Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Amish Paradise Lost

Just days ago, I was commenting on the resurgence of my memories of the Darkest Day. That day, October 1st 1997, will be forever burned into my memory. And now it seems we are entering a new cycle of violence in schools. Because it is a cycle. And the threat is no longer limited to students at the school.
The latest incident occurred in an area where "no one thought this could happen." It involved a person "no one thought was capable" of such a vile act. But it happened just the same. These are the words most often heard after a school shooting. No one ever expects it to happen and no one ever believes the person committing the crime could do it.
I have always admired the Amish. They try so very hard to separate themselves from the outside world and to protect their families and relatives from its harmful influence. They practice non-violence and non-conformation to society. Yet by doing so, they made themselves an easy target. Because of their strict policies, the Amish have no police department or emergency services. Of course it wasn't thought they were needed. No one ever thinks these types of things will happen. But now that it has, the Amish community will have to cope.
The question becomes what sort of a man could rip the innocence away from such a peaceful group of people? The answer, in most cases, is someone nobody expected. We know from his family that Charles Carl Roberts IV was a loving father and a very good husband. His wife commented that "he was everything a woman could ask for." But it is clear now that this man held a dark secret that consumed him. In a phone call to his wife before the shooting, Roberts admitted that 20 years ago "he had molested two female relatives who were between the ages of 3 and 5 at the time." And since then, he has been haunted by dreams of the abuse. It can be assumed that the dreams consumed his being and lead him to murder.
Regardless of the causes, the Amish community has been robbed of its innocence and some of its most precious possessions. Five girls lost their lives because of this incident. They will never come home. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7; Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12; Marian Fisher, 13; Mary Liz Miller, 8, and her sister, Lena Miller, 7. They lost their lives in a place they thought was a safe paradise on earth.

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