TJ Stevens walked into his high school in 1982 and began shooting. Beth Nimmo unknowingly said a final goodbye to her daughter before she left for her day at Columbine High School in 1999. I Am Second Conversations: Unworthy brings them together for the first time to speak about the days that forever changed their respective lives.
“I don’t feel worthy of this conversation but I’m honored to be here with you,” Stevens tells Nimmo.
Stevens grew up surrounded by fear. His father was an alcoholic and he was the black sheep in school. After his girlfriend broke up with him, he felt hopeless, but as he sat in his bedroom with a gun to his head, ready to pull the trigger and end his life, he heard a small, soft voice that turned his pain into anger.
“I’m methodically counting each shell. I’m putting names on the bullets,” said Stevens. “If I kill this innocent person, it will take away my pain.”
At 9 a.m. the next morning, Stevens methodically walked into his high school and began shooting above his classmates heads. But when the voice from the night before became many voices, he recognized the only way to save his hostages was to kill himself. Stevens fell to his knees ready again to take his life when a woman cried out and something bright pierced his eyes. At that moment, emotion and pain for the people in the room and their families overwhelmed him. Having not yet killed anyone, Stevens decided to walk out of the school. He spent four years in a maximum-security prison as a result of his actions.
Seventeen years after Stevens’ experience, Nimmo received a call at work alerting her to a shooting at Columbine High School where her daughter Rachel and son Craig were enrolled. Nearly 24 hours later, Nimmo was informed that Rachel was the first victim of what is now known as the Columbine High School Massacre.
“Nothing was real – total disbelief – and I remember just sinking down to the floor,” Nimmo said. “I’ll be real honest, there are a lot of those days I can’t remember.”
Shortly after Rachel’s death, Nimmo began discovering writings and journals proving Rachel’s deep relationship with God, and her desire to impact others by her faith.
“God had put a great gift in our home … but we had no idea what God’s purpose for her life and her death was,” Nimmo tearfully recounts. “She has reached around the world. She just didn’t know she was going to have to die to do it.”
Halfway through the Unworthy film, after individually sharing their journeys, Stevens and Nimmo meet for a dialogue that beautifully unfolds on camera. During the conversation, Stevens and Nimmo each express their sorrow for the pain in the other’s life and find hope in the faith that has comforted them through the years.
To watch the full film, visit iamsecond.com.
About I Am Second
I Am Second is a non-profit launched in 2008 that ignites hope and inspires people to live for God and for others. Its website, iamsecond.com, features written and film-based stories of more than 100 athletes, actors, models, musicians, cultural influencers and everyday people who have stepped in front of the camera and declared, “I Am Second.” For information, visit iamsecond.com.