Monday, October 02, 2006

Sad day in Lancaster County, PA

The news is full of the story.... A 32 year old man with a 20 year old grudge walks into an Amish one-room schoolhouse with guns and sends the boys and adults away. He binds the feet of the little girls, faces them toward the chalkboard, and executes them. Then he kills himself.
There are more details, but they don't matter. He had three small children himself, two of them girls. What the hell happened here?
I've lived here all my life. The Amish are part of my home and part of my heritage. These children weren't even born when whatever happened to him happened. They had no telephone, no electricity, and no security. It was like shooting fish in a barrel... or clubbing baby seals. They were babies, defenseless and innocent.
Just last week we were driving down in the country and passed a schoolhouse where the children were outside playing a game of baseball during recess or maybe lunch. My sister remarked about the tiny little girl holding the bat. We laughed and both silently thought about childhood and the pure pleasure of being a kid, playing a game, being with your friends. All of the schools look pretty much alike, and most of them are now surrounded by chain-link fences to keep out the tourists. They are posted "no trespassing" because of the tourists. I'm sure that they never, ever thought such a thing as this could happen. Nobody in this town ever thought such a thing could happen.
This has shaken our community - plain and fancy alike. Aside from a few issues with road usage, the Amish just exist peacefully alongside of the rest of us. They don't judge, they don't witness, and they don't care what anyone else does. They just want to lead their lives as they see fit. To have something like this happen feels very personal. It is heartbreaking.
And the thing that I keep thinking today is that the Amish will already have forgiven this man by the time I finish writing about it. They believe that only God has the right to judge or take revenge, and that they must find a way to love and forgive. They will, too.


Pamela Bee said...

This terrible happening has hit us hard in UK too. We have heard so much over the years about the gun culture in America and have been horrified by it. Now it is happening here among our youth. They have moved on from knives which were horrific enough to guns and again it ends in the destruction of young lives and their families.

I sorrow for the Amish and all our children and youth. I cannot see how anyone can take another's life especially the innocent.

From England

Tina Sams said...

I'm sorry to hear that. We are all the same, no matter where we live.

Laura said...

This was an incredible post, Tina. You really should write for the newspapers and big media. Your perspective is beautiful and clear.


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