Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
HONORING A COLUMBINE HERO, BOY SCOUT EVAN TODD
(Senate - October 06, 2000)
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[Pages S10077-S10078] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING A COLUMBINE HERO, BOY SCOUT EVAN TODD Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I rise today to share with my colleagues a pair of statements I recently received from an exceptional young man in Colorado, Mr. Evan Todd of Littleton. Evan was one of the many unfortunate victims of the horrific shooting that took place at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Evan was the first student shot in the library at Columbine High School, and despite his injuries he assisted other students and administered first aid to a seriously wounded peer until emergency services could arrive. Evan, an active Boy Scout, was awarded the prestigious Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal for his inspiring actions. Still a Columbine student, Evan has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to speaking to other students and adults around the nation concerning the problems of youth violence and the cultural influences on American youth. I am honored that Evan took the time to write to me and I ask that a copy of Evan Todd's letter to his fellow Scouts and a copy of a speech he delivered at ``The Gathering,'' a meeting of victims of school violence, be included in the Congressional Record. The material follows: Dear Fellow Scouts, I have been told that into each life some rain must fall. Some get rained on more than others. The rain that came down on us at Columbine High School was a cloudburst of epic proportions. This act was senseless, tragic and without justification, whatsoever. 13 murdered 25 wounded and 1,951 students youth destroyed. As a student who was shot and wounded in the library, it has changed my life, forever. I believe that the children of a society are nothing more than the reflection of the society that they are brought into. The event here at Columbine in Littleton Colorado, and the events at Moses Lake Washington, Pearl Mississippi, Jonesboro Arkansas, Edinboro Pennsylvania, Fayetteville Tennessee, Springfield Oregon, Richmond Virginia, Conyers Georgia, Los Angeles California and elsewhere indicate to me that our nation has a serious character flaw. Since the Columbine tragedy, I have tried to stay abreast of the ``adult society'' debate as to the ``why'' and ``how'' of these terrible incidents. The adults debate and argue over what constitutes good and what constitutes evil; what is right and what is wrong. At the time of the Columbine tragedy, our national leader, the President, stated the youth of this nation need to learn to resolve our differences with words, not weapons. At the time this statement was made, we as a nation, were bombing Yugoslavia. They tell us that the youth of this nation need to be more tolerant, kinder, gentler, more understanding. Yet our entertainment, music, TV, movies, games (and actions of) the adult world provides for our consumption are all too often filled with violence, sex, death and destruction. If we were to take into our lives what is provided to us by our society, our actions would also violate the Scout Oath & Law. Other solutions to school violence have been nametags to be carried around our neck as millstones, metal detectors, increased video surveillance, etc. Our nation has always had guns. Our nation has always had children. What our nation hasn't always had is children murdering children and their parents, and parents murdering their children. The ingredient that has made America different is the last couple of `adult generations', and their changes towards what is right & wrong, good & evil. It appears to me that our society is confused. The adult world seems as a ship with no rudder being cast around by the wind and storms of our times, with no control or understanding as to why. Many of these storms appear to have been caused by their own accord. It's as if our adult society has no compass, no bearing, no standards for our society. I have found them confused. Even at our age, we can discern the difference between what you say and what you do. . . . In regard to the solution of watching what comes out of us by monitoring closely our world with surveillance cameras, what we say, how we look, etc., our society needs to watch carefully what goes into us. In my room is a picture of the Grand Teton mountain range in Wyoming. Below the picture is the following: ``the essence of destiny ``Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.'' ____ The good news for those of us that are Scouts is that we are privileged to be a part of an organization that provides us the tools and instructions to put into us that which builds a better person, a better nation. Those tools are called the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Robert Gates, former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and our current President of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) recently stated that there is a war going on for the souls of our boys and young men in this nation. He sees clearly. If you are to be a scout, don't be a scout in word only. Learn and practice the Oath & Law in everything you think, say and do. I understand well how hard that can be, but ``Do Your Best.'' To the Boy Scouts of America, thank you for defending our 90-year record and not allowing the Oath & Law to be redefined. As you say, it has stood the [[Page S10078]] test of time. The generation that wants to change the Oath & Law has not stood the test of time. To all the scouts across America that sent me & my troop cards, letters, posters, your thoughts and prayers, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To you here tonight, I bid you vaya con Dios mi amigos, God Bless you and God Bless the work you do. Thank you. ____________________