Friday, June 29, 2012

Cassie from Columbine

I spent  part of today at the Columbine memorial in Littleton, Colorado.  Littleton is great little town with above average incomes, beautiful parks, and roads with shoulders big enough to park 2 cars wide.  You’d never expect something so tragic to come have from here.

The school itself seemed harmless enough.  Giant parking lots all around it, a massive park next to it, where today a national softball tournament was being held.  The screams of teenage girls and metal bats were a strange contrast to the memorial.  But it’s good to know that life goes on for almost everyone.

The memorial has plaques with quotes from parents, students, and a president, most of which just make you think to yourself, “Dammit.  Just.. Dammit.”  There aren’t words for these kinds of events.  There’s no good place to aim our blame.  Certainly no parent could have performed so poorly as to prompt this behavior.  Music, movies, bullying..plenty of people are involved in all these things, and almost none of them turn violent.  Perhaps that’s why sitting there at that memorial hurts so much.  There’s nothing I can DO to change anything.

My daughter Taylor is in love with a band called Flyleaf.  One of their songs is called “Cassie,” which is about one of two students who was killed at Columbine after being asked if they believe in God.  Those 2 plaques especially made me hurt.  I don’t know quite why.  I thought about what it means to be a martyr, in a sense.  Would those girls have been spared if they had lied?  Is the world a better place because their amazing stories are around to tell?  Nobody really knows.  I kind of doubt anyone has changed their religion because of what they did.  But somehow it feels like it matters - the act of dying after professing faith in God.  Their parents probably don’t feel that way, but if given the chance, I doubt they would have answered any differently.

I don’t have any good conclusions about life or faith.  I just felt a lot of things today, and I’m glad I felt them.  I find that most of life is spent with a non-descript feeling, partly sorrow, partly doubt, sometimes a little bit of hope.  Faith might be in there somewhere.  It’s hard to tell.  But for today, I’m pondering those students, that teacher, those killers, and the words my daughter loves so much:

All heads are bowed in silence
To remember her last sentence
She answered him knowing what would happen
Her last words still hanging in the air
In the air

Do you believe in God
Written on the bullet
Say yes to pull the trigger
Do you believe in God
Written on the bullet
And Cassie/Rachel pulled the trigger
Or, if you prefer your sorrow a little bit louder:

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