This is the powerful and true story of Rachel Joy Scott, a high school student at Columbine in Littleton, Colorado who ended up dead during the massacre that happened in 1999. Rachel is a spiritual girl who is going through the travails typical of a high school youth. She is interested in a boy who does not agree with her views on sexuality and gets rejected because of this. She is interested in acting and feels anxiety about landing a lead role in the school play. She is part of a Christian group called Break Thru, where she helps in particular a young man whose parents are such a mess that he is homeless. Rachel is a very considerate person in general, and practices her faith by listening to the problems of other students. For instance, she agrees to go on a date with another student who appears to have downs syndrome. She also helps a young man who had just relocated to the Columbine school district after the divorce of his parents.
In the background of the typical back and forth of cliques and unrequited crushes of the high school, two deeply disturbed young men are planning a vicious attack on the school. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebod take in interest in Hitler’s thoughts on natural selection as presented in his autiobiography Mein Kempf. According to the move, Hitler sought to apply natural selection to humanity by culling out people whom he considered unfit to survive, a group which includes disabled people, religious people, and Jews. Harris and Klebold are the victims of bullying and are cut off from the social life of the high school. No one pays much attention to them and Rachel Joy Scott shows no awareness of their steady decline. It would have made sense, given her tendency to reach out to students going through problems, for her to reach out to these youth, but it seems like they are so odd and isolated that even she doesn’t even think about them.
After the breakup with the guy she was heavily interested in who did not agree with her views on sexuality, Rachel becomes more and more overtly Christian. This is the basis for the title of the film. Her openness about her faith led to her death, as the shooters approached her first, held a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in God. When she defiantly said yes, they shot her ruthlessly.
Rachel always had odd premonitions about not having much time to live on this earth. Often, her character in the movie says that she cannot see herself getting married or having a family. Another theme in Rachel’s conversation is a desire to change the world. She really does, even though her life was tragically short, since her story has inspired millions to practice the Christian virtues of forgiveness and charity. There is actually a website that sprung up in relation to the movie for people who are inspired to make a difference in the world in light of Rachel’s story: https://wavesinaction.com/ina-adults/.
The Columbine massacre is such a sickening tale. I believe the two young men who committed these heinous deeds are in hell. As a society, we have had a discussion about the proper way to prevent problems like these from happening. Some people blame guns, some people say we need to have more awareness of mental illness, some say it’s violent video games. This is complex debate and probably all of these positions have some merit. What I am focusing on is the clash of ideas that is evident in this movie. Rachel and the two shooters represent two different worldviews. On the one hand, there is compassion, inclusion, and love, and on the other is a ruthless competitiveness that seeks to achieve this illusory perfection through murderous violence. We need to be watchful of the spread of ideologies like this, which are out there, though not always as overtly as we saw in the Columbine massacre.
Here is a picture of the real Rachel Joy Scott:
As you can see, she was becoming a beautiful young woman before her life was brutally taken.