Special 10th Anniversary Edition
Of Thermostats and Thermometers
Columbine: Ten Years Later
by Bruce Porter
|"Personally, I have come to terms with the fact that although I may never understand in this world why tragedies happen—even to the young and innocent—I have complete confidence that there is a higher purpose and plan in play."||
back, although school violence had been occurring around the country
here and there, it just didn’t seem to be a very large blip on the media’s
radar screen, or in the public’s mind until the Columbine massacre.
Suddenly, it was THE breaking news story across the nation and world
for several months.
As I labored beside search and rescue workers at Ground Zero in New York City, I was asked by some FDNY guys where I was from since my turnout gear was clearly not from New York City.
When I told them I was from Littleton, Colorado, they
One of them said,
"Hey, isn't that where that school shooting happened?"
"Yeah," I said.
"Columbine High School. I remembered seeing some guys in FDNY shirts standing at our memorials.
I figured it was payback time and I had to come and stand with you in this tragedy."
Their eyes got all teared-up, and nobody said any more. As they moved off to their grim tasks, several slapped me on the back as they walked by and said,
I thought to myself, "Rachel, it's all part of your "chain reaction of kindness.'"
With Rachel's example driving me on, I'd respond to many more places where people hurt. It's just the right thing to do. The chain must not be broken."
versus a "Thermometer"
Pastor Bruce Porter delivers eulogy at Rachel Joy Scott's funeral in Littleton, CO on April 24, 1999. The funeral was reported by CNN to have had the largest number of viewers in its history exceeding that of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.
thermostatic influence—her ‘set point’ that touched and moved the world
around her—was increased exponentially when her persecutors pulled the
trigger on the bullet that took her life. Even at the last moment, lying
on the ground crying with three gunshot wounds, she answered her killer’s
sneering, vicious taunts with courage. She affirmed one last time her
undying faith in Christ, and her words and life-example reached the entire
In the past ten years, her story and testimony has been shared before millions of people around the world, and HER thermostat setting of love, compassion, faith, and uncompromised devotion to Jesus has influenced hundreds of thousands of young people to follow her example and receive the grace of God in Christ.
I end this story with a short excerpt from my book, The Martyrs’ Torch; the Message of the Columbine Massacre. It is a part of my eulogy I delivered at her funeral:
"Rachel carried a torch—a torch of truth, a torch of compassion, a torch of love, a torch of the good news of Jesus Christ her Lord, whom she was not ashamed of, even in her hour of death. …The torch has fallen from Rachel’s hand. Who will pick it up again? Who will pick up the torch again?"
That torch represents a life lived as a "thermostat" and symbolizes a life lived for the highest purpose of making the love of God known to all. Will you live your life as a thermostat, or will you cower in fear and timidity trying to simply conform to the world around you? The choice is yours! Take up your torch! YOU set the standard to those around you, and don’t let the world impose its standards upon YOU!
I end with Rachel’s words from her journals…
"Don’t let your character get camouflaged with your environment. Find who you are and let it stay in its true colors."
Bruce R. Porter, DDiv., is an author, chaplain, writer, speaker, and a pastor in the Littleton area. At the time of the Columbine massacre, he was pastor to Rachel Joy Scott’s mother and stepfather, and ministered intensely to the family during the months following her death, and officiated at Rachel’s funeral.
In the years since Columbine, Bruce has ministered at numerous other scenes of tragedy, including New York City after the 9/11 terror attacks, the school shootings at Bailey, Colorado, Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota, the Amish school massacre, Erfurt, Germany, Beslan, Russia, to name a few. He continues to respond to crisis situations as able.
He has conducted scores of school assemblies and rallies sharing the story of Columbine and Rachel’s amazing testimony. He is also the author of the book; The Martyrs’ Torch, the Message of the Columbine Massacre. (Destiny Image)
For further information, you may go to: www.torchgrab.org
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