The blood was barely dry on the floor of the West Nickel Mines School when Amish parents sent words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children. Forgiveness? Forgiveness so quickly for the heinous crime of killing five Amish schoolgirls? How could the Amish forgive such a thing so quickly? Was it a genuine gesture or just a gimmick?
Their forgiveness was more than words. Fresh from the funerals where they buried their own children, grieving Amish families attended the October 7 burial of the 32-year-old non-Amish killer, Charles Carl Roberts IV. Of the 75 in attendance, at least half were Amish. The Amish families greeted Mrs. Roberts and her three children. She was deeply moved by their presence, according to eyewitness accounts. Plans were set to continue the conversation between the families of killer and killed. And forgiveness was more than a graveside presence: the Amish helped to establish a fund for the assassin’s family.