I came across a police report about an Amish man being harassed in the community of Sherman, Maine. The Amish are targets of harassment in some places. In some cases the harassment goes well beyond what we might think of as a simple prank. The topic has been the subject of an academic paper, as well as several posts here on serious incidents – cases of arson, gunshots fired at Amish homes and a horse. Here’s the snippet describing what happened in Maine:
Monday, Dec. 28
SHERMAN — Tr. Castonguay is investigating a harassment report in Sherman. The complainant said a young man from the Amish community came into the store visibly scared/upset. The complainant later learned of a black truck following the man and doing things to scare his horse. Tr. Castonguay obtained a vehicle registration number and is actively working this investigation.
Sherman is located in “The County“, the local name for Aroostook County, a massive expanse of land which is larger even than three individual states. The County has attracted a fair share of Amish over the years – five settlements total, of which the Sherman settlement is one of the largest (“large” is relative here as they are all just one or two church districts in size).
Another Swartzentruber settlement in The County is found at Fort Fairfield. Photo by Paul Cyr
When I first saw this report I thought that this may have been one of the newer of the settlements. Maybe this was a case of someone local unaccustomed to new Amish neighbors who decided chasing buggies is a good way to kill boredom. But it turns out this community has existed for around 10 years.
This is a Swartzentruber Amish settlement, so these are the plainest Amish, and thus among the most different from English people – a dynamic that probably encourages more harassment by those inclined to do so.
The police report is dated to three weeks ago, though it just appeared online last week. Hopefully with the vehicle registration number in hand, the police have already located Mr. Black Truck Tough Guy and have put a stop to whatever he was up to – before it leads to a human or animal being injured or killed.