Out of the shadows

Here at the Burgh Blog, I sit here on the lighter side and way way way over there sits the dark side.

That’s where murders happen. That’s where little children are victimized. That’s where politicians beat the ever-loving shit out of each other over issues as small as street paving. That’s where war is. That’s where death is.

I sit over here in the sun and I don’t ever scootch over to the shadows. I just mention them from time-to-time and then sweep the horrors under the happy rug in my mind, tack it down with some double-sided tape, and never, ever let them peek out again.

I like the lighter side. I tan well here.

But while I am going about my life of ease, work, pumpkin spice and love, unspeakable suffering occurs in stories that don’t deserve to be swept under the happy rug of my mind. They deserve shouting and screaming and reminding.

It’s how I feel about this:

The evening of the shootings, Amish elders went to Mr. Roberts’ home, where his wife lived with three young daughters, and to the home of his parents to embrace his family and say they held no grudges.

Later on, dozens of Amish, including some whose children he had murdered, attended Mr. Roberts’ burial and offered condolences to his widow, Amy.

Horrified strangers worldwide sent $4.3 million to the Nickel Mines Amish settlement in Bart, Lancaster County. But the Amish, who have no insurance, used the gifts for more than medical bills. They gave shares to local emergency services that came to their aid and, in a move that caught the world’s imagination, to the widow and children of the man who murdered their daughters.

I can’t even comprehend that. But when astonishing good comes out of the unspeakably bad, that is a story that deserves to be brought out of the shadows, regardless of how painful the reminder is.

Consider yourself reminded.


  1. Gunn Lino
    October 4, 2007 9:30 am

    Thank you. Sometimes we lose sight of the things that really matter, it’s good to be reminded.

  2. bucdaddy
    October 4, 2007 10:09 am

    I love that you used “scootch.” Do people “scootch” anywhere else, or is that strictly a Burgh thing?

  3. Denise
    October 4, 2007 10:20 am

    Thank you PG. Wow, what amazing people!

  4. chrys
    October 4, 2007 10:48 am

    Thank you for the reminder. I needed a “good” cry today.

  5. Pensgirl
    October 4, 2007 10:59 am

    Once again the Amish show that they really get how people are supposed to conduct themselves. Pure hearts, those people. Assuming there’s a heaven, they have a straight shot.

  6. The Bag of Health and Politics
    October 4, 2007 11:13 am

    Nice to see a group of people that take Jesus’ teachings literally. The death penalty is all about revenge. It’s good to see that there are some people who are still capable of forgiveness. I should think about this the next time I get slowed down by a buggy.

  7. rollo
    October 4, 2007 11:35 am

    powerful stuff. The best thing about stories like this is that it makes you look inward and ask yourself some tough questions. And those questions need asked every once in awhile.

  8. tw
    October 4, 2007 1:10 pm

    I live very close to Nickel Mines and sadly there is still a lot of pain for those wonderful people. They’ve talked about it around here how the boys are having a difficult time emotionally b/c they feel bad about surviving while the girls perished. They are definitely dealing with the situation in an amazing way, but some things still take time and counseling (which the boys are receiving). And just so you know, those people were overwhelmed (in a good way) that so many people around the country cared…continue keeping them in your prayers.

  9. Susanne
    October 4, 2007 4:29 pm

    I recently told a story to my daughter of having a “Society of Brothers” girl as my lab partner. This girl asked me why I thought I needed to wear makeup which prompted me to ask her why she thought it ok NOT to wear deodorant. I’m a bitch. Some bad press has come to light about how children are raised in these groups, but this story reminds us WHY they are a tightly nit seperate society. They are just better then us..plain and simple..they are followers in the purists way.
    The humanity here is almost too much for my mind to take in as is the horrific crime.

  10. SteelerTribute
    October 4, 2007 6:00 pm

    Wow, I officially feel awful for ever making or listening to an Amish joke. These people get what being a Christian really is all about. The rest of us should take notes.

  11. Trish
    October 4, 2007 7:01 pm

    Let’s face it–the Amish kick ass as human beings.

  12. Bluetail
    October 4, 2007 8:24 pm

    August Wilson.

    Gertrude Stein.

    Mary Roberts Rhinehart.

    John Edgar Wideman.

    Annie Dillard.


  13. steeler_tom
    October 5, 2007 12:09 am

    If you ever get a chance to do so, Sit with your Amish neighbors and break bread with them. You’ll be amazed, enlightened and awed at the simplicity and the richness of it. I am proud to have decended from that heritage. They are good, decent people. Do not forget how difficult it must be for them to be part of our society.

  14. PittGirl
    October 5, 2007 8:14 am


    Now, now. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m way better than those people. HAH! Just kidding.

    You flatter me way too much. Thanks.