Pastor Bruce Porter chatted with Beliefnet about the Columbine tragedy and what's been learned from it on Yahoo, Wednesday, April 19, at 9 p.m. EST. As with all chats, this transcript is unedited.------------------------------------------------------------------ beliefnet_ellen: Good evening and welcome to Beliefnet's talk with Bruce Porter, pastor of Celebration Church in Littleton, Colorado. Last year, Bruce founded Torchgrab Youth Ministries, established in response to the Columbine tragedy. He is author of the book "Martyr's Torch: The Message of the Columbine Massacre" and is active in ministry to teens.beliefnet_laura: Bruce, we're very happy to have you.pastor_bruce_porter: Hello, everyone. I'm glad that you're with us this evening. I will be glad to answer questions that you may have.crunk_ladybug asks: What is the hardest part of the whole Columbine thing?pastor_bruce_porter: The hardest part is seeing the lives of ordinary people shattered by such an incredible violence. And understanding why such horrible things were happening to such wonderful people.quiggy56 asks: Hey, lots of love to everyone! I just wanted to say that our youth group's thoughts and prayers are with EVERYONE in Columbine. I was wondering if all the media attention has made in harder for the victims, students, staff, and community members to heal with all of the media attention? pastor_bruce_porter: The media attention has made it more difficult for some people who are still in the grieving process.
The images of the people in the school and the hard questions that are often asked make it difficult for people to feel that their lives are not being invaded.liz_jt asks: Has the Columbine tragedy made the Littleton community more spiritual generally, or more Christian specifically?pastor_bruce_porter: Ironically, the Columbine massacre has not, as far as I can tell, impacted the numbers of people who have turned to Christ in our local community. But I have seen it make a large impact upon people outside of the community.oscar_mayer_weenie_mobile asks: Do you think schools should use more security because of Columbine?pastor_bruce_porter: Security measures in the schools can only be regarded as a stop-gap measure. The larger issue of why people turn to violence must be addressed, or else there will no true security in the schools.kingsterg asks: Do you think that parents are to blame for this happening?pastor_bruce_porter: I think that parents are the first line of defense for children to be protected from destructuve and self-destructive ideas and behavior. I do feel that parents have abdicated far too much responsibility to others and need to take a more active role as examples of moral behavior.DPWLeaderNo1 asks: What does Torchgrab youth ministries do?pastor_bruce_porter: Torchgrab Youth Ministries was born as a response to youth violence by myself and Beth Rachel Scott's mother and a few others. We hold youth rallies around the country to encourage youth to see a higher destiny in their walk with God and to be powerful influences in their school.
adjectives_girl asks: What kind of support is Columbine still receiving from people around the country, and does it help any?pastor_bruce_porter: We're still seeing a substantial amount of support from across the country, especially during this season of the commemoration of the Columbine massacre. This has been very encouraging for the victim's families and the community.brittany_21_2000_21 asks: Is Columbine still open?pastor_bruce_porter: If you mean open in the sense of classes being held, yes. The school opened last fall, and they only closed it starting tomorrow and Friday. Students will be able to attend various memorials.tiffl44 asks: Are certain areas where the students laid blocked off or anything?pastor_bruce_porter: The school library was sealed for the entire school year. No one was allowed to go in there.its_mat asks: do you believe having school days off for things of this nature is a good choice?pastor_bruce_porter: I think that it is important to allow the students freedom to spend time alone and with friends and to remember those who died or were wounded. It is stressful for students to continue on with their class schedules, especially with this anniversary.TrishAnn17 asks: How are the kids and teachers doing?pastor_bruce_porter: Generally, most of the students are coping. Sometimes there are times of grief and occasionally paranoia. From what I've heard, most of them have been doing well.
One generally accepted clue in determining whether one has a notion for violence is to look at those who are excluded from the general population of the school. Those who are alone. Sometimes those are the risk.jessi_857 asks: Current articles mention that the worst part of the legacy that has been left behind is the idea that somewhere there is someone planning to "one-up" the incident at Columbine. How do you think other schools and administrators have been affected by that?pastor_bruce_porter: It's scary. Since January 20 last year, USA Today reported that there were over 5,000 bomb scares in schools across the nation. There are a lot of students in the general population that think that what these kids did at Columbine is cool. That is pretty scary.beliefnet_laura: It certainly is.kingsterg asks: Do you think that we need tougher gun laws in the U.S.?pastor_bruce_porter: I don't think that more gun laws is the answer. These two killers openly violated over 19 federal and state laws. They had no care whatsoever about gun laws.kingsterg asks: What about being bullied in school? Could that have anything to do with this?pastor_bruce_porter: There is a popular rumor that these kids were picked on, and this is why they acted in rage. This is a myth. Their fellow students said that they were not treated any differently than other students.mrtrout_420 asks: Do you think videogames had something to do why they killed there classmates?pastor_bruce_porter: Without question, some of the video games that he played had some influence on him in desensitizing him to violence.
They had the Doom game look very much like the Columbine school. They were definitely affected by these games.mrtrout_420 asks: Have the parents of the 2 kids been arested or anything?pastor_bruce_porter: No, they haven't been arrested. There was no criminal activity that the authorities could identity on the part of the parents.karenx3_4 asks: Do you think that the gunmen's families will ever be excepted as people who didn't know it was going to happen?pastor_bruce_porter: I think eventually people will accept them. There is a lot of forgiveness in our community. But I think people are frustrated because they communicated so little with others.dulf24 asks: Do you feel Cassie is a martyr?pastor_bruce_porter: The greek word "martyr" is "martus." It means "a witness." Not necessarily someone who dies for her faith. Cassie said yes every day. Cassie had asked to take her out of Christian school so that she could be a light for the students. So Cassie said yes long before April 20.beliefnet_laura: Bruce Porter is pastor of the parents of Rachel Scott, who died in the Columbine shootings. He presided at Rachel's funeral and is founder of Torchgrab Youth Ministries, a Christian teen organization established in response to the tragedy.gnasher1121 asks: Mr Porter, what are your plans to "reinstall" faith in the youth of today, when it seems that faith is no longer apparent in children?pastor_bruce_porter: I can't personally do anything.
But I believe that God is moving by his mighty Spirit upon this generation of young people. I am convinced that the next great things that God will do will be by a large group of young people. It will be done not through fear...just to serve God.bubbleygally asks: Hi, I was wondering if you had any ideas about how I can start a discussion group that people can talk about high school violence?pastor_bruce_porter: I would say just start with a small group. Ask them what they would like to talk about. If God is involved with it, it will prosper.Chanelciara_1 asks: Why don't you think that there is stuff like this going on in Australia?pastor_bruce_porter: I think it doesn't go on in Australia, but there is still a strong moral fabric there. I think there is a stronger tie between family and kids, that these things do not occur. maiden_twinkle asks: Reverend Porter, my daughter's school was threatened three times last year, and on each of those day's I kept her home. The school, however, did not understand and counted those days against her. What would you suggest for a situation like this?pastor_bruce_porter: That is a difficult problem. I would say if you exhaust every possibility to talk to the administrators about the fear your child is having, then you should consider transferring your child to another school.butter_rumple asks: Did parents move some of their kids away and now attend different schools?pastor_bruce_porter: Yes.
They did move to other schools.ronniecantu2000 asks: How many students died?pastor_bruce_porter: We had 12 students and 1 teacher killed.monkeyyyyyyyyy asks: Yeah, I got a question. I wear a trench coat, and I am generally a nice person, would never shoot anyone. Why do people always stereotype me???? It isn't right.