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 Articles on the victims

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PostSubject: Articles on the victims   Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:19 am

There were many extraordinary things about Lauren Townsend, one of the 12 students murdered in the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo., on April 20. But what her volleyball teammate Rachael Danford remembers above all else is their very ordinary last moments together. “She was walking me to my fourth-period psychology class on her way to the library,” says Rachael, 18, of her best friend since first grade. “She was wearing a light-blue shirt, dark-blue jeans-I believe her nails were even painted blue. We talked about how we both liked the same sparkly lip balm, ‘Lunar Lime.’”
For Lauren-or Town, as her mom, Dawn Anna (the Columbine volleyball coach), sometimes called her-virtually no subject was beyond discussion. A straight-A student who loved Shakespeare, show tunes and The X-Files, Lauren, 18, was given to bursting into conversation or song at any moment. “She might suddenly start singing a song from sixth grade,” says Rachael. “I couldn’t remember a word, but she remembered the whole thing.”
Lauren could recall her nightly dreams perfectly too, but then “she was an overachiever in everything she did,” says her stepuncle, David Beck. As a child she taught herself to play the piano, and later she picked up the clarinet. She could draw beautifully. And though she wasn’t the first athlete you noticed on the volleyball court, she distinguished herself there, too. Five foot 10 and slim, with curly auburn hair twisted atop her head and her uniform sleeves rolled up, Lauren played with consistency, leadership and “deceiving power,” says Kay Danielson, the coach at rival Chatfield High. “She could hit right through two or three blockers. And you could tell she loved to play.”
Lauren, who led the Rebels in solo blocks and aces this year, came by her passion naturally. Her 25-year-old sister, Kristin, coaches club volleyball in the Denver area, and her mother was so devoted to the sport that she put off retirement as a coach for a year so that she could see her youngest child through high school, even though staying on meant hobbling around early-season practices with a cane after surgery to remove an ovarian cyst.
Lauren had no plans to play in college, so her volleyball days were already behind her on April 20 as she parted company with Rachael. Ahead of her? Probably valedictorian honors at graduation, then enrollment at Colorado State, where she planned to use an academic scholarship to study wildlife biology. Over the summer she was going to work full time at the Rocky Mountain Small Animal Hospital kennel, where she was already employed, feeding cats and cleaning dog runs-a messy, physically demanding job.
"She never complained once about the work," says kennel supervisor Sue Peterson. "She always had a smile on her face." Peterson pauses. As she sits in her office, scores of dogs in the nearby kennel bark and howl, sounds that must have delighted Lauren, who had a special affinity for canines. (A portion of the memorial fund set up in her name will go to a student-athlete at Columbine, the other part to an animal charity.) "Beyond being an excellent worker," Peterson says, "she seemed like a really great kid."
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PostSubject: Re: Articles on the victims   Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:18 am

Amid Faith Unfettered, Uncommon Bravery
Amy Pagnozzi
April 24, 1999|By AMY PAGNOZZI; Courant Columnist
LITTLETON, Colo. — You drive into the quiet cul-de-sac where the dead girl lived and the sweetness of the picture makes you gasp. Fresh snowcaps ice the ginger-colored house and the surrounding trees, heedless birds sing on their branches. A fanciful handpainted sheep on the front door beckons: ``God Loves Ewe.''
Do people really still live like this? Yeah, they really do. And you know what? It's kind of wonderful.
I had some trouble believing this story about the dead girl, Cassie Bernall, killed where she sat in the library the day of the massacre, a martyr to her faith -- but it's true. Several students hiding under tables heard her killer ask, ``Do you believe in God?''

``Yes, I do believe in God,'' Cassie replied. The killer shot her.
When calamity strikes, it is usually the task of survivors to cast it as part of some larger order. Not necessary this time.
``We're doing much better than we were, just to know the strength and courage that our daughter had,'' said Cassie's mother, Misty Bernall. She'd been smiling bravely till I made a dumb comment about Cassie outdistancing St. Peter in the depth of her faith, causing Misty to gasp, tears streaming down her face. ``She's a greater woman than I'll ever be,'' Misty said.
Her tears contrasted sharply with the needlepointed ``Recipe for Love'' over the stove, the handknitted throws you knew weren't bought on thrift, the piano covered with happy-family pictures.
Facades can be deceiving, I know, but there was this feeling inside the Bernall house that went deeper than the decor and made it easy to believe in God and an orderly universe . . . or, at least, a purpose in life.
Cassie had it.
The evidence was everywhere. Her heavy classroom schedule, consisting of advanced classes in photography, trigonometry, world history, Spanish and English, tacked beneath a refrigerator magnet. The photographs she took, many of them nature shots, many of them travel pictures taken in England during a trip last spring break.
She was visiting an aunt and uncle there, who took her on a day trip to Cambridge University.
``She fell in love with the place. She wanted to study medicine and become a doctor. That's where she would have gone if she had her way,'' said her mother.
Cassie was, to use a cynical vernacular, too good to be true.
She belonged to the West Bowles Community Youth Group. She volunteered at homeless shelters. She grew her flaxen hair long, not out of vanity, but in order to cut it off and donate it to a wigmaker who works with poor children undergoing chemotherapy.
Her kid brother, Chris, 15, is pretty cut up, according to their father, Brad. ``He's been staying with his cousins and aunts so he doesn't have to see Cassie's room.''
Asked how he was doing, Brad said, ``I go out in the back yard and feed the dogs . . . take care of our bunnies.''

The fact that ``she made her stand'' carries him through this.
``She knew what was going to happen when she said yes. The Lord took her home.''
Cassie's mother, Misty, heard from God ``in a quiet moment. He said in order to make an impact on people, what happened had to be really big, and he said that he was taking care of Cassie.''
Whether you believe what the Bernalls believe or not, you've got to be awed by the power of it.
Look at this 17-year-old girl! Unlike so many of the parents and police, teachers -- even students -- who might have stopped this carnage so surely careening toward Columbine High, she took her stand. All Brad Bernall asks is that we don't let his daughter's death ``be for nothing. We are the front lines in all issues to our children.''
The folks in the front lines all had their heads down when Cassie was killed -- and they have yet to drop this pose that they were helpless to prevent the slaughter.
The educators are at least as much at fault here as the passive parents of the killers and the negligent cops who failed to follow up reports.
A school kid turns in a video depicting a bloodbath for a homework project, the least you can do is refer the little head case to the psychiatrist.
As for kids wearing swastikas, if a girl arrived in class wearing a G- string and boots, looking like a hooker, you'd send her home, would you not? Rip the swastikas off!
Worst case scenario, the ACLU comes after you, the teachers' union writes you up and you've averted a massacre. You can take it. You're a grown-up. Or aren't you?
I don't know when the words ``I mind my own business'' became a boast. I don't know when ``Don't get involved'' became good advice.
I do know that so many of us are so much in love with the idea of having a quiet life these days we feel as if we are entitled to one.
We are not.
Quiet is not for society.
Quiet is for the grave.

We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus; That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.-Charles Bukowski
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PostSubject: Re: Articles on the victims   Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:26 pm

Rachel's joy lives on

By J. Sebastian Sinisi and Julia C. Martinez
Denver Post Staff Writers

April 25 - By Denver Post Staff Writer

It was the kind of unreal day when the world seemed to stop. A chilly, gray spring day when tears and silence replaced youthful laughter. It was the day Rachel Joy Scott was laid to rest.

The 17-year-old junior from Columbine High School was killed in Tuesday's bloody shooting rampage as she ran from the cafeteria. She was among the first of 15 victims to be shot dead that day. Only a week ago, Scott had been an aspiring actress, pianist and poet, who had attended the spring prom and was preparing to move to an apartment this fall.

During an emotional farewell at Trinity Christian Center attended by nearly 2,000 students, parents, teachers and dignitaries, Scott was remembered as a fun-loving, talented and spirited young woman who loved life, loved Jesus and lived up to her middle name.

"She was so full of energy. She made people laugh,'' said a former youth pastor, one of more than a dozen friends from her Christian youth group and the Columbine drama group who delivered tearful and heartfelt goodbyes.

In one of many poignant moments, Nick Baumgartner, Scott's date for the school prom just days before the shooting, related how he had asked his friend to stop smoking. She promised to stop before the prom, he said. And she did. So last Tuesday, instead of being in the "smoking pit,'' where she normally hung out during fifth hour, he said, she was in the school cafeteria. "I'm lucky to have known her...,'' he said. "I'm truly blessed to have had her in my life.

Before the service, students gathered around the white casket adorned with one red rose. With black markers, they scrawled final, sometimes eloquent wishes to their friend and fellow classmate. One young girl sat with her forehead touching the casket as she cried and wrote at the same time.

"I miss you,'' was written at the end of one long message. "I'll see you in heaven,'' said another. By the start of the service, the casket was nearly covered in marking pen.

Jen Knaach and Melissa Spencer, close friends of Scott's older sister Bethany, said they remembered Scott as being always happy and full of life. "This has definitely left a hole in the family,'' said Knaach, who had not yet signed the casket.

Scott's younger brother, Craig, one of several students at Columbine who escaped unharmed last Tuesday, was one of six pallbearers who helped carry his sister's casket.

During the two-hour service, Pastor Bruce Porter, of the Orchard Park Christian Center, exhorted students to "Pick up the the torch that fell from Rachel's hand.''

"It's up to you,'' said Porter, in a eulogy-sermon. "Politicians and legislators have failed you. The police who couldn't keep you safe have failed you. And we, your parents have failed you. "If you're going to take back your school, this city, state and country, it's up to you. Because we have failed,'' said Porter.

When Porter asked who was willing to heed his call, every young person stood up and raised their arms.

Scott was the second of the 15 victims to be buried. John Robert Tomlin, 16, was laid to rest on Friday.

Copyright 1999 The Denver Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus; That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.-Charles Bukowski
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