’s Speech To Congress Essay, Research Paper
Since the Columbine High School murders shocked the nation, the parents of the slain teens have reacted by writing books, filing lawsuits or doing endless media interviews. Darrell Scott, father of two victims, has founded a ministry and spoken before government officials, police departments, spiritual leaders, celebrities, and many young people. In his speech to the House of Representatives on May 27, 1999, he strongly urged the lawmakers to recognize the real reason for the Columbine tragedy. His rhetorical situation leaves a strong impact on the listener, directly attacks the lack of God in schools, and pushes lawmakers to make the right decision.
The speaker’s life collapsed April 20, the day his daughter, Rachel was the first killed outside Columbine High School because of her belief in God. Early in the morning a few days after this horrendous event a grief-stricken Scott awoke suddenly. Two verses had come to his mind. One said, I have brought you to the kingdom for such as this,’ and the other said, I will put you before kings and rulers and you will not be afraid. I will tell you what to say (Beideman E6). The Biblical verses that had come to mind made it clear to Mr. Scott that this was a spiritual event. Emboldened by the verses, he set out on a mission of healing to reach out to teens. He began a non-profit organization called Columbine Redemption which he says, “is Rachel’s message, brought to light when several of her diaries were found in her room and in her backpack. The journals contain poetry, letters to God, letters to friends, drawings and commentary that spoke eerily of her belief that she would die at an early age” (Beideman E6). These diaries and journals allowed Mr. Scott to look into his daughters personal thoughts and realize the love she had for God and how she longed to share His love with others. The eerie premonitions of her own death made him realize that there must have been a spiritual purpose to it. Thus he vowed to continue what Rachel had always dreamed of doing.
Looking for an occasion to reach those qualified to make a difference, on May 27, 1999 at 2:00pm, Darrell Scott spoke before the dignified audience of the House of Representatives Subcommittee about the lack of God in today’s schools. The heart of his urgent message was, “My daughter’s death will not be in vain!” (Duin C1). Enraged by the horrid murder, but knowing that somehow it was divinely planned, Mr. Scott fears that Rachel’s death will not achieve its intention. It is particularly important that his audience understands that he is simply continuing out God’s plan for Rachel and himself. Politicians, however, have quickly blamed the incident on lack of gun control. Darrel stated, “In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent. I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy – it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where to real blame lies” (Turley). Darrell Scott is the ideal person to take the blame off of the NRA. He has just lost his daughter, and if anyone should be appalled by someone who could have played a part in it, why not Darrell Scott? However, he knows the truth of the matter, that it simply a lack of spirituality. Lawmakers immediately passed the blame to the NRA and tried to pass new restrictive laws that take away personal freedoms, when in actuality they have created a spiritual void.
The purpose of this speech is to inform the audience of the real cause of the Columbine tragedy and challenge the legislature and the youth of America to take a stand. Mr. Scott stated, “I chose to become part of this because it’s a fulfillment of Rachel’s dream….I don’t think kids in this country are looking for more religion. They’re looking for spiritual answers from real people” (Simpson E5). Mr. Scott wants to provide teen with a sense of purpose and spirituality. In remembrance of his daughter he is spreading the message of kindness that he found in Rachel’s journals. However he knows that he can’t do it all on his own. So he challenges the audience by stating, “I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High school – prayer was brought back to our schools…Dare to move into the new millennium with a scared disregard for legislature that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who point your finger at the NRA – I give you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!” (Turley). He wants the youth to take a stand for their beliefs and not be afraid to pray in school. His dare puts those accusing the NRA in line and makes them rethink their decision on who is really to blame for this tragedy.
Darrell Scott’s speech to the House of Representatives is heart-wrenching and makes it obvious that the real cause of Columbine is the lack of God in schools today. In Rachel’s diary, she makes the comment that, “I believe through acts of kindness, I can start a chain reaction that will affect people around the world” (Duin C1). Darrell Scott is continuing Rachel’s dream of starting a chain reaction, and through this speech has reached the hearts and souls of numerous people around the world.
Turley, Lois. “Columbine Incident Memorial.” Innocent Tears Circle of Life. 1999. Http://www.care-nurse.com/columbine/ (1 Apr 2000)
Simpson, Kevin. “One Year After.” Denver Post. 19 Apr 2000. E5.
Beideman, Don. “Dad Finds Calling in Tragedy: Daughter First to be Killed at Columbine High.” Knight Ridder Newspaper. 29 Jan 2000. E6.
Duin, Julia. “3,000 Hear Story of Columbine.” Washington Times. 2 Apr 2000. C1.