Beth Nimmo Interview
(Rachel Scott's Mother)
She was where she was supposed to be, but unfortunately that place, Columbine High School, was the wrong place to be on April 20th 1999, and she ended up paying the ultimate price for it.
Rachel Scott was the first person murdered by Columbine Killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Rachel Scott was 17 years old.
It should be noted that more people watched Rachel Scott’s funeral on CNN than watched the funeral of Princess Diana.
Rachel’s mother, Beth Nimmo and father Darrell Scott have written a book about their daughter titled “Rachel’s Tears, The Spiritual Journey Of Columbine Martyr Rachel Scott” (Thomas Nelson Publishers).
Beth Nimmo talked with us about her daughter Rachel.
Q – Beth, you write, Rachel had a growing sense that she did not have long to live. We picked up only inklings of this while she was alive. What did you pick up? What did she tell you? Did she talk about some of the things that were going on in Columbine?
A – No. It was nothing like that. It wasn’t until hind sight that we actually saw that she was saying things that would later come true. She would say things like she was never going be married. She would say things like, I don’t ever think I’m going to get old. That kind of thing. And of course when you’re hearing that, it’s just like teenager talk. You’re like you just don’t want to get old. Really I think there was something in her that just gave her that feeling that that was true about her life. Then of course her writings substantiated that.
Q – Was she specific? Did you ever ask her “Are things alright at school”?
A – No. She was never depressed. Rachel had a very kind of bubbly personality. She was outgoing. She wasn’t dark. In fact, until I discovered her writings I didn’t even know that there was a real deep side to her, where she even thought about death at all. It wasn’t until we read what she wrote that we even had any conception of that side. I never was prompted to ask her about any of those things. They were kind of off the cuff remarks that you kind of just take in, in the flow of conversation. There wasn’t anything that would send up an alarm or flags or all of a sudden wouldn’t sound right to me. That’s not who she was.
Q – You have a son?
A – I have 5 children. She was the middle of my 5. So, Craig was the one who was at Columbine that day as well.
Q – So, did Rachel ever confide in Craig what was going on in the school or did Craig ever tell you what was going on in Columbine?
A – Never. Never. My kids weren’t involved in a lot of things. Rachel was probably the most active with her drama. Craig was in wrestling. It wasn’t like they were in an Inner Circle of any kind at school. Neither of them ever mentioned anything sinister about what was going on. Honestly I think kids think it’s normal. Since I’ve spoken at a lot of schools, I understand that. They don’t see the difference because all they know is what they’ve lived with the last 15 years or so of public school. Actually it can be very dark. You just learn that that’s how it is. I think even if there were concerns or questions, I don’t even know if they would have come to us with it.
Q – Did your neighbors ever express concern about their children’s experience at Columbine?
A – No. Now, my 2 oldest girls did not like Columbine, as far as the school went. Bethanee ended up dropping out when she was a sophomore. It’s when Darrell and I went through our divorce, so there was a lot going on. She didn’t like Columbine. Then my second daughter Dana didn’t like Columbine. It was very cliquish. I ended up taking her out and putting her in as with the rest of the kids, in a private school for a few years. Columbine for me was not a good experience all the way around. None of the kids did very well there even though Craig went back and was determined to graduate from Columbine after what happened. It still was a very hard place and so my whole experience with Columbine outside of the fact that Rachel was killed was pretty unpleasant.
Q – When Craig went back to Columbine, how much time did he have left?
A – He had 2 years. He was only a sophomore. He missed almost a year and a half where he couldn’t go to actual class. They have what they call a home bound where they keep you in the school system. They do this for kids who have accidents that takes them physically out of the location but keeps them in the school system and they can still be trained. We had a tutor for awhile that actually came to the house and worked with Craig and Michael, my youngest son, because of the trauma. Craig was kind of a shell of a person for almost 2 years. He wasn’t able to do normal teenage stuff and then he kind of turned that corner. That’s when he went back to Columbine. Even though he was a year late graduating he just wanted to make sure that he went through that school to graduate.
Q – When he went back, did he tell you things had changed?
A – Well, initially I think there was a change. Outside of all of the security issues which of course impacted immediately, I think kids were so aware of what happened at Columbine and especially those were kids that had been in Columbine that day. Now Columbine from what I understand is pretty much like any other school. There’s little of the actual impact that was felt 10 years ago. When he went back there was some sense of family, closeness, being kind, changing things. I think its reversed back to pretty much the same old place now.
Q – There’s a book that has yet to be written about Columbine, and Beth, I think you’re the person to write it. I’d like to see you interview the teachers at Columbine and ask them why they failed to stop the jocks from harassing other students. And then I’d like you to track down the jocks and ask them why they thought it was so funny to throw garbage at other students in the cafeteria, and push and shove them in the hallways of Columbine.
A – I’m sure those are valid questions in every way. I don’t think it was totally un-expected within the staff that something would happen, but, not to the degree that it did of course. From what I understand there were some tell-tale signs. There is a family by the name of Brown. Their son was actually friends with the shooters. They had been alerting police and other people for quite awhile that something was awry at the school. A lot of that went unheeded. Randy and Judy Brown were their names. Their son Brooks Brown was friends with the two shooters. They knew that there was something very much wrong with those boys.
Q – From the book, “Rachel did reach out to the killers. When the boys turned in their violent video that depicted their fantasies of death and destruction, Rachel stepped out on a limb and challenged Eric and Dylan about why they were so obsessed with killing and death. She wanted to help them”. What did they say to Rachel?
A – She never told me what their response was. From what I understand they mocked her and made fun of her because of her Christian values. She was on their target list. I don’t know if you’re aware of that or not.
Q – Didn’t Dylan have a crush on Rachel?
A – He actually did at one time. In fact, even Judy Brown collaborated that to me a few weeks ago when I met her at an anniversary dinner for Columbine. Dylan had had a crush on her. I don’t know where that went. Rachel had actually tried to be friends with Dylan, not in a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of deal. She was a kind person. When everything went wrong for Dylan, I guess he kind of turned on her. Rachel was known as a Christian at Columbine and there was a lot of hate about Christians and Jews. They fed their anger. They had to keep it at a level and to do that they fed it through books, games, movies, very violent sources. They kept up this mock bravery or toughness and they fed one another with it. They had to keep that anger at a certain level in order for them to seed the plan they did. I know when Rachel was performing one night at a variety show, her tape got garbled. It was Dylan in the sound booth. I was told that he was so anxious to get that right because she was performing a mime during the tape. I think it was kind of a love-hate thing. He hated her for her Christian point of view, but, at the same time he was drawn to her because she was a kind person.
Q – Did Rachel want to be in Show business? In 1997, your ex-husband walked into the living room and found Rachel watching Oprah. She said, “Dad, someday you’re going to see me on Oprah”.
And of course, after Columbine, Rachel’s photo was on Oprah.
A – Yes. It wasn’t Show business so much. She had done some acting. She liked it. What she really wanted to do was to be a writer and then she had this other side of her that wanted to be in mission work. So, she had more than one dream. I think her writing was the most substantial thing she did, when you look at everything she left behind. That definitely was a passion for her. That’s how she processed everything that was going on in her life; her dreams, her disappointments, her events. She processed it through her writing, her journals.
Q – Weeks before John Tomlin’s death (another Columbine victim), his mother asked him where he wanted to be buried if anything ever happened to him. That’s a strange thing to ask? What is it with this obsession with death?
A – Yes. When Doreen (John Tomlin’s mother) shared that with me, it was like she did not know where that question came from. One day we were talking and I just happened to ask John, if anything ever happened…..It wasn’t like there was a premonition of death. Life just seems to prepare you for certain things. In hindsight, things start to line-up and make sense. That’s how it was when Rachel would say things. They meant very little at the time they were being said, but, in hindsight it was like there was a preparation being made for something you didn’t even know was going to happen, but, you knew something was going to happen.
Q – Am I to understand that the Harris family has moved out of Littleton, but the Klebold family remains?
A – That is correct. From what I understand the Harris’ live in New York State somewhere. I believe the Klebold family still live in the Littleton area.
Q – And then, 10 months after Columbine, 2 people were murdered in the same Subway shop where Rachel worked. She knew both of them. The young man killed had drawn a picture of Rachel and given it to your family after her death.
A – Yes. The one girl lived directly behind us. The backyard fence is the only thing that separated our yards. She knew both of them. There was never any conclusion to that murder. I think it ended up being a Cold Case. Nothing was ever resolved or found out. There was no prosecution from it. It was very eerie actually to have that happen within a year. It was on Valentine’s Day, the year after Columbine.
Q – Your ex-husband says, “I believe that when her mother and I separated and divorced Rachel’s sense of insecurity increased”. Do you believe that?
A – Well, only to the degree that she no longer had a father in the home and I think that’s when she started writing her letters to a Heavenly Father because she had a need for a father. My home was stable as far as my taking care of the kids was concerned. I moved into the house that we lived in for 10 years. I was providing for them and taking care of them. Our family life stayed intact with the exception that Darrell was no longer in that loop. That’s when I believe Rachel’s writings about the Heavenly Father began. She calls him Father a lot in her writing. I believe that was out of her desire, and her need to have a Father figure in her life on a daily, regular basis. She still saw her father. It wasn’t regular. I think the insecurity was what all 5 kids experienced. As a single mother with 5 children for awhile, I didn’t have steady work. I think it was a concern, yes.
Q – Rachel had a conversation with a girlfriend named Lindsay in which she felt something very strange was going to happen on that day. That day being April 20th 1999?
A – Correct. Rachel definitely had a prophetic undertone to many of her writings. One of her writings called Columbine the halls of a tragedy. That was written about 6 months prior to the event. She talked about all kinds of things. When you look in hindsight at what it was leading up to, she was very prophetic. But once again that was a side of her that, she was very private. She didn’t share it with anybody. It was only in her journals. She was writing most of it to the Lord. Her relationship with the Lord was her primary focus. She felt close and would tell in her writings anything that she needed to say. And by the same token the Lord was allowing her to write things that she didn’t even know what the outcome would be or what the significance would be. It’s sort of like, being compared to the writings of Anne Frank, where they’re so real. You can look at Rachel’s writing now, 10 years later, and the realism of what was going on is still impacting the world. There’s going to be a movie about her and the reason for that is that though her writings are more than 10 years old, they are just as impacting, forceful, and relevant as if they had been written yesterday.
Q – Tell me more about this movie on Rachel.
A – It hasn’t started yet, but Walden Media has picked up our story, and wants to do Rachel’s story.
Q – Any idea what the release date on that would be?
A – They told us not to worry about the release date because this is a timeless story. Actually, the longer we wait the more Rachel’s story grows. I’m sure you’re aware that most news events run their course and they kind of diminish over time. That’s not the case with Rachel’s story. Her story is actually growing with time and that’s why Walden Media doesn’t feel any sense of urgency that it has to be done right away.
Q – What do you think Rachel died for?
A – I’m convinced with all my heart that Rachel died for her faith. I believe God, even though it didn’t come from the head of God at all, I believe God allowed Rachel in that mix because there’s been a real strong witness for Faith especially to this younger generation. I believe personally, that was Rachel’s whole desire in life, to be a strong witness for the Lord and to impact people in a spiritual way. Of course at that time she didn’t know that was going to come, that she was going to die for her faith. But, it all goes back to her faith, and to show people the love of Christ. There’s mis-information about Rachel being asked if she believed in God before she was shot. We have on tape that she was. That was volunteered by the person that was right beside her, when she was shot. There’s been a lot of attempts and this is my personal belief, to take God out if this loop, in any way, shape or form. The truth is, a lot of those kids were asked. Even those that lived were asked. Why they want to diminish that I don’t know except that they don’t want to include God in anything anymore. It’s politically incorrect I guess.
Rachel Scott’s Website
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