THE AMISH PROJECT: The facts in the play.

Factual details of the 2006 Nickel Mines School Shooting contained in The Amish Project:

  • The shooting occurred on October 2, 2006.
  • There were 10 girls shot, five lethally.
  • The boys and the teacher were ordered out of the classroom by the shooter.
  • The age (early 30s) and occupation (milk delivery) of the gunman.
  • The description of the shooter and of the schoolhouse are accurate.
  • The news reporting by CNN – the descriptions of the footage and reporting are accurate.
  • The order of events in the hostage-taking dramatized are accurate according to the surviving victims of the shooting.
  • That the Amish extended forgiveness to the gunman and condolences of the family on the very day of the shooting.
  • That members of the victims families visited the shooter’s wife and children to extend condolences. (They also visited other members of his family and some attended his funeral).
  • That some locals look askance at the Amish farming practices versus modern farming regulations and practices.
  • That some locals are somewhat distrustful of the Amish for their unfamiliar way of life.
  • That Lancaster County, PA is a diverse region with many minority communities in residence, not just the Amish.
  • That the Amish make extending forgiveness a daily practice and that extending forgiveness is part of their regular religious habits.
  • That the Amish don’t talk publicly to reporters themselves, but will have a spokesperson do so for them.
  • That various Amish communities differ in the amount of modern conveniences they use.
Also of note:
The story told by the character Bill regarding his auto accident involving an Amish child and being immediately extended forgiveness is a fairly common story told by people living near Amish communities. There were several such accidents reported by news agencies in the years prior to the Nickel Mines shooting.
The survivors:
Four of the five survivors were treated for their severe gunshot wounds and made full recoveries in the months following the shooting. One is severely disabled and is cared for by her family. The schoolboys involved have also been treated for PTSD and survivor’s guilt regarding the shooting. Very soon after the shooting, the Amish of Nickel Mines tore down the schoolhouse. All that remains to mark the area are three trees.
Five years later, many of the families continued in their process of practicing forgiveness and in coming to terms with the tragic events. The shooter’s widow accepted the condolences of the Amish and remarried a few years after the shooting.
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