(Senate - October 06, 2000)

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[Pages S10077-S10078]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 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, 
       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 

       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.