If you would like to add a comment to any of the threads here on AADB, registration with blogspot.com is not required. Simply click on the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of an essay, and either enter a nickname under ‘choose an identity’ or post your comment anonymously. Serious comments are always welcome.


Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010


Heartbreak in Lancaster County

No innocent person should die at the hands of another. But somehow the tragedy of innocent death is magnified when the victim is a child. And when that child is a small Amish girl who is murdered execution style in her little one-room schoolhouse, the mind somehow cannot wrap itself around the idea that such depravity exists.

Where in the ranks of humanity does one come across a man who could bind such a young child, force her to stand in front of a blackboard in her classroom, point the muzzle of a gun at hear head, and shoot her dead?

The Amish are not a caricature of a people. They are a people who, while the rest of us have grown soft and complacent, continue to embody all of those time-honored character traits that the American pioneers mustered from within in order to build the most decent, moral, prosperous civilization in the history of mankind.

The Amish are God-fearing, honest, simple, rugged, hard-working, courageous people who are unyielding in their religious and lifestyle beliefs, and who are not subject to the winds of fleeting trends or political correctness.

They have not fallen prey to the superficial, materialistic mindset that so often permeates so much of modern American thought. The love of God, devotion to family, and the belief that hard work is its own reward, are, and always will be, the cornerstone of Amish culture.

They are not a covetous people, nor are they a violent people. They believe that, within the will of God, one reaps what one sows. So today’s tragedy in southern Lancaster County will be interpreted as God’s will. And the Amish know that we humans do not always comprehend the reasons behind such seemingly senseless tragedies. But they will turn to the Lord for answers, and for the strength and comfort that only He can provide them now.

Those newscasters that I have heard today speaking about the need for more stringent school security measures, and the fact that counsellors and adivsors will be on hand for the victims and their families, are all speaking from their own vantage point … a shallow perspective that is entirely foreign to Amish culture.

As heartbreaking as today’s murders are, the Amish of Bart Township will not now begin planning how better to physically secure their little schoolhouses. Nor will they be seeking out ‘professional help’ in order to make their grief bearable. Instead, their needs for security, solace and a listening ear will be met within their own small community, and as they communally turn to the Lord as their infallible source of wisdom, comfort and strength.

We all need to remember in prayer the families of the victims and survivors of today’s tragedy, as well as the family of the man who caused this unspeakable heartbreak. All are innocents whose lives will never be the same, and all are in need of our prayers.

Addendum, 4 October, 2006:

Because the Amish consider the creation of personal images or photographs by themselves to be hochmut (proud), no photographs are in existence of the five little girls who have died. But these are their names and ages. I hope that many of us will offer up a special prayer for them, as well as the young girls who are still fighting for their lives in area hospitals, and their grieving families, over the next few days and weeks:
~ Lena Miller ~

~ Mary Liz Miller ~

Mary Liz Miller, 8, and Lena Z. Miller, 7, daughters
of Christ and Rachel Zook Miller, of 5070 White Oak
Road, Paradise, passed away on Tuesday morning from
injuries sustained from the incident in Nickel Mines Monday.

Mary passed away at Christiana Hospital, Delaware, and
Lena passed away at Hershey Medical Center. Both girls
were born in Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving besides their parents are one sister: Susan Miller
and two brothers: Lester and Abram Miller, all at home;
maternal grandparents: Elmer and Mary Petersheim Zook of
Drumore; and paternal grandparents: Enos and Rebecca Fisher
Miller of Paradise.

Funeral service will take place on Thursday, October 5th at
1 p.m. Standard Time from their late home, 5070 White Oak
Road, Paradise. Friends may call at the home from the time
of this notice until time of service. Interment will be in
the Bart Amish Cemetery.

~ Naomi Rose Ebersol ~

Naomi Rose Ebersol, 7 year old daughter of Amos and
Katie Ann Fisher Ebersol, of 1921 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday, October 2, 2006.

Naomi was a 2nd grade student at West Nickel Mine
Parochial School, Paradise and attended the Old Order
Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: five brothers,
Marcus, Ervin, James, Amos Jr., and Marvin Ebersol all
at home; paternal grandparents, Isaiah and Malinda King
Ebersol of Leola; and maternal grandparents, Levi and
Naomi Beiler Fisher of Bird-in-Hand.

Funeral services will be held at the late home on Thursday
at 8:00 a.m. (EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery, Georgetown.
Friends may call at the late home from the time of this
notice until the time of the service.

~ Anna Mae Stoltzfus ~

Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12 year old daughter of Christ K.
and Lizzie L. Allgyer Stoltzfus, of 1931 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday October 2, 2006.

Anna Mae was a 7th grader at West Nickel Mine Parochial
School, Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: six brothers,
Christ Jr., Samuel, Paul, Leon, John, and Steven Stoltzfus
all at home; one sister, Sarah Ann Stoltzfus at home;
paternal grandparents, Samuel and Lydia Stoltzfus of
Quarryville; and maternal grandparents, John and Sarah
Allgyer of Coatesville.

Funeral services will be held at the Ivan Petersheim
residence, Mine Rd., Paradise, on Friday at 9:00 a.m.
(EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery, Georgetown. Friends
may call at the late home from the time of this notice
until the time of the service.

~ Marian Fisher ~

Marian S. Fisher, 13 year old daughter of John S.
and Linda Stoltzfus Fisher, of 1977 Mine Rd., Paradise,
died Monday, October 2, 2006.

Marian was an 8th grader at West Nickel Mine Parochial
School, Paradise and attended the Old Order Amish Church.

Surviving in addition to her parents are: four brothers,
Christ, Elmer, Reuben, and Daniel Fisher all at home; two
sisters, Barbara and Emma Fisher both at home; paternal
grandparents, Reuben B. and Emma Stoltzfus Fisher of
Paradise; maternal grandparents, Christ and Katie Stoltzfus
Stoltzfus of Leola; paternal great-grandmother, Lizzie S.
Fisher of Paradise; and maternal great-grandparents,
Jonas and Annie Stoltzfus of Honey Brook.

Funeral services will be held at the late home on
Thursday 12:00 p.m. (EST). Interment in Bart Cemetery,
Georgetown. Friends may call at the late home from the
time of this notice until the time of the service.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The families of all of the deceased have requested that flowers be omitted. Contributions for all victims may be sent to Nickel Mine School Victims Fund, c/o Hometown Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 337, Strasburg, PA 17579.

An Amish man drives a wagon as others walk along a road in Nickel Mines this morning.

Geese fly and a horse grazes outside yellow police tape behind the little one-room schoolhouse in Bart Township, Nickel Mines, PA this morning.

An Amish man drives a bench wagon, to be used in a funeral, along Mines Road in Nickel Mines.

Addendum, 5 October, 2006:

The faces of children on the way to the funerals of their friends.

Images of travel to the funerals.

Perhaps the moist vivid example of the goodness and grace of the Amish people is evidenced by the fact that the small handful of grieving parents who have issued a statement have requested prayers, not only for their families, but for the eternal soul of Charles Roberts. Their sense of love and forgiveness extends even to him. I can think of no more profound example of Christian love.

Addendum, 8 October, 2006:

Several of you have asked me to keep you updated on events in Lancaster County that might not be being made public in national news reports.

First of all, thank you so much for your interest in the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy. The outpouring of interest and concern that I (simply as a resident of Lancaster County, and not even directly involved in the tragedy) have received has been so uplifting.

So often, when a tragedy occurs within a community, the usual ‘I will be praying for the victims’ response is engendered. I have often wondered how many people who voice such general concern truly do set aside a few minutes of their day to acutally pray for the people who are personally involved in the tragedy. I suspect that the assurance ‘I will be praying’ is voiced more often than it is actually fulfilled.

But the tragedy at the Nickel Mines schoolhouse appears to have evoked an entirely different, much more deeply personal, response. As I said before, I have only been involved in this tragedy by the fact that I live within twenty-five miles of the little schoolhouse. I know many Amish families, but none of them are related to the victims of this week’s tragedy. Yet I have received countless inquiries from friends and acquaintances throughout the country, genuinely wanting to know how our area … and the Amish community in particular … is coping with the tragedy. And the concern is not a voyeuristic one. The concern is genuine and heartfelt, with many requests as to how to best send financial help to the victims and their families … and sincere assurances that heartfelt prayers are being offered in their behalf.

And I believe that the prayers of millions of believers around the world have represented the single most powerful reason that the uplift and affirmation that has occurred in the aftermath of the tragedy has somehow overshadowed the tragedy itself.

Islamic fascists would do well to take note of the fact that a humble, forgiving, Christ-centered response to tragedy has unspoken, yet powerful and lasting, spiritual repercussions on all who are affected by, and witness to, that response.

I have posted several times on the tragedy over the past six days. I want to post some final summarized thoughts here, so forgive any repetition:

In the six days that have elapsed since last Monday’s tragic shootings, Lancaster County has experienced an awakening of sorts. Lancaster Countians feel strangely somehow violated – as if the more often urban-centered crime and depravity has dared to make its way into our peaceful rural community. In this way, our neighborhoods have found themselves awakened to a dangerous pride-related fault. We have been unintentionally operating under the mistaken and prideful assumption that we are somehow immune to, and shielded from (sitting somehow above), the violence and dangers that have always been much more a part of urban, metropolitan life.

That prideful perception was shattered this week. Even if there were no other ‘silver lining’ in this week’s cloud, this awakening will, in hindsight, prove to be a hugely beneficial one. It has knocked us off of our self-created pedestal. That is not to say that our rural Pennsylvania neighborhoods should become paranoid or cynical … or that we should barricade ourselves from, or fortify ourselves against intrusion from, the 'outside world'. Not at all. It has simply taught us that we ought not consider ourselves somehow immune to the dangers that lurk (Pride brings destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall).

A few recent observations that I’m not sure may have been widely reported outside of our local area (again, apologies for any repetition):

Rosanna King, a six-year-old victim of Monday’s shootings, had been hospitalized at Hershey Medical Center since Monday morning. She had been non-responsive since being shot, and it was determined that her injuries were going to prove fatal, so her family chose to remove her from life support on Wednesday. They brought her home so that she might spend her final hours or days with her family, and amid familiar surroundings.

Shortly after being brought home, with family members always by her side, she showed some recognition of several of them, and began squeezing the hands of some of them, in response to their attempts at gentle conversation.

The family saw this response as a sign that she should continue to receive medical attention, unless and until it appears that man’s efforts to keep Rosanna alive are over-riding the Lord’s intentions to take her to her heavenly home, and she has been returned to Hershey Medical Center.

Fund-raising activities have abounded throughout Lancaster County this past week. Dozens, if not hundrends, of chicken barbecues, clambakes, auctions, car washes, etc. have been scheduled in order to raise money for the victims and their families. And virtually all of these events have been attended in overwhelming numbers, with strong support (in terms of donating supplies and manpower) from area businesses.

In one such event – a chicken barbecue to be held in Paradise – the event organizer had planned to barbecue 500 chickens. But the demand has been so large that he has had to increase that number to 3,000. Local businesses have contributed supplies (paper plates, plastic knives and spoons, charcoal, etc.), desserts, tables, chairs, etc. It is estimated that this single event could result in a $20,000 contribution to the Nickel Mines fund. The Amish community has requested that one-quarter of the proceeds be given to the wife and children of Charles Roberts.

On Monday morning, Little Marian Fisher asked her executioner to ‘Kill me first!’ because she believed that such a request might somehow allow her smaller classmates to escape. A thirteen-year-old Amish girl, knowing that she had only moments to live, exhibited as much genuine heroism and selflessness as any ‘hero’ we have come to adulate and admire. May we all learn, and seek inspiration, from the Christian example of this humble young girl who was willing to be martyred for her smaller classmates.

The West Nickel Mines School has been boarded up, is scheduled for eventual demolition, and a new school will be built elsewhere in the township.
The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in our local Sunday newspaper this morning:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a member of the Amish community, I wish to say thank you for the overwhelming support so many people have shown to us over this week.

While the events in Nickel Mines this past week have been tragic, the generous response of the larger community and the world has been overwhelming. Our perceptions of ‘worldly’ and ‘outsiders’ have been challenged and changed. It has been reaffirmed to us that there is much good in the rest of the world. It is reassuring that, in spite of our different identities, we can still reach out to each other as human brothers and sisters with the same hopes, fears, desires and feelings in difficult times.

I know I speak for the rest of the Amish community when I say that we wish to show our appreciation and express our gratitude for all of the bountiful support and prayers we have received. Thanks to all the police officials and emergency teams for their efforts and bravery. And thanks to everyone for their their acts of kindness, prayers and goodwill.

We also wish to extend our condolences and prayers to the Roberts and Welk families. I wish yet to say that with God all things are possible and that in heaven the lion and the lamb shall lie down together.

Benuel S. Riehl, Narvon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We all need to continue to pray that those five little girls who remain hospitalized will either recover and return to their families, or will be taken home to their Heavenly Father without experiencing additional pain and suffering.

Again, many thanks for your expressions of support and concern. The Amish community has been incredibly uplifted by such kindness.

Addendum, 11 October, 2006:

Tomorrow morning (10/12) the West Nickel Mines School is scheduled to be demolished. The demolition will be performed by private contractors, will begin before dawn, is expected to take about four hours, and the remnants of the building will be hauled to a nearby landfill. The students who survived or escaped the schoolhouse shootings will be homeschooled for the remainder of this school year, while a new school is constructed on another site.

Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital, where three of the injured little girls are being treated, has announced that it will waive their families’ mounting medical costs. Lancaster General Hospital, Christiana Health Care Center, and the Reading Hospital, all of which at some point have played a role in the girls’ care, have also agreed to absorb the costs of their medical treatment.

According to family friends, three of the girls, ages eight, ten and twelve are being treated at Children’s Hospital -- with two in critical condition and one listed as serious. Two others, ages six and thirteen, are at Hershey Medical Center, listed in grave and serious condition. Rosanna King, the six-year-old at Hershey, returned there after having shown small signs of improvement upon being taken home to die in familiar surroundings.

The Amish do not believe in insurance and have not requested donations of any kind. Neither do they receive government funds such as Medicaid or Medicare. However, their elders have agreed to accept donations by forming a nine-member Nickel Mines Accountability Committee to distribute and manage any donations. The elders have insisted that a specified portion (I believe it is one-quarter) of any money collected be given to Roberts’ widow and three small children.

The Mennonite Central Committee, the Mennonite Disaster Service, the Anabaptist Foundation, and the Nickel Mines School Victims Fund have collected about $300,000 to date. Capital Blue Cross has also added a $500,000 donation. Numerous banks, stores and churches are also accepting donations which will be used for medical, rehabilitation, long-term care, and transportation costs.

Mail has been pouring in from every state in the country and internet donations have arrived from as far as Japan and Israel.

~ joanie


LibertyRocks said...

Thank you for writing this post. So eloquent and so insightful. I hope we can all learn a thing or two about how they as a community come together and deal with this tragedy. Perhaps, that is part of God's plan in all of this...

Anonymous said...

Tears flowing.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing left to say.

lori_gmeiner said...

Tears and more tears. Such a sad day for us all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joanie for your perspective. My heart goes out to those Amish families at this time. God have mercy, Christ have mercy. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Joanie, thank you for your beautiful post. What an eloquent post on the Amish community and the tragedy they are dealing with.
I was trying to keep up with the developments at work, and was just so taken aback by the horror of what happened (incomprehensible, I can't fathom what occurred in that school house). Thank you for representing the thoughts and prayers of so many.

I have had the joy of working with members of the Amish community (years ago). They are such a steadfast reminder of what is great about our country. Their faith in God; their loyality to their families and community; their work ethic. I can only imagine how their community will help the families affected; no grief counselors. They will take care of their own.

girlscout said...

Well said. I'm beyond words and what you said touched my heart. Thank you.

Praying for our country and her people, for evil walks amongst us. Lord, hear our prayers. In Jesus name, amen.

sandra said...

The face of evil.

The face of insanity.

Anonymous said...

I have cut and pasted what you wrote and sent it in emails far and wide - I read it to my mom, but got choked up and had to call her back and finish it.

Thank you for posting it.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.


sandra said...

Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7;

Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12;

Marian Fisher, 13;

Mary Liz Miller, 8;

and her sister Lina Miller, 7.

Five other children remained hospitalized, four of them in critical condition.


What else can I say.

Little girls deserve better than that.

They are our treasures.


daveburkett said...

Joanie, this is as beautiful a tribute as I have read. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the new pictures from today. If you get more please put them up here.

stonemason said...

I'm glad you posted this before taking your "hiatus" Joanie. With your writing talent plus that you live in the area, who better to write about it? Thanks for the beautiful personal thoughts. I got a lump in my throat reading them.

sandra said...

Two local relief groups, the Mennonite Disaster Service and the Mennonite Central Committee are accepting financial donations to assist the community impacted by the shootings.

Contributions to the Amish School Recovery Fund will help affected families with medical care, transportation, supportive care and other needs, the websites describing the effort said. Tax-deductible donations can be made by calling the Mennonite Central Committee at (717) 859-1151, or the Mennonite Disaster Service at (717) 859-2210. To donate online, go to mds.mennonite.net or mcc.org .

Proudpodunknative said...

Joanie, another thought----
What do you think of the adults that were in the school house with the children when the gunman came in? I have some opinions but I would be interested in what people in the area are saying.

joanie said...

Joanie, another thought----What do you think of the adults that were in the school house with the children when the gunman came in? I have some opinions but I would be interested in what people in the area are saying.

I have refrained from saying anything about that on public message boards because it isn’t my place to criticize those involved. None of us knows how we would have behaved in such a terrible and unexpected situation.

But, since you asked, and since relatively few people will be reading this (I wish I could reply to you in private, actually) …

The young pregnant women and the older teenage children who were serving as aides were allowed to leave along with the young boys. Obviously one or more (or probably all) of them would have immediately searched out a telephone in order to call the authorities. Yet reporters have reported that the teacher ‘managed to escape in order to get to a phone and call 911.’

It makes me indescribably sad that the teacher did not assume that the other adults and older children who were let go wouldn’t have taken care of that, and that she didn’t instead choose to stay with her young girls.

Those young girls’ last minutes (and hopefully just a few minutes, rather than their last, of those who are still in hospitals fighting for their lives) were indescribably frightening. I don’t believe many of us have ever experienced comparable terror. But I believe they would have obtained some measure of comfort had their teacher remained with them to the end. I would imagine that it was horrifying to watch their teacher walk out the door with the rest of the adults, leaving them completely alone and defenseless with the gunman who had apparently made it clear what he intended to do. I believe it is implicit in the roll of ‘teacher’ to assure the safety of those who are under her charge.

But, as I said, it is difficult to find fault with someone, when one believes, but never really knows, how one would behave if placed in the same situation. So please don’t interpret this as condemnation of the girls’ teacher … just some personal reflections of someone looking at the situation from the safety provided by physical and emotional distance.

As regards donations to the families of the victims … I have very mixed emotions about that. The Amish are a very proud people, and I’m not entirely sure how they would respond to such donations. As a matter of fact, I visited a local Amish farmer yesterday morning to ask him that question, and though he told me his own personal views, he, too, did not want to speculate on how individual families might respond. So I have chosen to assume that the Lord would want us to reach out in any way we are able to do so. Our contributions, if not chosen to be used to offset the families’ personal expenses, will be used for other good works. These people are good stewards of their money. I sent a contribution yesterday morning (to a different source than is mentioned on this thread, but both are very reputable), completely assured that all money collected, no matter how it is used, will be used very wisely.

daveburkett said...

Well said Joanie. I hadn't really thought about that part of the story but I agree with what you wrote.

Dawnsearlylight said...

Those young girls’ last minutes (and hopefully just a few minutes, rather than their last, of those who are still in hospitals fighting for their lives) were indescribably frightening. I don’t believe many of us have ever experienced comparable terror. But I believe they would have obtained some measure of comfort had their teacher remained with them to the end. I would imagine that it was horrifying to watch their teacher walk out the door with the rest of the adults, leaving them completely alone and defenseless with the gunman who had apparently made it clear what he intended to do. I believe it is implicit in the roll of ‘teacher’ to assure the safety of those who are under her charge.

That makes me cry again.

Anonymous said...


Jim said...

Who could disagree with a word of what you wrote?

I saw your Gov. Rendell at a news conf. on Fox News yesterday. After he spoke he stood behind the police commissioner who gave a lot of details about the investigation. Rendell looked bored as if he would rather be on his way to a Democratic fundraiser. From what I read he's way ahead of Swann in the polls. What's wrong with PA????

guinevere said...

What a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the info - I don't want to intrude on their community, yet I would at least like to send a donation.

The cluelessness of the MSM should never be underestimated - Ann Curry of the Today show has acted totally overwhelmed by the character of these people, as if she has never met a godly person. Perhaps she hasn't.

metmom said...

That's one of the most touching things I have ever read.

We live in a small close knit community that is so different from city life but nothing compared to what they have. I am so jealous for what they have (in a good way). Such simplicity in live must make it so meaningful.

Already, so much good has come out of this. Their Christ like response to this has touched many lives. Their reaction is an example to us all and just maybe it can have an effect on our culture.

SeaBiscuit said...

Bless you Joanie for Good Works!

Prayers that God keeps them and comforts them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. God bless you for making this information available and God bless them in their grief.

carol rickabaugh said...

Joanie-------Thank you for your opinion about the TERRIBLE TRAGEDY in Lancaster. I agree, almost, about the school teacher. You said it yourself, that we do not know what we would have done in the same situaion . I'm sure the teacher is feeling very bad, and we do not need to make her feel any worse! agreed? These Amish people are more like Jesus Christ that any one I know!!!. They are a example of how all of us need to be, FORGIVING!! Wow --That is a big one! The grandfather of the two sisters said it best. WITH GOD'S HELP!!!! WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THRU CHRIST WHO STRENGTH US!! My prayers are with all the families, that is for sure!! These children are with God, That is a definite , no question about it! No reason for such a horrible thing to happen to anyone,and when it happens to such Godly people like the Amish, I am shocked!!!Unbelievable!! Yes God will get us through this, especially the parents of the beautiful children, just like he has gotten us through other things in life. God will never never leave or forsake us!! I am proud to say, that I personally know God as my savior too. Sincerely with Love and prayers, Carol Rickabaugh.

Anonymous said...

Carol, as Joanie said, we can't judge the teacher for what she did, but the primary thing that a Christian is supposed to ask themselves when facing a decision is "What would Jesus do?"

I think we all know what he would have done in that school house on that morning, and it wasn't leaving the children alone with the gunman.

KathyMlynczak said...

I agree about the teacher. I wouldn't want to criticize her either, because even though I think I would have stayed, a person doesn't know until they're put into the situation.

But it makes me so sad that those little girls were all alone with him in the end with none of the adults they knew there with them.

Arlene Albrecht said...

Good post, Carol. I think you and Joanie agree that the teacher should have stayed and that we don't want to criticize her for not staying.

I saw a little bit on the news today with the dozens of horse and buggies traveling to the funerals. Those poor little girls should not have died so young but we all know that they are in glory now and their parents will see them again someday.

smithy said...

It was good to see that air traffic was halted over the funeral sights today. I think the Amish's requests for privacy should be granted. They are simple, private people and this shooting spree shouldn't give the media or the public reason to invade that simplicity anymore than they already have.
Thank you for the information. I sent a donation and four condolence letters tonight.

smithy said...

Carol, I share your passionate emotion about this tragedy. Haven't been sleeping my normal eight a night since the monster killed those little girls.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much but I'll be sending what I can.

robmaroni said...

I heard today that one of the girl's families brought her home from the hospital to die. Their heartbreak continues.

Montypython2 said...

It was very moving to see the caravan of horses and buggies driving to the funerals yesterday, but I wish the media had cleared out yesterday and left them alone.

Luis said...

These are inspiring people coping with terrible tragedy. It is truly moving and your writing is a fitting testament to both the tragedy and the humbling response of the Amish people.

They ask nothing more than to live their lives in peace. Such a shame that the modern world with all its faults could not even grant them this modest request.

SharonGold said...

I heard today that the little Fisher girl told the gunman "Shoot me first" because she was hoping that somehow the other girls would be able to escape.

These little girls could have taught the rest of us some lessons in bravery and love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this story and the one above it. They pay wonderful tribute to these wonderful people.

a California Girl said...

The Amish are truly living the life Jesus preached. These little angels are an example to all of us with one of them asking the killer to shoot her first. We can all learn by their example.

secondamendmentdefender said...

Thank you Joanie. I also forwarded the donation address to some friends of mine.

SharonGold said...

Those new picture of the little Amish children on the way to the funerals are just heartbreaking! The innocence on those faces is something I will never forget.

The Sanity Inspector said...

Excellent job, thanks so much for posting.

Metmon: Yes, many of the media are complete foreigners to this type of godly character. I remember listening to radio coverage of Princess Diana's funeral ten years ago, and hearing the reporters marveling at how so many of the attendees could sing the hymns without looking at the words.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is wondering what God's plan was in this tragedy.

I can't help but wonder whether the huge contrast between these beautiful Christian people and the lunatic Islamic terrorists is being noticed by hudreds of millions of people. And what kind of awakenings might come from that?

GretaHoffman said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Let me add my appreciation for this moving tribute.

dulcetdecorum said...

Thank you for this beautiful, heart breaking post.

I think it's worth mentioning, for those of you who've speculated that the children's teacher should have remained in the schoolhouse, that Amish teachers are usually teenagers or very young adults. They shouldn't be expected to have the judgment of mature adults. I don't think we have the right to crticize the teacher for her actions.

dawn'searlylight said...

I'm going to take the liberty of answering for Joanie since I know she's probably not going to be here for a few days at least......I think she tried to make it clear that she didn't mean to "criticize" the teacher. She was just saying that in an ideal situation the teacher should have stayed with the girls as they faced their death. She was careful to say that no one knows how they would behave in such a horrible situation.

I didn't know that the Amish teachers are so young though I guess it makes sense that they would be either young or old because the in-between women are home taking care of their children.

Anonymous said...

I think what everybody's trying to say here is that it would have been best if the teacher would have stayed with the kids, it would have made their last minutes more secure. But I don't think anybody here is really faulting the teacher (especially because she was probably young, according to dulcetdecorum). It's an example of the best possible situation not being possible. That doesn't mean we can't say that "it would have been better."

Anonymous said...

Along the same vein:

Robmaroni said...

I read an account today that the people in Lancaster Co. are doing a lot for the Amish, like holding barbeques, car washes, etc. and so far they've raised more than $100,000. It's nice to see the neighborhoods around them reaching out to them like that.

Robmaroni said...

I found this article on the internet today and thought it might be of interest to readers of this blog.

I have also read that many residents of Lancaster County’s dozens of cities, towns and townships are holding benefit events --- auctions, chicken barbeques, clambakes, car washes, etc. --- and donating all proceeds to the Nickel Mines Victims’ Funds.

I read that for a chicken barbeque that is going to be held in the victims' hometown the organizer planned to cook 500 chickens but the response has been so strong that he had to up the number to 3000, and local businesses are donating a lot of supplies and food for the barbeque. He believes the barbeque might bring in around $20,000 for the families, and the families have said that they want 1/4 of the money to go to the Roberts family. It sounds like this kind of kindness is happening all over the county too. I think the kindness of the Amish rubs off on the people around them.

Donations from all over the world have been coming in to the relief funds that have been set up by banks and Mennonite relief organizations all over the county. I don’t think the victims’ families are going to want for financial aid, but that doesn’t mean that anyone thinking about donating shouldn’t.

Luis said above that we all will hopefully learn something from this experience. I think we will learn how precious life is, and how we can become strong by following the example of these fine Amish people and their Lancaster County neighbors.

Church bells will ring Mon. at 10:45
Victims to be remembered one week after killings

By Joan Kern
Lancaster New Era
Published: Oct 7, 2006 12:18 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - For the Rev. Scott Fischer, Monday morning’s tragedy at an Amish schoolhouse was a flashback to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Fischer, executive director of the Lancaster County Council of Churches, was previously a minister in Oklahoma.

The council has asked churches throughout the county to ring their bells beginning at 10:45 a.m. Monday in memory of the tragedy that has rocked the world, just as the Oklahoma City bombing did.

Caller Stephanie Landis suggested the idea of bell ringing to Fischer.

He then contacted the 140 council member churches, public officials and others to spread the word about the event, which will take place at the same time the event was unfolding this week.

Fischer said when he was in Oklahoma, he met the father of a young woman killed in the bombing.

The father was filled with hatred.

“He wanted revenge,” Fischer said. “It was eating him up.”

Then one day, it dawned on him that he wasn’t honoring the memory of his daughter.

“He remembered the scripture, ‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord,’ ” Fischer said. “If humans seek revenge, it destroys us. It is not our work. It is God’s.

“The Amish have learned that,” he said. “It’s something the rest of the world could learn from them.”

The Amish have said they forgive, and ask others to forgive, Charles Carl Roberts IV, who killed five schoolgirls and injured five others before killing himself at about 10:45 a.m. Monday.

A week later, while bells ring at that time, people are invited to observe a moment of silence “to remember all those who grieve and as a tribute to the bravery of the children of West Nickel Mines School,” Fischer said.

City residents are invited to gather informally outside St. James Episcopal Church, 119 N. Duke St.

“We can come together as a community, with everyone at the same time pondering life and these children and the world we live in, where violence is so often the solution to disagreements,” he said.

Fischer said personally, he will be thinking of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” with it’s eternal message: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you.”

“Robert Jordan (the main character in the book) really was a suicide bomber,” he said. “People have for centuries recognized violence is not the solution.

“I hope this will give the rest of us pause to ponder the path our world is on,” he said, “to look at the Amish and their way of life.”

Friday night, the Rev. Tom Purdy, of St. James Episcopal Church, led a candlelight prayer vigil on the steps of the Lancaster County Courthouse, King and Duke streets.

Lancaster county residents at the vigil remembered the Amish schoolgirls shot on Monday and offered condolences to their families.

fascismisyourworstenemy said...

This is only the second time since the shootings on Monday that I've been very emotional. Thank you for the very moving column. You obviously know them well and give them the respect and honor they deserve.

3timesalady said...

I've been away from here for a while and this morning I remembered that you are from Lancaster Co. Joanie so I came to visit. I should have known that you would post just about the most moving and meaningful article on the school house shootings.

Thank you!

SeaBiscuit said...

Thank you, thank them and Thank God. :^)

sandra said...

Any updates on the five remaining children?

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this account!

sandra said...


God's Little Angels

A makeshift memorial is seen on the corner of Mine Rd. and White Oak Rd. in Nickel Mines, Pa., Sunday., Oct. 8, 2006 for the girls slain in an Amish school shooting on Monday just down the road.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Kathymlynczak said...


Your url doesn't work. Sometimes a url extends to a second line and you have to move your cursor lower to pick up that line.

Please re-do. I would like to see that picture!

a california girl said...

"Any updates on the five remaining children?"

I heard today that one of the girls who is in the hospital (they didn't say which one) has a "mortal head wound" and will die. I don't know whether it is the one mentioned in this post who was taken back to the hospital or not.

I know the families requested that their children's conditions be treated as a private matter but doctors seem to be releasing information a little at a time.

It sounds like all the girls were shot in the head, so even if they do make it I wonder how normal their life will be.

It's all too sad.

sandra said...





daveburkett said...

You know I got to thinking today that the Amish practice the kind of love and tolerance that liberals only talk about.

sandra said...


ONLY FOR THOSE with a strong stomach

Here is something about the background of the insane ******* who did this:

16 years ago he worked at a restaurant with a boy and girl who killed someone and are serving life in prison for murder.

The milk route ******** was a friend of theirs and hung around with them, played touch football with them, etc. up to the time they were put away,

according to the owner of the fast food place.

Monday, October 09, 2006
NY Post

By HEATHER GILMORE in Georgetown, Pa., and DAN MANGAN in N.Y.


October 9, 2006 -- As a teen, Amish schoolhouse killer Charles Roberts worked at a restaurant with two people involved in the brutal murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1991, it was revealed yesterday.

That was the most lurid crime in bucolic Lancaster County, Pa., before Roberts shot 10 girls, killing five, one week ago today.

In 1990, Roberts was working as a dishwasher at the Good 'N Plenty Restaurant in Smoketown, according to the Lancaster Sunday News. His co-workers included Lawrence Yunkin, then 19, and Yunkin's girlfriend, Lisa Michelle Lambert, then 17. Roberts and Yunkin also reportedly played together in pickup football games on a field at Conestoga Valley HS.

In 1991, Lambert became pregnant by Yunkin and also became deeply jealous of a Conestoga student, Laurie Show, 16, who had briefly dated him.

Lambert stalked Show for months before her obsession turned deadly.

On Dec. 20, 1991, Yunkin drove Lambert and another friend, Tabitha Buck, to Show's condo after they duped the girl's mother into going to the high school to speak to a guidance counselor.

Lambert and Buck confronted Show inside the condo, where Lambert slit Show's throat.

Lambert and Buck were convicted of the killing, and are serving life sentences, while Yunkin served a dozen years in prison for his role in the crime.


With Post Wire Services

The article I read in the actual paper had further comments from the owner of the restaurant on the scum who had worked there.

They are not present in this internet form of the same article.


stonemason said...

What a gruesome connection.

Did you know this, Joanie?

3timesalady said...

I don't know anything about this old murder, but I'll bet it made major headlines in Lancaster County when it happened.

Since it happened 15 years ago my first thought was that it was just a coincidence that Roberts knew them, but what a coincidence. He was a friend of the other people who committed the now second most brutal murder in the area. It's TOO coincidental.

sandra said...

What kind of drugs was Roberts taking ?

I haven't seen a word about that.

Has anyone here?


Danthemangottschall said...

I read somewhere that the autopsy showed no drugs in his system and no brain tumor or endocrine abnormalities. Just a bastard.

3timesalady said...

I'd be interested in hearing over time any difference you see in your local area about how the Amish are treated or thought of. Their reaction to this horrible incident has to make a huge different in the way the whole world looks at them and I wonder if you will see that at all in the coming months.

sandra said...

"I read somewhere"

WHERE is somewhere?


joanie said...

I'd be interested in hearing over time any difference you see in your local area about how the Amish are treated or thought of. Their reaction to this horrible incident has to make a huge different in the way the whole world looks at them and I wonder if you will see that at all in the coming months.


We’ve lived in Lancaster County for thirty-plus years. Our respect (vast understatement) for the influence that the Amish have had on the way of life in this area represented the main reason that we chose Lancaster County as the environment in which we wanted to raise our children, and now the environment in which we will choose to spend our retirement years as well.

Over the years, on the (very rare) occasions when I have grown to feel comfortable enough with a person who is not necessarily well-acquainted with the Amish culture, but who I believe would be receptive to my incrementally introducing it to her (since the Amish represent a lifestyle and a life-philosophy that is so very important to me), I would take her to two typical-Amish-run businesses in the area: a local Amish quilt shop and a local Amish furniture store. Then, depending on her response to and genuine interest in both, I would then take her a little bit deeper into what interests me most, by introducing her to a local Amish farm family down in the southern part of the county, with whom I am very close. Only twice have I done the latter, and we have enjoyed a warm and wonderful lunch with the family.

Sadly, most (although certainly not all) of the small handful of people with whom I have felt comfortable doing this have not been interested enough for me to step up to that next introduction to the farm family level. That has always been a great personal disappointment, in that it represented the realization that a friend did not share my immense interest in, and admiration for, these people.

Yet, in the little more than a week since the Nickel Mines tragedy, it appears that the Bart Township/Paradise area of the county has already experienced a noticeable rise in tourism, and I strongly suspect that the increase in visitors will continue into the foreseeable future.

I pray that the catalyst for this increase in tourism is not a somewhat voyeuristic (although understandable, to a degree) desire to simply see the ground upon which the tragedy took place. I hope those who visit the area have a genuine desire to learn more about the simple, honorable, Christ-centered Amish life. And I also hope that can be accomplished without infringing on their privacy and their desire to ‘remain separate’ from what they see as the negative influence of some of the vagaries of the ‘outside world’.

d_o'connor said...

You know I got to thinking today that the Amish practice the kind of love and tolerance that liberals only talk about.


Danthemangottschall said...

"I read somewhere -----WHERE is somewhere?”

I’m too lazy to hunt up the post but I remember someone posting here a little while ago and when she was asked to give a link on something she said, she answered saying something like “You sound like a typical lazy liberal. Do your own homework and then report back to me.”

I think it was you. If it wasn’t I apologize. If it was, do you own homework and report back to me.

3timesalady said...

Very interesting Joanie. Please continue to keep us posted on anything you notice along those lines. And thanks.

sandra said...

So you don't have a source for your statement that there were no drugs in Roberts' system.

My original question was----

What drugs was Roberts taking?


sandra said...

Danthemangottschall said...
I read somewhere that the autopsy showed no drugs in his system

Sorry, but you didn't read that anywhere.

I went through each mention of Roberts' autopsy on the internet

and none of them mention a toxicology report.

My question remains----

What drugs were in his system?

Danthemangottschall said...

NOTICE to all on this thread!

Sandra has appointed herself Grand Inquisitor. Weigh your words before answering her posts under penalty of death by snit.

sandra said...

Let me know when you have any word of Roberts' toxicology report from his autopsy.

That was my original question.

In cases of these mass murderers they have a habit of trying to cover up the toxicology report to protect the makers of any "medical" drugs the killer was taking.


Danthemangottschall said...

I didn't know they made tinfoil hats in ladies sizes.

a california girl said...

Dan and Sandra, you are both slapping Joanie and the meaning of this beautiful beautiful thread in the face with your petty bickering. Quit it.

joanie said...

Dan, I have not read anything about a toxicology test being done on Roberts' body so I suspect that you may have inadvertently read that into whatever autopsy report you came across.

In addition to reading various accounts of the autopsy results, I watched a Greta Van Susteren interview with Dr. Kirchner (county coroner) one day last week (can't remember which), only because I had heard that he was to be her guest.

When Van Susteren asked him what he learned from performing the autopsy, he simply replied (verbatim), 'Only that he had a huge gunshot wound to the forehead. It blew his head apart.'

That's it. A coroner performs a presumably minutely-detailed forensic examination on the body of a mass murderer and discovers only that he has a big hole in his head. It would appear that his 8-9 years of higher education really paid off big time, and the citizens of Lancaster County owe him a debt of gratitude for a job well done.

When Van Susteren half-heartedly pressed him further, as to what kind of forensic procedures he employed during the autopsy in order to attempt to explain Roberts’ bizarre behavior through the composition of his body chemistry, he replied that he looked for evidence of a brain tumor and examined the endocrine system for evidence of an endocrine system tumor, but came up empty.

It seems to me that it would be quite easy to come up empty when the defined parameters under which you are working are superficial, at best.

I called the local news stations and newspapers last Thursday regarding further autopsy revelations and was not given a clear answer from any of them. One even said, 'I would assume that all that is to be made public about the autopsy results has already been made public.' There was absolutely no interest in investigating why no toxicology results have been released.

I am going to be talking with someone from the coroner’s office Friday morning.

I am not among those who choose to demonize the large drug companies. I believe they get a bad wrap in many ways because part of the left's obsessive, decades-long crusade to destroy the best medical system the world has ever known includes (1) pandering to trial lawyers at the expense of good and capable doctors and the procedures they must employ, (2) artificially forcing up the cost of medical care so that the public will eventually be forced to turn to nationalized healthcare/socialized medicine in a (futile) effort to rein in prices, and (3) demonizing drug companies as monstrously inhuman money-hungry entities so as to lessen the amount of effective R&D (one of the essential components of meaningful medical progress) that can be considered practical.

With that said, I think the negative side-effects of many major drugs are either downplayed or unknown, and many drugs are extraordinarily over-prescribed for reasons that have little or nothing to do with their original stated intent. So I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility (as a matter of fact, I think it's entirely possible) that Roberts may have been either using illegal drugs or using a legal drug that is either intended to be mind-altering, or has another intended use, but mind-alteration is an unpublicized/unacknowledged side-effect.

It appears that either a toxicology study on Roberts was not done, or one was done and its results are not being made public.

If a tox study was not done, there's something rotten in the coroner's office (and beyond). Roberts (1) was scheduled to be drug-screened by his employer the very day of the shootings and (2) behaved during the few days before the shootings entirely out of character from the way all of his family, friends and acquaintances described his ‘normal’ behavior. Any medical/police/law professional would immediately want to investigate the role that a foreign chemical substance may have played in his bizarre behavior.

If a tox study was done, and the results are not being made public, the intentionally manufactured fog around the legal/forensic aftermath of the shootings becomes very unsettling. And I sadly suspect it will turn into one of those purposefully-got-lost-in-the-shuffle aspects of this tragedy that simply fades into obscurity because the public just wasn't interested enough to pursue it.

If one were to unearth the reason behind all such purposefully unexplained/conveniently obscured/covered up 'phenomena', I suspect that one would be able to explain much of what is currently wrong with the state of the world.

Also … see today’s update in the essay (above).

~ joanie

sandra said...

Standard procedure to cover such information up.

This stinks.


jim said...

Please let us know what comes of your conversation with the coroner's office on Friday. You're right. This sounds very wierd.

trustbutverify said...

I never thought much about this. It boggles my mind to think that the coroner and everybody else involved would be covering something up. But it's also really odd that no one is talking about what drugs they found in his system. What gives????????????

If anybody finds anything out about this please post it here.

Dawnsearlylight said...

Interesting to say the least. Keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us updated. You are right that we want to know how the families and victims are doing because of our concern for them. I have 2 daughters and this tragedy has affected me in a very deep way.
I would really appreciate if you can update on how the little girls are doing now, specially the 6 year old who is still in the hospital. I try to search every day to get some news on her. These families are in my prayers every day and I might be able to sleep again and stop crying if I know the surviving victims are doing better.