News this weekend was dominated by the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. When atrocities like this occur thoughts inevitably turn to previous similar happenings.  In just the past 6 months there have been other mass shootings in the U.S., notably at the Wisconsin Sikh temple and the Aurora, Colorado movie theater.

I imagine comparisons will be made with the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting of 2006, given the elementary school setting.  The Newtown children were all aged 6 or 7, first-graders (along with 6 adults killed). The youngest Nickel Mines victim was age 6, on up to 13.  It’s difficult to contemplate such evils but even more so given the ages involved.

Joshua asked in a comment over the weekend:

Just wondering if and how the Amish might respond to the tragedy in at the Connecticut school shooting. I’m sure similar to the Nickel Mines shooting, they would be forgiving of the killer, but I’m wondering if a busload of Amish would travel to visit the families to encourage and counsel them? Or would this be seen as being too much “in the world” since the Amish as a group were not involved?

Comfort Quilt Virginia Tech

Comfort quilt at Virginia Tech

There is some precedent for Amish attention to similar tragedies. A group of Nickel Mines Amish delivered the comfort quilt (originally created by Ohio schoolchildren following 9/11) to victims’ families after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.  Sadly, the comfort quilt never stays in one place for long.

In answer to the second part of the question (and such a thing would probably be well down the line in the healing process) I don’t think it too hard to imagine Amish visiting with these families, if it were something both sides were agreed to and felt would be constructive.

One of the shockwaves of these events is the pain and memories no doubt stirred in the families of past victims of similar violence. I can only think this shooting will be high on the minds of the Amish parents and families of Nickel Mines. It’s good to keep all such victims in mind at times like these.

Thoughts and prayers should be first and foremost with the Sandy Hook children, school staff and their loved ones. The families in Connecticut just trying to absorb what happened are going to need a lot of help in the days to come.  Probably more than any human power can give.

Comfort quilt photo: VTechworks


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