In April 2014 Craig Scott (the brother of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim at Columbine), wrote a letter to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, He wanted to forgive them, even if they killed his sister Rachel.
—————————————————————————————————- “Eric and Dylan, It’s been fifteen years since you came into our school armed to the teeth killing 13 people and wounding 24.
In approaching the school, the first person you killed was my sister,
Rachel Scott, she was 17. Before you killed her you asked her if she
believed in God, she answered “yes” and you opened fire. It was
April 20th 1999, this year the anniversary falls on Easter Sunday where
my family will celebrate our time together and honor our faith. If
Rachel were here today she would be painting Easter eggs with our
sisters and playing with our nieces and nephews. She, at some point, would look me in the eyes and tell me to smile more and not take things too seriously. She was an incredible teenager who has changed the lives of millions all by little things she did for others and the writings she left behind in her diaries. The truth about her is that she would have forgiven you for your hateful actions, so do I.
many people around the world watched on television of students running
out of the school, police approaching, and sobbing pupils. Before the
camera crew arrived, I was in the library where you were slaughtering our classmates as if it were a game or movie you had watched again and again.
At gunpoint you bullied and made fun of us. Crouching under a table
remaining silent, I saw you shoot two of my best friends. The last thing
Isaiah heard were racial slurs. You both left the library for a few
minutes giving us a chance to escape. I yelled out at the students to
escape with me and helped pick up a girl who had been shot. After
escaping, you returned to the library and put an end to the massacre by
taking your own lives.
That day my life changed forever. The next two years I carried a lot of hate and anger fantasizing on how I would have got revenge on you, had you been alive,
and at times closed myself off in isolation. It was making me more like
you. Then I decided to go on a mission to South Africa. It was one of
Rachel’s dreams. There I met the man who enlightened me. 17 members of
his family had been killed and despite the profound pain he spoke with
me, he shared his story and did it with serenity. That day I understood that I had to break the chain of hate you started and the only way was to share with every one.
I had to travel a long path to forgiveness to free myself from your
shadows. Now not only do I feel free but I speak about a powerful story
that rose out of the ashes - a message that my sister left behind. The
biggest antidotes to anger and hatred are kindness and compassion. Your
darkness gave light a chance to be seen.
A month before the
shooting, you were in your parents’ basement pointing to a camera with a
gun saying, “We need to get a f**king chain reaction going here.” At
the same time, one month before, my sister was in her english class
writing a paper about her values and beliefs, “I have a theory that if
one person will go out of their way to show compassion it will start a
chain reaction of the same.” Both of you spoke of a “chain reaction”
but while yours ended with suicide, Rachel’s lives on with us as we
share her story with millions of kids each year. My sister’s unfairly
short life continues to have a huge impact on others.
you. We met once when I was in 8th grade and you were in high school.
Your presence instilled fear in me. We were at a mutual friend’s house
and you were on the computer looking up plans to build a pipe bomb,
little did I think that a couple years later I’d find myself under a
table protecting myself against such a bomb. We even played basketball
together, there you seemed like “normal people”.
There are those who say you started the slaughter because you were bullied and ostracized in our school.
If I could go back to that day on the basketball court, I would talk to
you, I would ask you why you acted the way you did and I would try to
make you understand that it’s not all like it seems. I would tell you that the solitude you felt was the same that many others feel and that it all passes.
Eric and Dylan, what you did that day didn’t solve anything. You didn’t do justice with those guns, you stole the dreams and futures of 13 innocent people, like my sister Rachel. Today
I forgive you because I know that hate only creates hate, and I cannot
let you take away my smile, you’ve already taken my sister.“
If this letter is already on Tumblr, please send me a message and I’ll delete it, don’t report. I‘ve never see it, but maybe someone has already posted it.
…I cannot explain in words how much I hurt. I didn’t know how to deal with this hurt, so I physically hurt myself. Maybe it was my way of expressing my sadness, anger and depression…I would lock myself in the bathroom and hit my head on the counters. I also did this on the walls of my bedroom. Thoughts of suicide obsessed me for days, but I was too frightened to actu- ally do it, so I “compromised” by scratching my hands and wrists with a sharp metal file until I bled. It only hurt for the first couple minutes, then I went numb. Afterwards, however, it stung very badly, which I thought I deserved anyway. I still have scars.
Cassie Bernall, January 2, 1999.
Part of an unsent letter in a spiral bound notebook, found by Cassie’s parents in her room after her death.
We went to visit the Columbine Memorial, and it was an emotional experience. I’ve been reading about Columbine for about ten years, and since we were so close, I wanted to go visit and pay my respects. Some of the stories that came out of this horrible point in history has touched me deeply. We should never forget this tragedy, nor the fact that this keeps happening.
Although each and every one of the victims hold a special place in my heart, I will end with a very popular quote by one of them that I try to live by everyday:
“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” - Rachel Joy Scott