All week, I’ve been following the news coverage of the Amish school shooting and the aftermath. I am shocked and saddened by the details that are being released about the gunman and the plans that he had for those beautiful little girls. I’m saddened at the death of the five little girls and the possibility that some of the girls that were wounded might not survive. I’m not surprised that the Amish are expressing forgiveness for the gunman and are asking for prayers for the gunman’s family. The Amish are even going to provide some financial assistance for the gunman’s family by sharing some of the donations that have been sent to help cover the costs of the wounded girls’ medical care.
The most unusual feeling that I’ve had this week is awe. Awe at the faith of the Amish people. Awe that the mothers were the ones to prepare their little girls for burial. Awe that the male family members were the ones to dig the graves.
I’m also in awe of the fact that while the news media is covering this story from every angle possible, they seem to be respecting the customs and wishes of the Amish. They did show film of the funeral processions, but they weren’t a part of it. Most of the interviews with the family members are done off camera and the reporter just relays the message that the family member wants the world to know. If the interview is done on camera, the camera person seems to take extra effort to not show the family member’s face.
This is the way coverage of any tragedy should be handled. Respect the privacy of the people involved. Respect the customs and traditions of the people involved. Keep the cameras and microphones at a distance. Give them the space they need to grieve in private.
Too bad that it took such a horrible event to teach the media how to treat people with kindness and respect. Too bad that it’s probably a lesson that they will quickly forget.