On the morning of October 2, 2006, a troubled milkman named Charles Carl Roberts barricaded himself inside the West Nickel Mine Amish School, ultimately murdering five young girls and wounding six others. Roberts committed suicide when police arrived on the scene. It was a dark day for the Amish community, but it was also a dark day for Marie Roberts—the wife of the gunman—and her two young children.
But a surprising thing happened on the following Saturday. Marie experienced something truly countercultural while attending her husband’s funeral. That day, she and her children watched as Amish families—about half of the 75 mourners present—came and stood alongside them in the midst of their own blinding grief. Despite the crime her husband had perpetrated, the Amish came to mourn Charles Carl Roberts and to comfort his wife and children.
Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain who attended the service, described what moved him most about the gesture: "It’s the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed." He added that Marie Roberts was also touched. "She was absolutely, deeply moved by the love shown."
"Amish Mourn Gunman in School Rampage," USA Today (10-7-06).