Friday, October 13, 2006

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Nothing remains of the West Nickel Mines Amish School
Excerpts from a commentary titled "They Believe in Forgiveness" by Terry Mattingly, who directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
"The helicopters kept making circles in the air so that the cameramen could keep showing the dairy farms and country roads, the bonnets and wide-brimmed straw hats, the horse-drawn buggies and the one-room schoolhouse framed in yellow police tape. Soon the facts started going in circles as police recited a litany about 600 rounds of ammunition, a shotgun, a semiautomatic pistol, a stun gun, explosives and, later, the killer's sick collection of chains, clamps, hardware and sexual aids. Witnesses said Charles Carl Roberts IV was angry with God, angry with himself, haunted by guilt, fed up with life and driven by a hellish grudge.

"Then journalists began asking questions that went in circles, the questions that nag clergy as well as state troopers. Why? Why the Amish? How could God let this happen? How can justice be done now that the killer is dead? . . .

"The gunman's stunned wife released a media statement that showed her understanding of her Amish neighbors and their beliefs. She knew she could appeal for prayers and forgiveness, even though outsiders might find her words hard to fathom. 'Our hearts are broken, our lives are shattered and we grieve for the innocence and lives that were lost today," said Marie Roberts. "Above all, please, pray for the families who lost children and, please, pray, too, for our family and children.'

"To grasp the Amish point of view, it's crucial to understand that they truly believe God desires justice, but also shows mercy. . . . These are hard words in an age when many Americans hold one of two competing beliefs about eternity and God's judgment.

"Millions of believers -- lukewarm and fervent alike -- assume that the really bad sinners are the people who commit the really bad sins, those spectacular sins tied to violence, drugs and sex. These really bad people are easy to condemn to hell.

"Meanwhile, many other people believe that all people are automatically going to heaven, no matter what they believe or what they do.

"According to this point of view, the massacre inside the West Nickel Mines Amish School will have no impact on the eternal destiny of Charles Carl Roberts IV.

"Once again, the Amish believe that God knows all and that God, and only God, can judge. What the Amish emphasize is that forgiveness is the only way that humans can break a cycle of violence and sin.

"In this case, the gunman left suicide notes that showed that he was driven by guilt and a grudge that he would not surrender. It appears that Roberts could not forgive God and could not forgive himself.

"In the end, this killed him and through him killed others."

(Photograph by Matt Rourke/The Associated Press)


Frank Partisan said...

Strong heartfelt post.

AJ said...

OK. Shaun, I got your website by your email ad and now after reading the present post I am still wondering what your point is.
Are you agreeing with the author that his anger towards God finally killed him (and took others) in the end? Is that your final observation?
Are you aware that the relatives that were questioned about Roberts alledged sex acts DENIED him ever doing anything to them? Did you know that his wife and 3 kids were by all accounts Ive heard, church going and quite normal people?
And how in the hell could this guy tote 600 rounds of ammo, a gun , a shotgun, explosives .....and supplies to the school without being questioned by the locals? And why would he even need 600 rounds AND explosives ?
Something stinks here..

Shaun Mullen said...

Do I have to have a point, AJ?

This is what I know: Any time children are killed, it is awful. Any time the physical and spiritual domain of the Amish is violated, it is awful.

You can play around with conspiracy theories all you want. I'd imagine you emailed from a cold, impersonal apartment block in some big city where there's nary a flower to smell or anything else to open your mind even a crack.

I myself have the good fortune to have lived very near Amish Country for a good number of years, to drive through Nickel Mines and to make the acquaintance of some of these good folks. Let me tell you, no cow shit smells better in all the world than Amish cow shit.

I posted the commentary not because I wanted to make a point but because I felt Mattingly made several points in a gentle way.

You can conspiracy theorize all you want. I myself am mourning.

AJ said...

"I myself am mourning.

We are ALL mourning Shaun.
My comments on such

"conspiracy theories"
is my way of wondering what the hell happened so it might not happen again.
Silly me, perhaps we should just let the professionals tell us what reality is so we have more time for shopping.