The shooting of ten Amish girls in their school house created more victims than just those who were killed or injured. There were the families who lost their daughters or whose daughters survived with various physical and mental scars. And there is the family of the man who shot them before taking his own life.
One Light Still Shines, written by the killer’s widow, tells the story of their family, those left behind to deal with the aftermath of what he did. It also tells of the unexpected reaction of the Amish victims.
The Amish response was the most moving part of this book. Families who could be expected to display a degree of bitterness instead responded with love and grace, showing concern for the wife left without a husband and the children without a father. Their response contrasts greatly from that often shown by people affected by lesser wrongs.
It was the Amish connection that drew me to this story. I mentioned previously that I became aware of it via a TV series about the Amish, and how I was impressed by the simplicity of their approach to life. While One Light Still Shines shows the often forgotten side of events like the schoolhouse shooting (the effects on the family of the perpetrator) I found it also showed the vast difference of life styles of communities living side by side, even Christian (or at least church going) communities.
The simplicity of the Amish is contrasted with a lifestyle of cruises, Disneyland visits and material gifts all of which played a part in the recovery process undergone by the author and her family. When I see the two lifestyles side by side, I have to wonder which is most in line with the life and teachings of Jesus.