Video: Amish community reeling

NBC News
By Ron Allen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/2/2006 7:23:40 PM ET 2006-10-02T23:23:40

Some 18,000 Amish live in Lancaster County. They are devout Christians, a community that values family, humility and separation from the outside world.

Dwylin Biler is a father from a nearby community who knows several of the families with children at the school.

"There's no rhyme or reason for it," Biler says. "But that's true of a lot of the evil that's going on in our world today."

They are farmers, painters, masons. Most women take care of home.

A self-reliant community, most with few modern conveniences. Their schools and churches form the bedrock of very tight-knit communities.

Tom Shachtman is an author who has written extensively about Amish youth.

"This is really terrifying to them because they like to think that they are somewhat out of the world, somewhat protected from the world, and here the outside world has flooded in in the worst possible way," Shachtman says.

Local customs made it difficult to spread word of the shootings. Many people do not have phones readily available, so non-Amish neighbors helped by driving messengers around in cars.

Their lifestyle is plain, their manners modest. And as always, they are reserved — and pulling together as a community as they endure unspeakable grief.

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