Statement from the Nickel Mines Amish Community

Any school shooting is horrible, but for some reason the one at the Amish school in Pennsylvania seemed particularly evil to me. I wish I could understand why people do these horrible things, and why this phenomenon is unique to the United States; I wish there was something I could do to stop it.

In the meantime, I was struck by this public statement that I received via email from the pastor of the Madison Mennonite Church.

*Statement of thanks to the public and plans for use of contributions *

Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania – On October 2 seven Amish families in our
community experienced the unimaginable -- ten of their young daughters
were shot, five fatally, by a gunman who invaded the Amish school where
their children attended. The whole community, Amish and others, were
horrified and shocked that such evil could be done to the most innocent
members of our peaceful community.

Messages of condolence and care, financial contributions, and offers of
all kinds of assistance began to pour into the community almost
immediately from the local community and from around the world. We, the
people of the Nickel Mines community, are humbled and deeply thankful
for this outpouring of love. Each act of kindness, the prayers and every
gift, small or large, comfort us and assure us that our spirits will
heal even though the painful loss will always be with us. Thank you for
your generous kindness and for walking with us in this “valley of
death”. We wish we could thank each of you personally.

In those first hours and days we experienced personally the love and
care of our neighbors and the public and private service providers as
they responded tirelessly and selflessly. Specifically, we acknowledge
and thank the following: volunteer fire companies, especially the Bart
Township fire company; fire police; Lancaster County Sheriff’s
Department; Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement people;
ambulance and emergency response teams; hospitals and all the related
medical providers; coroners; churches; community volunteer groups;
transportation providers; and the Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite
Disaster Service, the Anabaptist Foundation and the numerous banks and
businesses that are collecting funds. To all those we failed to mention,
thank you, and apologies for not naming you.

We thank people from the news media who sensitively reported our tragedy
to the world and in many cases wrote thoughtful commentary that helped
the world grapple with values that are dear to us -- forgiveness,
non-violence, mutual caring, simplicity and life in a community of
faith. Above all, thank you for the acts of kindness you showed us even
while you were doing your reporting work.

The Roberts family is also suffering. Please join us in showering care
on them, praying for them and in assisting them with financial needs
that they face.

We have organized the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee to receive
contributions and apply them to the needs that resulted from the
shootings: medical and counseling services, transportation for victims,
transportation and extra living expenses for family members attending to
the victims, rehabilitation, long-term disability care, modifications to
homes or schools if needed to make facilities handicap accessible, and
any other expenses resulting from the event. If adequate funds are
received contributions may be made to charity funds of health service
providers and to volunteer public service entities that responded to
this event without charging for their services. Funds received in excess
of what is needed to respond to the Nickel Mines Amish School tragedy
will be contributed, as the committee deems appropriate, to needs
arising from other tragic events within or outside the Amish community.

Thank you and God bless you.


Jenn Hacker said…
It occurs to me how staggering it is that, in the midst of their pain, they can ask others to pray for the family of the man who tore their lives apart. I am humbled, and instructed on what true forgiveness is.
Becca said…
It is pretty amazing. There was no hesitation, either--the first I heard of any statement after the shooting was that they forgave the shooter.

I read yesterday that people have given $700K to the community. I'm glad to see that money will do a lot of good.
Anonymous said…
It is inspirational to read of the Amish reaction to this tragedy. They have reacted with rare Christian spirit.
I don't think you can state that the aberrant behavior of that lone gunman is uniquely American. The man was deranged, and there are crazies all over the world. I think it happens more often here--mostly because of our easy access to guns--but it is not by accident that in the first chapters of the Bible a brother kills a brother in the first family.

pamigelsrud said…
Thanks for posting this, Susan. It is very humbling.
Suze said…
Well said, Oma. I think gun access has quite a lot to do with it, actually.

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