An Amishman in the Geauga County, Ohio settlement has permanently lost vision in one eye after teens hurled an egg at his buggy. This was apparently part of a spree in which they threw dozens of eggs at different buggies. From Fox8:
GEAUGA COUNTY (WJW) — Geauga County sheriff officials charged four teens with assault after an Amish man was hit in the face with an egg, causing him to lose vision in one eye.
Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand said the victim was in an Amish buggy around 9:45 p.m. May 25 on Bundysburg Road when someone inside a pickup truck threw an egg at him.
The man was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. He was told he has permanently lost vision in his one eye, the sheriff said.
“The four juveniles threw over five dozen eggs at Amish buggies,” the sheriff said. “What somebody probably thought was a prank ended up costing somebody their eyesight.”
The video report goes into greater detail, with the sheriff explaining that they first turned on their brights, then threw an egg into the buggy as they passed by, striking the Amishman, who was riding with his wife, in his left eye.
So, (and this isn’t any sort of excuse) of course the teens probably weren’t out there trying to cause serious injury. But there is a perception of the Amish as “other” – ie, “different”, not like “us”, “backward” or other pejoratives – that leads to them being dehumanized in some people’s eyes.
And that leads to things like vandalism against Amish property or terrorizing Amish individuals like this becoming a pathetic form of sport or entertainment for some people.
Amish have been the subject of abuse from non-Amish (and in some cases, Amish-raised youth) in many instances. For example, throwing water bottles at Amish children from a car, an Amish horse killed in a drive-by shooting, or an Amish girl shot in the face with a BB gun, to name just a few recent cases. So throwing objects at Amish buggies is nothing new…
A tragic echo
This egg-throwing incident recalls a similar case that led to even greater tragedy in the late 1970s. The story is recounted in a book compiled by John A. Hostetler called Amish Roots: A Treasury of History, Wisdom, and Lore.
In “Baby Adeline”, Simon M. Schwartz tells the story of an incident in the Adams County, Indiana community. Levi and Rebecca Schwartz, along with their seven children, were returning home one summer evening by buggy when they found themselves the targets of four teens out looking for “fun”. In this case the boys in the truck threw bricks, not eggs. And when the buggy arrived home, the parents noticed that their infant daughter Adeline had been struck, and killed.
Four area youths were charged with reckless homicide. Schwartz recounts that the reaction of the teens “was one of shock and remorse. ‘We had no idea we had injured, let alone killed, someone,’ they said. ‘We were just out for a little fun.’
A “little fun” of the senseless variety can lead to very bad things. In that case, an incensed public demanded justice. Yet in the end the boys were given only suspended sentences.
Simon Schwartz cites a letter which likely worked in their favor. The letter was written by a bishop and endorsed by baby Adeline’s parents. “We believe that the four boys have suffered, and suffered heavily, since the crime,” the letter read, “and they have more than paid for what they did. Sending the defendants to prison would serve no good purpose, and we plead for leniency for them.”
I use the opportunity to recall this story to demonstrate that this type of thing against the Amish is not new. And the Amish have on more than one high-profile occasion demonstrated that they often respond with forgiveness and compassion, even in the face of awful circumstances.
However, I recount this not to suggest that the perpetrators in this egg-throwing case should not face punishment, or that the Amish victim(s) in this case ought to act similarly to the Schwartzes. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I had lost vision in one eye due to a mindless “prank” like this one. The youth “are expected in court soon to face the charges.”
UPDATE: More details on the story via the Geauga County Maple Leaf:
“We started investigating it and we heard some rumors,” Hildenbrand said. “Our detectives went out and viewed some video from different stores of people buying large quantities of eggs, got some names, did some follow up. They ultimately found out that these kids had purchased seven dozen eggs from the Dollar General in Huntsburg and were throwing them at the Amish.”
He added the four teenagers, all from Middlefield and ages 15 and 16, are Yankees who attend Cardinal Schools.
“Since the story got out, we’ve got two more victims,” Hildenbrand said. “One guy was hit in the face with two eggs. He was in an open cart and the other guy was in a buggy, and they threw a whole dozen eggs at him. Same day and same area.”
The Amish man in the open cart was temporarily blind in one eye, but has regained his vision, the sheriff said. The third Amish man hit with the eggs was not injured.
“Yankees” is the local Amish word for “English” (non-Amish people). The article notes that the youth could be charged with a hate crime.