"The Amish school shooting" refers to an attack that occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States, on October 2, 2006. Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and eventually shot and killed five girls (aged 6–13) before committing suicide in the schoolhouse.
The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation in the response of the Amish community was widely discussed in the national media. The West Nickel Mines School was torn down, and a new one-room schoolhouse, the New Hope School, was built at another location.
Lifetime will be presenting a movie based on those horrific events, focusing on the Amish response of forgiveness towards the Roberts family. It appears that just about everybody concerned has had their name changed in the televersion, save for Charlie Roberts. (Even his wife Amy is now called Marie Roberts, perhaps to quell any renewed anger towards her from those who don't subscribe to the Amish response. Not surprising in the climate of hate we have now in America....)
I'd really rather have focused on the main character in this TV movie, but "Ida Graber" is fictional. It's not even as though she's a composite of some of those grieving mothers, or simply just had her name changed.
According to Suzanne Woods Fisher, who seems to be well-versed in the ways of Amish life, the movie falls apart because of the emotional actions Ida Graber goes through. She quotes Herman Bontrager, who spoke for that Amish community afterwards:
"I do know the Amish went through all of the processes of responding to the tragedy that every human being does, from anger to denial to grief. They are quite aware of the steps. I don't think they were denying their emotions during the process.
"But I am not aware of anyone, to me or anyone I've talked with, who almost left their faith."
So in all of this, as with large scale tragedies like the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Twin Towers, the events as seen in Toobworld differ from those of the real world.
In the meantime, sadly, there's always the killer.....
CHARLES CARL ROBERTS
AS SEEN IN:
AS PLAYED BY:
Roberts, who was at the time a resident of nearby Georgetown, another unincorporated area of Bart Township, was last seen by his wife at 8:45 a.m. when they walked their children to the bus stop before leaving. When Mrs. Roberts returned home a little before 11:00 a.m., she discovered four suicide notes; one addressed to herself and one to each of their three children.
Roberts called his wife from the schoolhouse on his cell phone and told her that he had molested two young female relatives (between the ages of 3 and 5) twenty years previously (when he was 12) and had been daydreaming about molesting again. One note Roberts left behind indicated his despondency over a daughter who died approximately twenty minutes after birth nine years earlier. He stated that he had "been having dreams for the past couple of years about doing what he did 20 years ago and he has dreams of doing them again", according to State Police Commissioner Colonel Jeffrey B. Miller.
On October 4, 2006, the two relatives whom Roberts said he molested 20 years ago told police that no such abuse had ever happened, throwing a new layer of mystery over the gunman's motive and mental state during the shooting.
Miller said there was no evidence any of the Amish children had been molested.
As for those little girls who died that day, good night and may God bless.