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Rachel Scott: The First Columbine Victim

It wasn't that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris despised Rachel Joy Scott; she was just another "zombie" that supposedly "deserved" to die. She worked hard in school, listened to all her peers, made sure no one felt left out, and helped others selflessly. No one hated her. In fact, according to award-winning author Dave Cullen in his book Columbine, Dylan actually saved Rachel when her tape jammed during the talent show just a few days before she was murdered. The reason that this innocent, lovable, endearing girl died was due to chance. However, her influence after her death has made her an even more respectable and heartwarming girl. 

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, frankly, were angst driven teenagers that despised people. Eric Harris was scientifically a cold psychopath. In psychiatry, a psychopath is a person who seems likable and friendly, but it's just an act to manipulate people for personal gain. Examples include Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, Gary Gilmore, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Nearly everyone at school loved Eric. Based on descriptions by Eric's peers, Dave Cullen writes that, "Eric looked striking head-on: prominent cheekbones, hollowed out underneath - all his features proportionate, clean-cut, and all-American" (34). In fact, even teachers fell for his con. In government class, he wrote an essay about learning a lesson from the time he spent at a police station after attempting to steal something. Then, he ended the essay with a classic psychopathic conclusion: "Personally, I think that whole entire night was enough punishment for me. So all in all, I guess it was a worth while punishment after all" (178). These humans were all inferior to Eric, as he believed; people were just "zombies" that needed to be exterminated. Even though he despised people, he managed to impress those around him for personal gain. Eric masterfully manipulated everyone around him, making this massacre impossible to foreshadow.

In contrast to Eric's psychopathic personality, Dylan was a depressed and socially awkward teenager angry at the world. In his journal, he wrote, "i HATE my life, i want to die really bad right now" (197). He wrote many phrases similar to that throughout his journal. While he was extremely intelligent, he often felt lonely. No one understood him; he couldn't talk to girls. His social awkwardness and depression led to anger. He also believed that, according to Cullen, "humans love their little boxes, so safe and warm and comfy and boring! They were zombies by choice." Both of Dylan and Eric shared deep hatred toward humans. Even though Dylan wouldn't kill because of depression, Eric's influence dominated his choices, thus making a merciless slaughter appealing.

Based on the personalities of Eric and Dylan, we can see that they did not target any students in particular. Lovable Rachel Scott, unfortunately, was killed. She was eating lunch outside on a pleasant April day. Then all of a sudden, Eric shot her in the head and immediately caused her death. Since she died at such an unfortunate time, people treated her death with much respect and acclaim. Considering all the hardships she had gone through, people admired her and she did not deserve to die. Scott, a Columbine senior, was truly a remarkable individual. She played a lead character in the senior play; she overcame her smoking addiction; she worked to pay off the car she bought; she was the all-American girl. She overcame many of the obstacles in her life, but her life suddenly ended after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Graduation was only one month away. She was the first victim, the first one to die.

After her death, people continued their respect for her. Only hours after the shootings, her car was adorned with flowers and messages to help remember her. No one wanted to see her go. People from Columbine were struck with grief, but also people from around the nation. Statistics from a website commemorating the Columbine victims present that her funeral was the most watched event on CNN, even surpassing Princess Diana's funeral. In addition, over 2000 local residents payed their reverence for her by attending her honorable funeral. She used to be only popular at school, but after her unfortunate death, people from all over the nation respected her.

Even today, Rachel Scott's widely mourned death still affects the lives of many. In her journal, she wrote: "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." Her parents turned her theory into reality by starting the Rachel's Challenge program. According to this non-profit program's website, "Rachel's Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion." Every year, her positive influence now affects thousands of children around the nation.

Although her death was unfortunate and unwelcome, everyone displayed honor and reverence for this kind human being. Not only did she work hard to succeed in life, but she also had a glowing personality that everyone truly loved. Even today, we must pay respect to Rachel Joy Scott for all the joy she brought to the lives she touched.

Rachel Scott: A Remarkable Young Woman

Timothy Lee,
Nov 7, 2012, 7:22 PM