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I know most of you Kossacks are news junkies and have already heard plenty about this story, but I haven't seen much about it here on Daily Kos. So, I have written this diary to honor the slain Amish schoolgirls; the Amish community deserves it. Here goes: Less than a week after the school shooting in Bailey, Colorado, it happened again in Pennsylvania. The shooting in Pennsylvania is particularly disturbing and heart-wrenching..... You've been warned.....

A gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, who had with him three guns and 600 rounds of ammunition, stormed a one-room Amish schoolhouse Monday. Roberts let the males and pregnant women leave before he forced the fifteen remaining Amish girls to line up at the blackboard. He tied their hands and feet, shot three of them in the head, seriously wounded eight others, and then fired shotgun rounds at the police before ending his own life. The eight wounded were all in critical condition and, sadly, two of them died this morning. One of the women who was let go managed to call the police who, unfortunately, arrived too late. Based on a phone conversation Roberts had with his wife prior to the shooting, it is believed that Roberts was exacting revenge for something, still unknown, which occurred about twenty years ago.

I would imagine that the scene which greeted the police upon arrival was horrifying. Gruesome beyond description. This wasn't a shooting..... It was a massacre. And Amish girls? The Amish are the most peaceful, caring people you could ever have the pleasure of knowing. They didn't deserve this. What is it with gun-owning psychopaths, anyway? They never seem to kill each other, do they? No, no, no; they would rather kill bleeding-heart pacifists. John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, innocent Amish schoolgirls..... What was the one thing these people had in common aside from their never-ending pursuit of peace and brotherhood?

Originally posted to slhodgin on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 06:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  600 rounds (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, gmb, leolabeth, Albatross

    600 rounds. Doubtless the NRA will tell us that the Amish school house concealed

    1. a lot of deer
    1. enemies of the US
    1. our gov'm'nt, which is our enemy.
    •  Ammunition doesn't kill people.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, gmb, Albatross

      but its designed to.

      Somehow, I'm sure, they'll blame democrats.

    •  600 Rounds (8+ / 0-)

      I grew up very close to this area and am familure with the type of people who live here.  Do not read too muich into the 600 rounds.  Hunting is very big in this area and many people will buy their ammunition in large numbers.  The average hunter in this area will own several guns due to the nature of the different types of game (ie: while a regular rifle is great for deer, it's not good for turkey or pheasant).  If we are to make inroads in this area, we need to understand how the people in the area think.  To go after them for owning guns are having X amount of rounds will only turn them away from us.

      I am not defending what this scumbag has done.  I hope there is a special place in Hell reserved people like him and Hitler and Pol Pot and everyone else like them.  But we can not paint the people of this area with a broad brush.

      •  I hear you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Albatross, libertyisliberal

        I'm from Western PA, now living in Western NY. Hunting is big here in this part of NYS, but it is huge in much of Pennsylvania. My Dad, Grampa, brothers and nephews all have hunted deer and small game whne the season rolls around. I could not classify any of them as "gun nuts."

        I knew my Dad had his hunting rifle and ammo at our home, but I never saw it sititng around, nor did he display that stuff. It was utilitarian. Understand, he grew up in Depression-era central PA. His family hunted game for sustenance, and it was something they all enjoyed when it was no longer a neccessity.

        On the other hand, my husband's cousin is a gun fanatic. He and his dad have collected guns over the years, and also love hunting. I think in their neck of PA, guns and trucks are the recognized male bonding experience. This cousin belongs to a Gun Club, and recently has taken my husband and son to the range to shoot clay birds, and other stuff. He was very careful in showing my teen son about gun safety, and I appreciate that.

        Surprisingly, my husband said he heard disparaging words about Chimpy, even in that rather redneck environment, which wouldnt' have happened a few years back. Mostly, these guys really really love their "hobby", and the NRA keeps them fired up that every Democrat wants to take all their guns away. Talk "gun control" and that's about as far as you get.

        Somehow, we have to find a way to have this discussion without a lot of wild-ass comments. My own opinion: we have far too many automatic weapons,  too many things that are really not in any way useful for deer-hunting. There's way too much defensiveness from a lot of knee-jerk gun people, and really, also the gun-hating people. And I don't know what the f$#(* to say about the collectors of all the artillery; I know most of them are responsible, sane people. It's the ones who aren't who scare me.

        I got a little pissed when people laughed at John Kerry doing the hunting photo op. It is way important in parts of the country to assure people that you will not prevent them from "connecting with nature." Many hunters really do care about the environment, and even switch to cameras over time. There are also lots of dumb "city slickers" who show up out in the boonies with all their expensive hunting equipment and start shooting at noises and cows. Not good.

        Please let's just try to keep the gun ownership issue separate from the gun crime one. I know, they intersect at some point, but I do not see any way in any near future that you will pry any guns from any but cold ddead hands in this country, so we had better figure out a way to talk about it.

        First step: fire Wayne LaPierre!

        •  polarized (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think the gun issue has been polarized by NRA on one side and the "Gun-grabbers" on the other.  Part of that is driven by a lack of interaction and the enviroment.  A person from Philly or New York City is going to have a far different understanding of guns then a person from the Country.  And without interaction between the two, it's easy to have your opinions swayed.  If NRA says that those city folk are anti-gun and want to ban them all then you'll believe because you have no counter view to the issue.

          What I'm find interesting is how many people don't understand how important hunting is.  I don't know about where you are at, but where I grew up hunting was a big enough of a thing that we got the first day of deer season off from school just so people could go out.  "Going Hunting" was a valid reason to take off from school.  And many students did it.

          •  Dialogue between cityslickers... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brother Maynard

            ...and rural dwellers is often very strained even here on DKos. I live on a mountain in Appalachia by well-considered choice, but you might be surprised at the amount of 'hillbilly' put-downs you can garner around here just for saying something about what's important here as opposed to important in LA or Queens.

            That said, there are plenty of gun owners (and sharpshooters) who don't hunt. For instance, my family has been vegetarian for 30+ years, but we own guns. While there's always the possibility of a grumpy bear, a rabid skunk or coon, or terminally injured dog to be put down post haste, they're for protection against the 2-legged vermin mostly. Most dangerous of whom are hunters that show up at all hours armed to the teeth, drunk out of their skulls, with pickups full of radio-dogs they'll leave behind to starve.

            If you're more than 15 minutes away from town and have no neighbors within shouting distance, keeping dogs and guns is fairly required. I certainly don't apologize for it, and I don't pretend I keep them for hunting game.

            Satan himself had a 33% approval rating even as he was booted out of heaven.

            by Joy Busey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 08:47:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  same for me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brother Maynard

            I grew up in Erie County, PA. Huge hunting area. Very common to see proud guys posing with their dead deer. Not uncommon to see a car/truck headed down the road with the dead deer strapped on somehow.

            Where I am now, the hunters are a bit farther away, so I seldom see the results, although my late next-door neighbor shared some of his venison with us one year. He loved to hunt with his son and buddies from work. Not a gun nut at all. He had been in the service, but I never saw him out on his patio with his guns or anything.

            I think it has been discussed here recently: in states like New York, PA, and Ohio, to name a few, you don't get too far from the city limits before it is lots and lots of rural area. Many, not all, of the more rural residents shun all things related to any of the neighboring cities. They go to a suburban mall and head back home. It is largely a white population, and largely segregated. I'm not talking about everyone, but there is that kind of "backwoods" element.

            I have worked with a lot of guys who hunted and fished, hated paying taxes, and purposely lived in rural areas to be away from everything the city represents to them: black people, gays, crime, too much government, bad schools. The racism I loathe; some of the rest of it, I understand but don't share that opinion. I don't think our metro areas are hellish, but there certainly are longstanding problems of poverty.

        •  Own guns, but be responsible (0+ / 0-)

          Here's a law you'll never see passed:  If someone steals your gun and uses it in a crime, the original gun owner is responsible at some level.

          If your child breaks into your bedroom, takes your unsecured pistol to his school in Wisconsin, and kills the principle, you, the gun owner, should go on trial.

      •  Another gun law we need (0+ / 0-)

        Recently, there was a rampage of a postal worker in MO.  He raped a recent girlfriend, killed her or someone else, and headed for his office to kill more.

        WHOOOPSSS!!! Out of ammo.

        He stopped at WalMart and bought ammo.

        We need a 24 hour waiting period on ammo.  And fuck that mangy shit about inconvenience.  We can set up a website to pre-order.  

  •  I would hesitate to say (10+ / 0-)

    that a murder was more heinous because of the ethnic or religious orientation of the people it happened to.

    I think we can all agree it was a horrible, horrible crime. What else is there to say.

    -9.0, -8.3. The point I just made is the most important point. -George W. Bush

    by SensibleShoes on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:02:49 AM PDT

  •  Well this guy was in his 30's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, Joy Busey

    School shootings come in clusters of copycat crimes. But this one was like the Colorado attack that targeted girls, and usually the copycats are teens. Actually you might be able to tie all of these back to the recent Canadian school shooting.

    •  There are two different categories of school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      shootings, imho.

      This guy, being an adult and not affiliated with the school, was a suicidal lunatic who decided when he went out he would inflict as much damage on society as he could. And what better way to hurt society than to kill its most innocent and harmless members, i.e. children? I think this is why schools are so vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. The worst example of this was probably that fellow in Scotland about 10 years ago who shot a whole bunch of Kindergarten students. Arguably, the school massacre in Russia by the Chechen separatists falls into the same category, although it was politically motivated and usually just labelled as 'terrorism'.

      The other category is when a crazed student decides to shoot people at his school. This kind of shooting is similar to the phenomenon of 'going postal', in which the person has grievances, real or imagined, against his job or his school, i.e. the place where he spends most of his time during the day. I think school shootings like this and shootings at job sites are two peas in the same pod.

      Was this a copy-cat killing? I think it's certainly possible that the recent Colorado shooting inspired the guy in PA to act when he did. But unless we have evidence of that we'll never know.

  •  I am very concerned ... (9+ / 0-)

    ... especially after reading a recommended diary yesterday which spoke about allowing strip-searches in schools (and giving some frightening examples of this happening), that this shooting will give even more impetus to over-the-top security measures in schools that will only traumatize children, not protect them.

    Keeping children safe requires intelligence -- this group in power knows only force, and I am frightened for schoolchildren over what the government will do to keep them "safe."

  •  Yeah.. (4+ / 0-)

    ...what is it with all us gun-owning psychos anyways?

    I mean, considering that we compose about half the population of the US, if even one percent of us went psycho and started killing folks, we'd be talking about thousands of shootings a day.  But, as always, the vast majority of American gun owners are law-abiding, decent folks.

    And since when in the hell was John Kennedy, who sent American troops to Vietnam and invaded Cuba, some big bleeding-heart pacifist?  Who the hell are you kidding?

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:08:27 AM PDT

    •  The middle ground in the gun debate sucks. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wenchacha, Warren Terrer

      Between national disarmament and giving little Amish schoolgirls concealed carry permits, this shrugging resignedly at the casualties of our proud American gun culture is swiftly losing its appeal.

      •  This isn't an issue of gun culture... (5+ / 0-)

        ...what exactly can be done about this?  This man had no criminal record of any kind.  There was no obvious reason for anyone to believe that he would do something like this.  The Amish school was not the specific cause of his desire to do harm, but was a target of opportunity, according to the latest police reports.

        So how do you anticipate what will make ordinarily harmless people go nuts?  How do you plan and protect people from such things?

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:30:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it's guns but rootlessness (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, Albatross, libertyisliberal

          In Switzerland, every male must keep a gun and 200 rounds in the house, militia.  It's not unusual to see young Swiss men carrying rifles down the street, riflery is the national sport.  No Columbines.  Granted, they are small, but they have more guns and more total people than Colorado.

          In Canada, where gun laws are tighter but their society is largely similar to ours, gunmen have inflicted terrible massacres both recently and within memory.

          I think our rootlessness, our lack of sense of who we are as a people, contributes to this.  It comes out in dysfunctional ways - obsession with the Confederacy, hyperpatriotism, alienation, a paranoid style in politics and sociology, right-wing religion, racist organizations, Columbine, Matt Hale and the Creativity Movement, Oklahoma City, "you're with us or you're with the terrorists."  Progressives can speak to these issues.

          Someone who has formed the intent to kill, I suspect, does not need guns.  A can of gas and a match will do.  So will poison.  So will a machete.

          I don't like guns - bad temper and bad eyesight don't make for successful gun ownership, and we have an autistic son so it is inconceivable to have a firearm in the house - but I don't think this is a gun issue.  100 million gun owners including probably 80-90,000 Lancaster County residents (excluding the arms-eschewing Amish themselves, of course) got up yesterday morning and did not commit this massacre.

          Make Crablaw Maryland Weekly your source for Maryland news and commentary. (-1.88/-5.69)

          by tbrucegodfrey on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:50:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I probably shouldn't debate guns (0+ / 0-)

          so I think I'll respectfully bow out here.  Sorry for the false start.

    •  Kennedy's pacifism (0+ / 0-)

      I would aruge that John F. Kennedy was one of our most liberal presidents. "Liberal" is synonymous with "bleeding-heart," yes? And I can assure you, Pres. Kennedy certainly did not intend for the conflict in Vietnam to escalate into the mess it later became under Johnson and Nixon.

    •  Gun-owning psychos (0+ / 0-)

      I apologize for using the term "gun-owning psychopaths." It is a gross generalization and a false stereotype. But what can I say? I was a bit angry when I wrote the diary.

  •  It is horrifying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Albatross, libertyisliberal

    that in a one-room schoolhouse these young girls were brutally murdered and their surviving classmates terrorized.  What is wrong with our country???  How do we continue to Stay the Course in this ever-deteriorating environment of hate and violence???  I am so tired of the endless, mindless, senseless KILLING and the way people simply ignore it all as if it will just go away.  I honestly don't think most people even have a normal human reaction upon hearing these things any longer.  If all the killing in the world keeps you up at night, you are pretty much considered mentally ill.  Caring is considered an illness now.  Or maybe all the medications our citizens take are working.  Every one is numb.  

    Those things that hurt, instruct-Benjamin Franklin

    by godislove on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:15:03 AM PDT

  •  Right... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, marykk

    Did you miss the meaning behind the post?  Instead of picking out that one statement about the bleeding heart pacifists, acknowledge the massacre of these innocent children?  I do know that most people who carry guns are not violent, however, this is getting out of hand with people walking into schools and murdering children then behaving like cowards and ending their own lives!

    Slhodgin,I'm glad you posted this because I was getting pissed that DailyKos had not posted an article or diary (unless I missed it).  This should be an important political issue as well: How are we going to protect our children?

    "If anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time." - Murphy's Law

    by MyOwnWoman on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:15:40 AM PDT

  •  Friendly Persuasion (0+ / 0-)

    I see this as a wake up call for the Amish.  Having a lack of a phone on the premises (or nearby) delayed police for 45 minutes after Roberts entered the school.  We teach our children that when in danger Run, Scream, Get Away.  Never let yourself be tied up.

    This situation is absolutely heart breaking, but the Amish holy trust in their fellow human beings has been tested and failed.  How will these murders affect their thinking?  

    Although as a Quaker, Gary Cooper, in the movie Friendly Persuasion, said "I would not shoot you neighbor, but you are standing in front of my gun."

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:16:07 AM PDT

    •  I doubt that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, Albatross

      I doubt that this will change the minds of the Amish.  In fact, it probably re-inforce their belief that the English world has strayed from the teachings of the Lord and cause them to become even more closed off.

      •  Close Off? (0+ / 0-)

        It is physically impossible to "close off" from a 30 year old man bearing a 20 year old grudge against little girls, armed with three weapons.

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 07:26:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, it's not (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee, Albatross, libertyisliberal

          It's not possible to completely close yourself off from the world.  However, when a group of people believe that the outside world has been overtaken by evil, then the evil acts of an outsider on the group only re-inforces that belief.  To change their ways and beliefs would cause them to adopt the ways of the Devil themselves.  

          How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to survive?  Would you sacrific your soul, your core beliefs?  Would you rather risk these kinds of incidents or would you prefer to spend an eternity in Hell?  To people like this, they would rather live with the risk of this then spend an eternity in Hell.

    •  On the other hand... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, Joy Busey, Albatross

      I think Gandhi said something like it isn't what you're willing to kill for but what you're willing to die for.

    •  A lot of Amish -- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, Albatross

      are okay with phones, within limits.  For example, I've been told a lot of them will have pay phones in the backyard, so that they can call someone in case of an emergency but not use it for anything else.  I also remember reading (don't know where) that the Amish are actually okay with cell phones, when used for emergencies -- it's common to see a horse-and-buggy break down, and have several bearded Amish guys pull out cell phones to call for help.

      Amish people aren't entirely against technology, remember -- they're only opposed to technology which they see as breaking up communities.  So I could see them installing pay phones in schools for safety, or maybe even buying a cell phone or two for a few of their older kids, with the idea that they'll only use them to call for help in case of emergencies.

  •  Another disturbing aspect (5+ / 0-)

    of this crime was that the gunman singled out girls. Sorry, of course it wouldn't have been any "better" if he'd targeted young boys, but the last kook to shoot up a school recently, in Colorado, targeted young girls, too. What's up with that?

    It would be educational, from the standpoint of gender relations, to see a statistical breakdown of random shootings that target one gender.

    Thanks for the diary.

    •  I think this was definitely a copycat. (3+ / 0-)

      According to the news this morning he harbored some kind of grudge against girls for 20 years. Which means it started when he was 12! His coworkers said that about a week ago (which coincides with the Colorado shooting) he started to act withdrawn, and then later in the week he acted as if a load had been lifted from his shoulders (speculation is that he formed his plan at that time). Clearly this is someone who is very, very sick.

    •  What I don't get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is why people are putting up with that sort of BS.  If a gunman tells all the girls to stay put while the boys can go, I'd be really suspicious.

      Maybe it's just because I'm female, and I still believe in a bit of male chivalry, but if I were male and someone tried to pull that sort of stunt, I wouldn't put up with it.  Because at that point, it doesn't seem likely that the guy is simply going to take hostages and negotiate -- at best, someone's going to get molested, and at worst, a bunch of people are going to get killed.

      •  I don't think this is realistic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First of all, none of the males present at the PA shooting were over the age of 13. You expect chivalry from a 13 year old? Even if they were older, you really think that males should put their lives on the line to save helpless females? I find this attitude disturbing.

        •  Compliant? (0+ / 0-)

          I won't put words in Lemmings mouth, but think we are having trouble with all the children and their teachers being so totally compliant to their intruder.  A room full of 6-13 year old kids can make an unbelievable ruckus which might have distracted Roberts before he boarded up the doors and let the boys go.  A room full of kids might also have been able to gang jump him, or I guess I am pleading with these children to have tried to do something, instead of just comply with an elder.

          "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

          by JFinNe on Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 08:15:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have to remember as well (0+ / 0-)

            That these children had never had any exposure to anything like this before.  They may never even have heard about Columbine.

            He probably told them that if they did what he said, no one would get hurt.

          •  It would be great if (0+ / 0-)

            the kids had done something to fight back and avoid such a horrible fate. But that wasn't lemmings' position. She was upset that males don't do anything. Females, in her world, are allowed to be helpless. Males are not, especially when females are at risk. That's what I find disturbing about her attitude.

            •  No, my attitude is ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... that we've seen this before.  There has been case after case -- now and in the past -- where gunmen have segregated out the women and shot them.

              First of all, when you segregate out the women, that's usually 50% of the room gone -- they're going to be a lot less able to resist than before.  Second of all, on the whole, men are stronger than women -- and even now, there's a much greater emphasis on male atheletes, etc.  So for guys -- who would, on the whole, have a far better chance of overpowering a gunman (and I've yet to see a case where it's female) -- to walk out of a room and leave a group of young women alone, yes, I do see something completely wrong with that.

              •  13 year old boys (0+ / 0-)

                are NOT going to be stronger than a 32 year old man in 99% of cases. I don't see how your philosophy has any bearing on this particular case. Some of the boys involved were as young as six.

                And your argument that they simply 'walked out of the room' is ridiculous. If they had refused to leave they probably would have been shot too. You conveniently left that part out.

  •  School shootings (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Albatross, libertyisliberal

    During a brief conversation about school shootings & gun control, prompted by the Colorado incident last week, I said people think that gun crime is a "big city" problem.  This was countered by the fact that these shootings--Columbine, Minnesota, etc--happen in rural communities.  I didn't dispute it, but maintained that the perception is that people are "safer" in rural communities.

    This took place in a Democratic campaign office.  No one disagreed that the 2nd amendment gives an individual the right to bear arms.  The Democratic party does have to find a way to make inroads with NRA supporters.  I personally never want to own a gun, but I don't want to take that right away from everyone--some, maybe--not all.

  •  All rights, no responsibilities (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You hear plenty from the 2nd amendment people about rights.

    You never hear about responsibilities.

    That kid who killed his principle in WI?  He got his gun from his parents' bedroom.  Why aren't THEY on trial?  

    That guy in CO who killed the girl in school?  Where did he get his gun?

    I want laws making firearms owners responsible for criminal misuse.

    This is the difference between rural and urban guns.  Rural guns are used for fun, mostly.  Urban guns are used for crime, mostly.  That's why its a difficult issue.  And the 2nd amendment wacks who want to restrict cities from keeping citizens safe from gun-toting nutbars and other NRA members do not make me happy.

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