you had no choice but to walk right by it. As we filed out, Doug was the first of our group to see her. He started crying. It was hard to watch. Steve (Rachel’s ex-boyfriend) was next. He saw Rachel’s body and collapsed on the floor in tears. Here was his former girlfriend, who still meant the world to him, and his body just failed him. Doug and I had to pick him back up and help him out of there. Of course, when I saw Steve lose it, I was right behind him. All the tears I hadn’t cried up to that point came gushing out, just like everybody else, as I saw Rachel lying there in that coffin.  As we walked out, holding Steve, there was a literal wall of cameras and reporters waiting for us. Taking pictures of us, looking at us, video-taping us.
We just wanted it to be over.”


Some videos of her funeral: