After Columbine, Martyrdom Became a Powerful Fantasy

A martyrdom mythology sprang up around Cassie Bernall, who was 17 when she was shot by Eric Harris at Columbine. As the story was first told, Harris asked Bernall if she believed in God moments before he shot her, and she said yes.

The story provoked a flurry of pop culture commemorations. The most famous is probably pop singer Michael W. Smith's hit song “This Is Your Time,” which became the title track for his Grammy-nominated 14th album, released in 1999. The track won Song of the Year at the Dove Awards — which are basically the Christian Grammys — and the music video for the song, which also won a Dove Award, included a clip of Bernall speaking about her beliefs.

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