"As the Crow Flies" painted by Richard Hartel ca. 1974
Here, in Lancaster County, PA, there is a whole industry devoted to telling the tourists who come here, just how blissful and bucolic life is among the Amish.
We live in a former cornfield, where once stood an Amish house and barn, where now hundreds of people are living in houses that all look the same. Not an Amish man or woman to be found in our midst.
If you want to gawk at the Amish, you have to go up the road a piece. There is a large Amish farm, and every summer I go there and buy the sweetest corn and melons...and tomatoes and celery and everything else you can buy.
If you are plug lazy, you can just sit out on my back porch and watch the Amish buggies and horses come gently clipclopping by at any given hour of the day or night.
So what, in the milkman's past set him off against Amish girls? What happened in his life to suggest that sending at least 6 - so far, at least 13 were shot - little unarmed girls to their Lord before sending himself to hell was the right thing to do?
First, he sent all the boys, aged 6 to 13 out of the room....and indeed, it was only a room. The teacher went to get help, because there are no phones in Amish homes or schools.
Then the milkman tied the girls up against the blackboard and he executed them by shooting them in the head.
I can't even fathom this man's quest for revenge. I can't even think now. I have to weep.
Update: 10 girls were shot altogether. The killer's name was Charles Carl Roberts IV, and pardon me for not saying here what his reasons were: they were vile... his motive for killing the girls is here.
Two more girls died this morning, bringing the total number of murdered children up to five, while 5 are still in critical condition in various hospitals.
Here are the names and ages of of the girls:
Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7;
Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12;
Marian Fisher, 13;
Mary Liz Miller, 8;
and her sister Lina Miller, 7.
Here is the most chilling line, at least for me:
While Roberts' wife went to a morning prayer group, Roberts drove to the tiny Amish school to carry out his plan, Miller said.
What kind of fraudulent life must a man be living at home, to convince even his own wife that he is what he isn't? It staggers the imagination.