The Columbine Martyr Myth

We’re probably all fairly familiar with the story regarding Cassie Bernall. While what I’ve read makes it pretty clear that it’s based on the shooting/dialogue of Valeen Schnurr, is there any evidence that any exchange took place between Bernall and her shooter? (Besides “Peek-a-boo” <bang> as reported).

Also, What’s being done with the profits from the book recently released on Cassie Bernall? Is it being donated to some charity or are the Bernall parents keeping the money?

“All I say here is by way of discourse and nothing by the way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” ~ Montaigne

Hooo, boy.

Work like you don’t need the money…
Love like you’ve never been hurt…
Dance like nobody’s watching! …(Paraphrased)

I don’t know what was said in that conversation, or even if there was one.

All I know is that:

(1) It is plausible to think she would have been killed no matter what she said if any conversation was had.

(2) A fellow student said that if she knew that her death would be considered more of a tragedy than the rest of the deaths - including the deaths of her killers - she would be apalled.

Her loss was a tragedy, but no more so than the loss of anyone else there, including the Godless heathens.

Yer pal,

I remember that the local paper The Washington Post did an entire feature on it. Here’s the link, don’t know how long it will be there though.

Columbie Miracle: A Matter of Belief

This is a small (hopefully small enough) excerpt:

It is by the fortune of God that, in this country, we have three benefits: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either.
Mark Twain

The online magazine Salon ( did some interesting research on the subject. Apparently the conversation with Cassie and the shooter never took place (the person who claimed they heard it was apparently confusing her with someone else, who wasn’t killed). More interestingly, the local media as well as Cassie’s parents have known this for quite some time. I’m sure it’s in the Salon archives if you want to look it up.

uh, to actually answer the OP :slight_smile: (note to self: read each post twice before responding, especially if you’ve had a few pints :)) nobody seems to know if Cassie actually said anything.

And according to the “Yes, I Believe” website,
( ) a portion of the proceeds of sales go to the (“almost set up”) Cassie Bernall Foundation.

Of course on the website, you can buy T-Shirts, bracelets, hats, jewelry, a bible study kit(?) (She Said Yes: A Bible Study), a video, and of all things
a play script! (Crossroads at Columbine)

Don’t believe me? Click here!

I meant to use this link which talks about the play. The above link just goes to the “Buy Stuff” page. The script is mentioned there, too though.

In reference to rudah’s post the Salon article could be found here:
Who Said “Yes”? by Dave Cullen

And Christianity Today offers this rebuttal:
Did She or Didn’t She by Wendy Murray Zoba

It is by the fortune of God that, in this country, we have three benefits: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either.
Mark Twain

Aw geez, who cares? She was a good kid (most kids are) and was murdered. It’s a tragedy. And if it helps her parents to think that their child’s last words were a confirmation that she believed in God, then let them believe it.

Even if her parents make money on believing this, I’m not all that concerned. They know, or WILL soon know, that all the material things in the world will never replace their child.

As a parent, my heart goes out to them.

Well for one thing, up until she got Jesus, she was a pretty bad kid, actually.

For another, it matters because people like, oh, anyone you can find who has a show on TBN or EWTN are still painting the event as a rampage of Gawdless atheists, perverted by being taught evolution and by having Christianity, the Proper and Official Religion of These United States™ yanked from our schoolrooms. And they’re managing to convince the weak-minded that it is so.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy


I dunno, Phil. That line could almost be used by the “Canonize Cassie” crowd: “At least she died saved–and it had already turned her life around.”

(What struck me about the incident–at least as reported by Luzadder and McCrimmon of Scripps Howard–was that Cassie and Emily Wyant were under a desk off by themselves at the back of the room. There is at least the possibility that Klebold only found her to shoot her because she was praying out loud.)


Yeah, I was hoist on my own petard with that one, Tom. But it was a risk I was willing to take!!

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Satan says,

Oh come on, you know full well that it’s a bigger tragedy when someone dies who is (A) famous, (B) a child, © rich, (D) attractive, (E) an American, or (F) religious. The biggest tragedy of all is if a famous, rich, cute, religious American child dies. But it’s just not a big deal if it’s someone who’s unknown, poor, old, ugly, from another country, and godless.

I happen to know this is true coz I watch TV.

peas on earth

This article:

makes a pretty weak case for Cassie’s cannonization.

  1. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s department has a big mouth.
  2. Emily Wyant has changed her testimony (though little indication is given of what her testimony originally was)
  3. Eyewitness testimony under stressful situations is tricky to sort out, except in the case of Craig Scott, who swears up and down that he heard it clear as day and nobody’s gonna tell him different.
  4. The fact that Scott identified the table Val Schnurr was under as the place where the conversation took place is meaningless, because he was probably confused or something except insofar as he knew exactly what was said. He definitely wasn’t confused about that.
  5. Wyant, who was right next to Cassie when it happened and who says that it didn’t happen has probably got post-traumatic distress disorder or something.
  6. The art teacher thinks kids don’t make shit up.

Concerning #4 above, the site says:

Taking Craig Scott back into the library and asking him to identify locations, she says, “is unfair. The poor kid probably can’t remember what direction he was facing. If he is firm on what he heard, I don’t think it’s incidental what direction it was coming from. That’s highly traumatic to walk into the library. I don’t think that is the time to be interviewing a child.”

I bolded the “don’t” in the previous paragraph. Is this a typo? If not, what point are they trying to make?

I think the writing was just sloppy. If that’s what the person said, but clearly not what she meant, then the exact quote shouldn’t have been given in an article arguing for Cassie’s martyrdom.

Anyway, it’s a clear case of ad hoc reasoning. How do you get around the fact that the girl who was in the best position to know how Cassie died didn’t tell the story the way you wanted it told? You accuse her of changing her story, and of not being able to keep her cool. But the guy who didn’t see but only heard it? He apparently kept his cool except when he was brought in to the library to identify where he heard the sound. Then he was too freaked out to know what was what.