The Amish: American Experience
Sunday, Feb 1, 12 p.m. on Vermont PBS
On October 2, 2006, a 32-year-old milk truck driver named Charles Roberts entered a one-room schoolhouse in the Amish community of Nickel Mines in Lancaster County, PA, and shot 10 young girls, killing five, before committing suicide as police officers stormed the school. Just hours after the shooting, Amish community members visited the gunman's family to offer forgiveness. These events horrified the nation for the senseless brutality of the shootings and left many questioning and haunted by the victims' startling response. The film answers many questions about this insistently insular religious community. With unprecedented access to the Amish built on patience and hard-won trust, the film is the first to penetrate and explore this attention-averse group. It paints an extraordinarily intimate portrait of contemporary Amish faith and life. It questions why and how the Amish, an insistently closed and communal culture, have thrived within one of the most open, individualistic societies on earth; explores how, despite their ingrained submissiveness, the Amish have successfully asserted themselves in resisting the encroachments of modern society and government; asks what American's attraction to the Amish says about deep American values; and looks at what the future holds for a community whose existence is so rooted in the past.
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