Columbine, One Year After

  For a year now, the nation has gone through an agonizing soul-searching over Columbine. For some reason, we can't seem to get it out of our minds. But what have we really learned from this tragedy? Politicians talk about gun control as if it would solve problems like Columbine. But Harris and Klebold planned a cold-blooded murder. Anyone who saw the videos they made before the killings could see that these were angry, murderous kids who would stop at nothing, whether a gun were registered or not. They were influenced by the darkest aspects of American popular culture—saturated with the most violent and sadistic images imaginable. Violent lyrics and films filled their minds, and yet the public still continues to patronize the industries that produce it. Just last weekend the President and Vice President were in Hollywood scooping up millions of dollars in contributions from the very people responsible for spewing this sewage into society. Can't they see the connection? It's time we ostracize those who put this kind of rot into the minds of young people. But there is good news from Columbine. This tragedy sent a powerful message to the American people—a wake-up call. Some have called it "the Pearl Harbor of the culture wars." Because suddenly the nation saw two worldviews in stark contrast. On one side we saw Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott, their families and friends, the Christians who rallied behind them, and the incredible church services exalting Jesus. There were groups like Neighbors Who Care, a ministry of Prison Fellowship, that took the lead in the efforts to heal the emotional and spiritual scars. Neighbors Who Care worked through churches to offer seminars and to minister to victims of crime. Their "Grace for Healing" seminars trained people in how to begin the process of recovery. And the whole community pulled together. On the other side, we saw the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who said "God is dead." This is the worldview that influenced Harris and Klebold, with their Nazi paraphernalia, their anger and profanity, and their agenda of death and destruction. They had abandoned any view of God or Western civilization, and sold out to a philosophy of evil. Tragedies like this force people to see what happens when society embraces a secular worldview. It's as if God is saying to us today what he said to the Israelites of old, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life" (Deut. 30:19). Frankly, I don't think America will ever be the same. Polls show that public attitudes have dramatically changed since Columbine. A vast majority say that we must do more to create respect for traditional values. Youth violence is now the number one issue for many Americans, and people are talking again about restoring our moral values in American society. We ought to remember Columbine today by renewing our dedication to speak to the secular world, which is hungry and searching for answers. We need to share biblical truth in such a way that they can see what it means to choose, not the way of Harris and Klebold, but the way of Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott. The answer to the modern dilemma of how we should now live is founded on this Christian truth: Choose Life!


Chuck Colson



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