Amish Give Money To School Gunman's Widow
By Jon Hurdle
Amish community which lost five girls in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse shooting massacre last year has donated money to the widow of the gunman.
The Nickel Mines Accountability Committee, which was set up to handle more than $US4.3 million ($5.12m) in donations from around the world after the shootings, said it had given an unspecified "contribution" to Marie Roberts, a mother of three.
Her husband, Charles Carl Roberts, a local milk truck driver who was not Amish, tied up and shot 10 Amish schoolgirls aged 6 to 14 in their classroom last October 2, killing five of them before turning the gun on himself.
After the shootings, members of the deeply religious Amish community in Lancaster County about 97km west of Philadelphia, said they wanted to forgive the gunman.
In a statement released on behalf of the community, the committee said, "Many from Nickel Mines have pointed out that forgiveness is a journey, that you need help from your community of faith and from God ... to make and hold on to a decision not to become a hostage to hostility.
"It is understood that hostility destroys community," the statement said.
The Amish, descendants of Swiss-German settlers, eschew many aspects of modern life such as cars and telephones, and place particular importance on the principle of forgiveness.
I post this as my first post today because it struck me so deeply. Though I refer to religion a lot (or, at least, post religious things) I do not often talk about my own background. Though I mainly call myself of Irish descent, as befits my father's family surname and history (and my mother was Czech), the other part of my family was born of the same Swiss-German roots as these wonderful people called Amish.
Though not everyone should be forgiven--yes, the unforgivable exists in our world, as some things should never be forgiven and thus, too often, forgotten--these people have made more than a manful gesture of forgiveness; they have turned what is manful into what is truly 'God-ful' and I am proud to know one more time when He has walked the earth.
Though I could not do all the things that these people have done, in regards to their tragic event, I am proud to think, in the history of my people, that the ghost of their giving resides in me somewhere.
I hope it does.