Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Horror

October 3, 2006

I’ve been reading the news this weekend about the three school shootings in the United States, the latest in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A few years back, when I was between lives, I lived not far from the town where all of this horror took place. The black-top roads in our area were often marked with the telling red-mud tracks of an Amish wagon and although I never had the occasion to speak with any of my Amish neighbors, I was aware of them and now and then caught sight of a family or a group of men or women going about. The countryside in that part of the world is soft and rich and smells of cows and fresh mown hay. It was a place I went to restore myself and it worked. It is a place where the Amish and many other religious sects such as the Mennonites and the Shakers settled, searching for spiritual self-determination and a pace of life set back from the main stream. The horror that has shaken these gentle people was probably unimaginable to them; the terrible fact is that it is no longer unimaginable to most of the world. A man walks into a school with a cache of guns, ties up a group of children and murders them. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it will not be the last. Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and Somalia – these are just recent examples of a phenomenon I will never understand, and I have tried. Shortly after the genocide in Rwanda I started reading about murder, about violence among men, about Hitler and Charles Manson and the Black Dahlia and a host of others and the societies in which they flourished. At the end of the day I came to the conclusion that some people are just bad, and given the opportunity (and the weapons) they will act out that latent evil. Unfortunately, there are also a great many otherwise normal folks, who, when placed in the right set of circumstances, are capable of behaving just as abominably as any serial killer - the genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries are proof of that.
Tonight my heart goes out to the mothers and fathers of those innocent children who lost their lives, and to the children who survive, whose dreams have been taken from them forever.


Blogger Cathy said...

And the most amazing thing is that they are already speaking of forgiveness; one elder was interviewed and he was praying for the wife and children of the man who did this.

I have no words;
for this kind of horror.
I just love my children
a little bit more and hold them
just a little bit closer.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

it was on the news here in greece too. everybody is deeply shocked. we don't know much about the Amish community but we know they are peaceful people.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

When I saw that news story on TV I got physically sick to my stomach and had to leave the room. It's beyond horrific. To target the Amish, truly peace-loving people, is just unfathomable. I fear more and more for society.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...truly sad and horrific event. It is astonishing what humans will do to one another when given the opportunity. I recently watched the film "Das Experiment". It’s a German film from 2001 based upon an actual prison simulation experiment. The experiment took place at Stanford University in 1971. Half of those involved in the experiment were assigned the position of guards, the other half prisoners. The experiment stopped prematurely after only 6 days (it was suppose to last 2 weeks) due to actions of the guards towards the prisoners. It is very interesting film; at the same time it is deeply disturbing...really makes you think.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

yes it is very scary. The kids here are a bit shocked as well (Canada).... I just can't believe things like this are becoming more common!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

Regarding your comments ...

Thank you for taking time to post a comment. All of you - except anonymous whoever you are - are regular visitors here and as such have become part of my extended family of sorts. I must admit to feeling somewhat reticent about posting this piece, but when I look at my child and think about all of the families torn apart by the selfish, senseless violence in the world I felt compelled to speak out – to shout out if I could. Thanks for listening …

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, it is an horrifying event and I clearly remember an incident a couple of years ago when a teenage boy did such a 'raid' in a German school, a scenario he obviously 'learnt' from playing first-person-shooters.

I fear (and occasionally I have experienced it here and there somehow) that the new generation of young people tend to be more aggressive. I fear that an (unfortunately) considerably higher amount of parents don't care about their children and thus educate and prepare them for life properly, and I also fear that those stories continue to appear on the news more increasingly.

Really sad (and thanks to those parents [like you!] who really care about their children)!

9:53 PM  

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