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Forgiven: The Amish School Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace

Video from Bethany House

"After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on? On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face. But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy." from video introduction.

Our world, our culture is very quick to dismiss forgiveness. revenge is the default. The reality is revenge is evil, it serves death and hate and Satan.

Video from AP Archive

1. Police on horseback leading funeral procession, pull out and pan right as funeral procession of horse-drawn carriages follows 2. Mid shot of horse-drawn carriages in funeral procession through Nickel Mines 3. Three shots (wide shot, close shot, pan left) of funeral procession passing Roberts' (the gunman) house 4. Close-up of hooves and wheels passing 5. Mourners passing carts 6. Wide of Jacquie Hess (Aunt of Roberts' Wife) talking to reporters 7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Jacquie Hess, Aunt of Roberts' Wife: "We just talked about what had happened and how it could happen and that they have forgiven what has taken place and that there is no hard feelings. And they want us to just all pull together as a community and still just keep our trust in God to help us all get through everything." 8. Low angle shot of funeral procession STORYLINE: A procession of 34 buggies and carriages carried mourners to a hilltop cemetery in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania on Thursday as the Amish community buried the first of five girls killed by a gunman inside their tiny one-room schoolhouse. Two state troopers on horseback led the cortege, followed by a long horse-drawn buggy carrying the body of seven-year-old Naomi Rose Ebersol. The route wove past the home of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the 32-year-old milk truck driver who took the girls hostage on Monday morning, tied them up and then shot them. It was the first in a series of funerals on Thursday for victims of the West Nickel Mines Amish school shooting. All roads leading into the village of Nickel Mines were blocked by state police so the Amish could gather privately in homes to remember Ebersol, 13-year-old Marian Fisher, and sisters Mary Liz Miller, who was eight, and Lena Miller, who was seven. The funeral for a fifth girl, 12-year-old Anna Mae Stoltzfus, was scheduled for Friday. In Lancaster County, there were prayer services for the victims at area churches, but the traditional funerals for the girls where an expected 300 to 500 people we due to attend were closed. Amish custom calls for simple wooden caskets, narrow at the head and feet and wider in the middle. An Amish girl is typically laid to rest in a white dress, a cape, and a white prayer-covering on her head, said funeral director Philip W. Furman. The Amish have actually reached out to the family of the gunman, who committed suicide during the attack in the schoolhouse. Jacquie Hess, an aunt of Roberts' wife, said members of the Amish community comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them. Among Roberts' survivors are his wife and three children. Roberts' relatives may even receive money from a fund established to help victims and their families, said Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster services, an agency managing the donations. The attack on the school began Monday morning when Roberts took over the one-room school, sent the adults and boys out and bound the 10 remaining girls at the blackboard. He was in the school for about an hour before he shot his hostages and turned the gun on himself as police closed in. Five young girls survived the schoolhouse attack but were seriously injured. County coroner Gary Kirchner said one of those girls - a six-year-old who has been treated at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania - was expected to be taken off life support so that she could be brought home.


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