Columbine Revisited, For the Record
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 033001)

I still can't get it out of my mind. The nightmare at Columbine
still haunts me, renders heartbreak on my heart and soul.

The facts:

o 2 teenage boys, harassed and emotionally disturbed, set out
to slaughter their classmates and teachers.

o 12 students died, 1 teacher died, and the 2 boys committed

o Anti-atheists and pro-religionists used the travesty as grounds
for actively opposing disbelief and promoting faith based on
the tragedy.

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Report offers Columbine hindsight (112200)
Excerpt: ... Interviews show that killers dropped hints of
rampage, but no one gathered all the pieces ...

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold announced their violent plans
for Columbine High School in veiled threats, cryptic clues
and strange behavior — but nobody put all the pieces together
until gunfire erupted.

About 11,000 pages of police reports released Tuesday show
numerous warning signs that were missed or ignored before
the worst school shooting in U.S. history left 13 victims and
the two gunmen dead on April 20, 1999. ...

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New clues in Columbine killings (112200)
Excerpt: Nineteen months after Columbine, investigators
finally released compelling testimony to refute some of the
high school massacre's most enduring myths Tuesday.

Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson ordered
the release of 11,000 pages of material, mostly eyewitness
accounts recorded by investigating officers. ...

The testimony substantiates an argument investigators have
been trying to make since September 1999: The massacre
at Columbine was random and indiscriminate -- it wasn't
based on targeted groups or a hit list. (Though several so-
called hit lists did exist, they don't appear to have played
any role in the final killings.) ...

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Witnesses tell of Columbine bullying (100300)
Excerpt: ... Bullying at Columbine High was rampant, wit-
nesses testified Monday, and victims' parents were shocked
that the principal has said there were no danger signs leading
to the shooting. ....

The first speaker of the day, former Columbine special edu-
cation assistant Patti Stevens, said her students were terrified
of bullying. She named one former student, Rocky Hoff-
schneider, whom other students have previously fingered,
as a principal participant in the bullying.

Hoffschneider could not be reached for comment, but he has
previously said he did not escape punishment for his misdeeds.

Shari Schnurr, the mother of injured student Val Schnurr, said
she had discussed bullying at the school with her daughter, who
was a peer counselor.

"There was just across-the-board intolerance," Shari Schnurr
said. ...

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From previous posts ...
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Excerpt from "Surfers Worship Heroes of Hate" (020600)

The story that won't go away - in Denver, they're still writing
about it - an article by Holly Kurtz, February 6, 2000, entitled
"Surfers worship heroes of hate"... basically, the article claims
kids are worshipping the killers as a rebellious act and they
include a quote supposedly from a kid who treats the killers
as gods 'cause she doesn't believe in GOD:

Whether this is a legit article -or- an attempt to demonize disbelief
by trying to tie it into worship of killers, I don't know, but I do
know that has been the intent/focus of all of the "She Said Yes"
idiocy that's been pervasive in fundy churches since the tragic
events took place (along with other tragic mass killings, including
the Fort Worth nightmare, this past year).

To repeat something I've said many times regarding these trage-
dies, ALL well-meaning persons of faith and nonfaith DEPLORE
these events and long to take every reasonable measure to insure
that the likelihood of these events recurring are eliminated. To that
end, 1) TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH, 2) don't own
firearms - treat them like the plague, 3) mental health - take care
of you and yours - there's no reason in this modern day and age
for anyone to be suffering from undiagnosed/untreated mental
illness, and 4) love people - just a little love can go a long way.

Naive? Think about it.

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Excerpt from "Re: What's wrong with religion" (10/25/99)

"... All christians have doubts. The christians who debate
in most newsgroups are often putting a brave face on a
flawed faith. Christians fear death and fear god and fear
facts. Their fear is manifest in their lies and deceptions,
as evidenced by many of their newsgroup posts.

Evidence of church buffoonery - a post today by a fellow
atheist, Chib, for example, points to an article which details
how a church is acting out the Columbine tragedy and has
church members commenting they had not heard there was
a lot of evidence by kids at the scene that the events did not
occur as they were being depicted by the church (the church
which was spreading the Cassie myth in their hell scare

Church members in most christian churches suffer from
mass delusion. Heck, I attended a simple wedding at a
catholic church and I was inundated with calls to believe
this, that, and the other as if it was true when, in fact, none
of it is true - it's all belief but christians have difficulty using
the believe word and, as such, feel their faith is affirmed if
they treat every belief of theirs as if it were, in fact, true and
irrefutable by any "decent" person. Doubt? Skepticism?
Fact-finding? Historical accuracy and counter-views? You
won't find those in most Christian faiths (or in most religions
of any faith, as far as that goes)."

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Excerpt from "Re: Cassie Bernall: shining light" (10/12/99)

"... Apologies in advance to news readers who've already examined
the following material. However, details are critical in ascertaining the
truth, so for the uninitiated, please carefully study the details and deter-
mine for yourself the truth of the matter. May Cassie and the other vic-
tims of the Columbine tragedy rest in peace:

From the Denver Rocky Mountain News (9/24/99)
Excerpt: "It was discrepancies in student accounts that led police to
question the Bernall testimonial. Joshua Lapp, a junior, was one of
the first students to report Bernall's testimonial of faith. He said his
memories have not changed. "She said it," Lapp said Thursday.
"Plain and simple."

But Emily Wyant, 16, tells a different story. She was crouched beneath
a table less than two feet from Cassie Bernall when Dylan Klebold shot
her. They were the only two students studying together at the table in
the back of the library. Wyant told FBI investigators that she never
heard Klebold ask Cassie if she believed in God.

Wyant said Cassie was praying out loud after the gunmen stormed the
library. "She was saying, 'Dear God. Dear God. Why is this happening?
I just want to go home,"' Emily said. Emily answered Cassie in a
hushed voice. "I know. We all want to get out of here." Emily wonders
whether Klebold heard Cassie praying and singled her out.

All of a sudden, he slammed the top of their table, said "Peekaboo,"
and looked under the table at both girls. "Then he looked at her, and
he shot her," Emily said. Klebold then glanced quickly at Emily. She
does not know why he didn't shoot her. She thinks he may have gotten

And for further documentation of the event, towards the end of the
article . . .

Kiekbusch said the first account of the conversation between Klebold
and Bernall came from Craig Scott, the brother of Rachel Scott, a
student who was killed by the gunmen outside the school. Craig Scott,
who was among more than 50 students in the library at the time, told
investigators he heard the "Yes" comment and recognized the voice
as Cassie Bernall's. He did not actually see the individuals involved.
Scott could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Investigators said Scott was asked to point out where the gunmen
were at the time, and he indicated a table where Valeen Schnurr -- not
Bernall was hiding. According to Schnurr's mother, the girl was lying
in the library with more than 15 bullet wounds, praying out loud, when
a gunman approached her and asked if she believed in God, and she
responded "Yes, I believe in God."

The gunman spared her, and she survived.


So, to recap,

1) The reports on Rachel Scott were false; obviously, a
misinterpretation of what Rachel's brother, Craig, reported.

2) The reports on Val Schnurr being threatened prior to being
shot were false; obviously, a misinterpretation of the fact she
was asked about her belief in god after she had been shot, and
she was spared after she responded that she did believe in god.

So, Craig's statement regarding Val Schnurr was

2a) misinterpreted as a statement regarding his sister, Rachel

2b) misinterpreted as a statement prior to Val's shooting when
in fact it was after Val's shooting and Val was spared after saying
she believed in god, and

2c) misinterpreted as being asked of Cassie when in fact a young
girl right next to Cassie has documented that the questioning of
Cassie did not take place.


As reported in other threads, a Salon article, indicated that
there were doubts regarding the actual events which occurred
at Columbine. Due to the overwhelming tidal emotions running
through the event and due to the personal involvement all of
America felt with the event, exaggerations and myths were
spawned and continue to be spawned.

The important thing to remember is that the 14 children and
1 brave teacher who died in this tragedy, as well as the many
wounded survivors, are the most important focus for our grief
and the primary reason why we must search for ways to pre-
vent this type of tragedy from re-occurring.

Excerpt from the 2nd page of the article at
"But cooperative sources quickly clammed up when questioned
about the most celebrated Columbine story of all, immortalized
this month in Misty Bernall's bestseller, "She Said Yes: The Unlikely
Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall." "This is just too sensitive," a key
source said, insisting on anonymity even for that statement.

According to Misty Bernall's book, which has energized Christian
youth movements around the world, the killers put a gun to her
daughter Cassie's head and asked if she believed in God. When
she said yes, they blew her away.

But while no one would go on the record, key investigators made
it clear that an alternate scenario is far more likely: The killers asked
another girl, Valeen Schnurr, a similar question, then shot her, and
she lived to tell about it. Schnurr's story was then apparently
misattributed to Cassie.

"Many of the kids were actually hiding under desks and hearing only
bits and fragments of the conversation," one investigator explained.
"It appears that exactly who they taunted, what questions were asked
and who replied what may never be crystal clear." And even if it is
clear, investigators clearly don't intend to tell. They cited the tense
political climate around the story in this heavily evangelical community,
as well as the potential embarrassment to Cassie's family, uniformly
describing the Bernalls as sincere victims who may have been
misinformed ...


I posted many analyses of these events after the events occurred.
There was the appearance of exaggeration and abuse by "christians
with a cause", especially regarding Rachel Scott and now, it appears,
the exaggerations were also applicable to Cassie Bernall. This in no
way diminishes the sadness we feel regarding Cassie's and Rachel's
deaths nor does it diminish the sympathy we feel towards those
family members and friends devastated by those tragic events.

However, now, in a clear moment of reason and a clearer understand-
ing of what actually occurred, we must not stand idly by while myth-
makers and scare-mongers attempt to abuse the tragedy for their
personal political and religious causes.

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Excerpt from "Re: Cassie Bernall - The genesis of legend" (7/8/99)

Once again, sympathies to the 15 victims and to the friends and
families of the 15 victims of the tragedy at Columbine High. Of
course, the ultimate price, death, was paid by all 15 victims. Atheists,
most of whom do not believe in a continued existence, are deeply
saddened that the 14 precious young lives and the life of the brave
teacher were ended in this nightmare. Others survived but suffered
emotional and physical scars they'll live with the rest of their lives - to
them, our support and our admiration for persevering through that
journey through hell on earth.

Would that we make every effort to understand and treat our fellow
humans who succumb to the violent nature lying in the depths of
our origins so that tragedies like the one at Columbine High are not

John's message (regarding altering messages about what happened
during the shooting) is accurate.

I would give anything if I could have a debate with Cassie regarding
religion and her beliefs. I wish Cassie were alive. If there is an
afterlife, I look forward to meeting with Cassie and getting to know
her as well as the countless billions of humans who have passed
through this place. Eternity is, after all, a long time and I hope to
live forever even though I admit it's highly unlikely.

I, an Atheist, am unashamed in expressing that hope along with an
acceptance of its unlikelihood. I reject hell as an absurdity and an
abomination and as unworthy of whatever it is that makes us human.

Those who believe Atheists will burn in hell forever for a mere lack
of belief in a silent and invisible god are misguided at best (I'll leave
off the "at worst" part as words fail me and that's inappropriate in this
context anyway).

Peace to all the victims, friends, and families of the victims, of *all*
15 victims of the Columbine tragedy.

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Excerpt from "Re: Comments on Littleton Tragedy" (4/29/99)

Excerpt from a Denver Post article regarding the welcome
return home of one of the wounded victims, Val Schnurr, at
a Denver Post web site that requires signing up to their
archives to access it:
old link:
Denver Post archive:

From Val's dad . . .

"She really did a testimonial (to God and her Roman Catholic
faith),'' Mark Schnurr said. "It wasn't like what they've been
saying that somebody pointed a gun in her face and said,
"Do you believe in God?'

"First, they shot her, and she said, "Oh my God!' She was on
the floor under the library table and one of them looked back
and said - "Do you believe in God?'

"She said, "Yes, my mom and dad brought me up that
way.' They were reloading a gun and she crawled back
under the table and they went away,'' Schnurr said.


Welcome home, Val!

Understandable and forgivable, the reportage on this
tragedy suffered from the "fog of war" syndrome and
the heart-wrenching emotions engulfing the country after
this terrible and horrific tragedy occurred.

Of the 3 incidents reported, as detailed above by Val's dad,
this is 1 incident that was definitely misreported via the ZENIT
article listed at


It appears the report by a pastor regarding Rachel Scott is the
only report on that and it may have been impacted by strong
emotions and stress as the pastor was up all night dealing with
that tragedy ... formerly available at a Denver Post web site that
now requires signing up to their archives to access it:
old link:
Denver Post archive:


1) the report on Cassie matches to the pastor's article of
an attack on Rachel which has not been reported elsewhere and

2) the pastor's article is the 1st mention of a martyr-like event
that I've been able to find and

3) the only witness who I saw testify to the Cassie event was
Rachel's brother (during an interview) and

4) during an exhaustive 17 minute interview on NBC with Isaiah
Shoel's father and Katy Couric, Rachel's brother did not mention
the incident with Cassie and Rachel's brother was not present,
per his statements, when Rachel was shot and

5) the ZENIT article report about Cassie is in doubt because it
misreported what happened to Val . . . .

"fog of war" syndrome appears to be widespread here, and that
is very understandable and forgivable regarding the persons on
the scene who had to deal with the horror of this tragedy.


May the 15 victims of this tragedy rest in peace, may those
who played a part in causing this tragedy (if anyone is found
to have actively participated, with malice and forethought)
be brought to justice, and may we all, christians and non-
christians alike, do our very best to work together to prevent
violence to/by our children.

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Comments on Littleton Tragedy (4/26/99)

From CNN Interactive / Time article at
"A girl was asked by the gunman if she believed in God, knowing
full well the safe answer. "There is a God," she said quietly, "and
you need to follow along God's path." The shooter looked down
at her. "There is no God," he said, and he shot her in the head.

My comment: Who said this? Who witnessed this and who
corroborated this? Of note, this report regarding "...and you need
to follow along God's path" is unique and does not match any
reports I've been able to locate from other web sources. There is
only one incident in this report when a total of 3 have been
reported by other web sources. Is Time convinced that only
1 of the 3 reports have validity?


From U.S. News & World Report Article at
- no mention of attack specifics -


From ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome, at
"Valerie Schnurr happened to be in the school library when the pair
of masked, gun-wielding assailants entered and began hysterically
laughing and taunting students. One them approached her, put a
gun to her chest and jeeringly asked if she believed in God.
Realizing that her answer could mean the difference between life
and death, she answered: "Yes, I do." With that, the gunman fired
at point-blank range and she fell to the floor. She also received
nine shrapnel and bullet wounds to the chest, abdomen, and left
arm. She is currently, some say "miraculously," in stable condition
at the Swedish medical center.

Junior, Cassie Bernall, was not that lucky. The 17-year-old student
had come to the library during lunch and was also among those
confronted by one of the killers. While others hid under desks or
ran to the back of the room trying to flee, they overheard the blood-
chilling exchange between Cassie and one of the masked attackers.
In a cynical tone he asked her: "Do you believe in God?" She didn't
answer but only stood in silence. He pointed his gun at her and she
began to speak: "Yes, I believe in God." He laughed and asked:
"Why?" and shot her before she had time to answer. They were
her final words.

My comment: The report on Valerie does not match reports in
the other web sources (i.e., I've yet to find other web sources
with this type of report on Valerie). The report on Cassie matches
reports elsewhere although this article has more corroborating
witnesses than reports I've seen elsewhere. ...


From an article on 4/21/99 by the Denver Rocky Mountain
News at

"Several students said the gunmen targeted minorities."

"He said, 'We are going to shoot black people,"' one girl quoted
a gunman as saying as she begged him not to kill her. "Then he
shot a black guy sitting next to me. He shot the black kid in the

Other students said the gunmen targeted athletes.

"They said 'All the jocks stand up. We're going to kill every single
one of you,"' said Aaron Cohn, who hid under a table.

Still others saw only random shooting. "They didn't care whom
they shot," one student said. "They were just shooting."

Cohn saw that, too. He heard one of the gunman say "peekaboo"
then shoot someone hiding under a table.

"They laughed," Cohn said. "They were just hooting and hollering.
Having the time of their life."

Authorities late Tuesday knew of no motive for the rampage.

"It appears to be a suicide mission," Jefferson County Sheriff John
Stone said.

My comment: The mystery here is that the day after the attack,
when a series of reports mentioning what students heard was
mentioned, when the focus was on what in the world caused
the gunmen to kill, no mention was made of christians being one
of the targets of the attack. Yet, the "peekaboo" incident, the
threats on jocks, random shootings, and the killing of a black
stand out in this early report and match to documented events
by multiple witnesses . . .

One must wonder how the conflicting reports of "god belief" attacks
on up to 3 christians slipped by the reporters early on. You'd think
that if there were multiple witnesses for any of these incidents,
especially the one regarding Cassie which has received the most
attention, that those incidents would have been mentioned in the
early reports.


From a reporter's poignant and personal Denver Post Online
article (regarding her experience on the day of the tragedy) at
a Denver Post web site that now requires signing up to their
archives to access it:
old link:
Denver Post archive:

"I thought of my 10-year-old daughter. She's a fourth-grader at
Leawood Elementary School, just four blocks from Columbine.
. . . [later that evening] I tucked my daughter into bed, a freshly
lost tooth waiting under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy. She com-
plained of a stomach ache, so I sat on the bed to talk. Just before
curling up under her quilt, my daughter said, "If I had three wishes,
I wish this had never happened, I wish I didn't have to go to
Columbine some day, and I wish people didn't die.''

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Excerpt from "Re: Urban Legend? (Was re: Martyr at
Columbine High School)" (4/26/99)

What I know:

1) Craig Scott - younger brother of one of the victims,
Rachel Scott, appeared in an over 17 minute interview with
Kathy Couric and the father of another victim, Isaiah Shoels. ...

During that interview, specific mention of the Cassie conver-
sation was not made although a mention of harassment of
victims, with specific details, was made by Craig Scott.

2) I recall seeing another interview with Craig in which he
specifically recalled the event in which Cassie was killed
and he recited the quote being referred to by many posts,
although I must point out that the quote is in reference to
a gunman questioning Cassie and is not in reference to
a question thrown out to a group of kids. I do not recall
which station that interview was conducted on and I don't
know if that interview is accessible via the internet.

3) In the following video compilations from MSNBC, I cannot
discern any mention of the statements which were made when
Cassie was killed. In one of the videos, Bree Pasquale mentions
that she begged for her life and she was spared in all likelihood
because the gunman who was about to kill her had a bloody
nose from one of the shotgun shells ricocheting and hitting

4) You've pointed out an early reference to a CBN news
article referencing a separate incident with Rachel Scott and
anonymous witnesses. Your post is the first I've seen of any
reference to an incident with Rachel Scott which is exactly
the same as a separate incident mentioned by Craig Scott
regarding Cassie.

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1) Why the fog? Clearly, a hoard of students were around when
these events were taking place. If there are witnesses other than
Craig (who stated Cassie was a victim after the god question was
asked) why are they mysteriously invisible and silent thus far?

2) Who are the other witnesses? Besides Craig's reference
to Cassie, who are the witnesses and are they corroborated?
What did they witness - the god question to Cassie or the god
question to Rachel or both or neither?

3) Are there any witnesses who have nothing to gain (such as
martyrdom-creation or validation of their faith)?

Hopefully, the truth will come out somewhere along the way
here. Thus far all we have on record, to the best of my know-
ledge, is a statement from Craig regarding Cassie. If the inci-
dents with Cassie and Rachel actually occurred, multiple wit-
nesses should be available to substantiate what happened.

When and if corroboration of what actually happened is made
available, only then will we know if the Cassie and/or Rachel
incidents are true or if they are desperate attempts at dealing
with the tragedy in a way which reflects positively on a belief

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MASSACRE" (4/25/99)

... Reference and excerpt from article at a Denver Post
web site that requires signing up to their archives to
access it:
old link:
Denver Post archive:

The parents of Columbine High School shooting victim Cassie
Bernall say their faith in a higher power has helped them cope
with the death of their daughter.

"God has made it clear to us why this happened,'' Brad Bernall
told 9News. "I know without a doubt that our Cassie is in heaven.''

Cassie Bernall was in the school library when killers Eric Harris
and Dylan Klebold went on their killing spree. According Cassie
Bernall to witnesses, one of them asked her if she believed in
God. When she said "Yes I do,'' he shot her to death.

Cassie's parents say they weren't surprised by Cassie's response
to the gunman's question. They said the family has always been
active in church activities, and that they raised Cassie to have faith
in God. It's that same faith that's keeping them strong.

On the verge of tears, Cassie's mother, Misty, said she "heard from
God'' in the wake of her daughter's death and that she believes the
shooting somehow fits into God's larger plan.

"I don't think you hear from the Lord very often,'' she said, her
voice cracking. "In a quiet moment yesterday morning, I heard
from God. He said that in order to get Cassie's message out and
to make the impact that needed to be made and the changes that
needed to be made in our world, that it had to be something really

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Excerpt from "Re: A Better Tomorrow" (4/24/99)

Cassie did not tell a gunman to kill her. Cassie wanted
to live and did not want to die. Cassie was killed as
were 14 others in the tragedy at Littleton, Colorado.
Per personal testimony from a Christian witness (the
brother of another victim), the gunmen harassed many
victims, including Cassie, before they killed them.
Your implication that Cassie could have somehow lived
had she not said she believed in God is unsupportable
by the facts.

Your use of a victim of a tragedy to justify your
faith is inappropriate (IMO).

Since you seem to want to focus on Cassie as some
kind of justification or manifestation of your god
(and make no mistake, sensible people of all faiths,
beliefs, and lack of beliefs, wish Cassie were alive
and well today, as well as the other 14 victims of
this tragedy), please pay close attention to the following

"She went from nihilism to born-again, to missing.
Her name meant 'helpful'' and 'earthly mother'. Friends say
it perfectly suited junior Cassie Bernall. But not long ago, her
church youth group leader said, she was a member of 'the
same sort of group that the killers were from'. At Dakota
Ridge middle school, Bernall was enthralled by witchcraft,
suicide and a view of life so dark that her desperate parents
dragged her to a meeting with Dave McPherson, the youth
group leader at West Bowles Community Church." Article now
only accessible at a Denver Post web site that requires sign-
ing up to their archives to access it:
old link:
Denver Post archive:

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Excerpt from "A Better Tomorrow" (042399)

I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado.

But, for those who wish to spin the tragedy into a justification
for a belief in a silent and invisible deity or for a belief in
immortality, pause, and reflect.

The god y'all are pontificating about and crediting with
miraculous wonderousness and glory, where was that god
during this tragedy?


Every event during this tragedy is explainable by scientific

No god was present during the tragedy. No god saved any-
one during this tragedy. No prayer was answered during
this tragedy.

To the media who love to dwell on the ceremony and ritual
of religion which follow such an event, wake up and take
a strong dose of reality.

People pontificating about "god this" and "god that" after
such a tragedy are grasping at straws, in desperation. They
are super-imposing their myths on a tragic event.

A better tomorrow entails efforts to spot troubled children
and deal with troubled children in a responsible manner.

A better tomorrow entails educating teachers and parents
on how to spot troubled children and help them deal with
their problems in a positive way.

A better tomorrow entails constructive and responsible
methods to make sure weapons are kept off of school

A better tomorrow has nothing whatsoever to do with god.
It has to do with responsibility and pro-active activity of
humans to work towards a world in which children are
cared for and helped instead of discarded and shunned or

A better tomorrow involves humans helping and protecting
humans and taking responsibility for the welfare of humans,
all humans (apologies to animals with which we share a
common heritage but that's a topic for another thread).

A better tomorrow involves understanding and tolerance of
differences instead of intolerance and demonization of minority
points of view.

Hate begets hate.

Intolerance begets intolerance.

Belief in silent and invisible deities as an answer for problems
begets ignorance and irresponsibility.

Take a strong dose of responsibility, accept it, step forward,
and take action to help our children, to protect our children, to
love our children, for a better tomorrow.

For goodness sake, when kids are fighting, take action to
resolve the conflict. For goodness sake, when kids are acting
as if they don't belong and are posting stuff on web sites
supporting racist hatred, HELLO, can't you see a problem
here??????? WAKE UP, America, these are OUR children,
OUR problems, OUR responsibility, for fuckin' crying out