I started to post this as a cryptic “From our no comment department” item. You know, one of those short posts in which one of us writes a sentence or two and then asks people to read an article that speaks for itself, usually in a way that is quite bizarre.
The report is pretty straightforward. The anonymous creator of the game has said he wanted to provoke real dialogue about the events and the actions of two disturbed but intelligent young men. In an email to the newspaper he said:
“I’m routinely accused of being soulless, of being destined for an eternity in hell, and similarly colorful assertions,” he wrote. “However, I cannot emphasize enough that there is a small fraction of the population who really gets it, who really understands why I made the game and how possible it is to escape from the polarized, dualistic thinking the Columbine shooting seems to (elicit) in most people.”
To say that the game offended many people would be an understatement.
“It’s wrong,” said Joe Kechter, whose son, Matt, was murdered in the Columbine library.
“We live in a culture of death,” said Brian Rohrbough, whose son, Dan, was gunned down on a sidewalk outside the school, “so it doesn’t surprise me that this stuff has become so commonplace. It disgusts me. You trivialize the actions of two murderers and the lives of the innocent.”
The story does tell us that the video game ends with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in hell, fighting the demons. What I found interesting is that the report does not mention any of the other religious elements of that God-haunted story.
That’s important. From the beginning to the end, the Columbine story and the debates about the coverage contained strong religious themes and images. As a reader, I wanted to know: Did any of those words, images and deeds make it into the game? After all, we are told that the game includes images and quotes from videos and articles about the massacre.
Where to begin? Did it include Rachel Joy Scott writing and drawing in her school notebook minutes before she died? Her journal entry — complete with a rose and 13 tears — ended with this prayer:
“Am I the only one who sees? Am I the only one who craves Your glory? Am I the only one who longs to be forever in Your loving arms? All I want is for someone to walk with me through these halls of a tragedy.”
Is that in the game?
How about some of the dialogue from the videos that Harris and Klebold left behind? After all, the killers said they wanted to start a “religious war” and they mocked a Christian girl named Rachel.
In their pre-rampage videotapes, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold discussed — in their litany of hate — how they wanted to start a “religious war” and mocked a girl named Rachel who had shared her Christian faith.
In audio tapes aired on CNN, and transcripts released by parents, Klebold said: “Stuck-up little b–, you f– little Christianity, godly little w–.”
Harris: “Yeah, ‘I love Jesus, I love Jesus.’… Shut the f– up.”
Klebold: “What would Jesus do? What would I DO? (Makes shotgun sound at camera)”
Did any of that make it into the game? I would assume it did.
And what about the stories of Cassie Bernall, Valeen Schnurr and others who were shot after being mocked for their faith? Some of the eyewitnesses differed on the details, but it was clear that the killers — before pulling the trigger — were asking some people, “Do you believe in God?” Where did all of that come from?
It was Bernall who left behind a note, found by her parents, that described the tensions in her school and then said:
“I try to stand up for my faith at school. … I will die for my God. I will die for my faith. It’s the least I can do for Christ dying for me.”
I have searched around online and cannot find out what I want to know. How many of the angels and the demons of Columbine made it into this crude video game? I think many readers would want to know.