October 14, 2006

Ground Zero/the Amish schoolhouse.

Here's a sane observation in a letter to the NYT editor by Susan J. Behrens of Brooklyn:
A week after the violence, the Amish have cleared the site of the building and planted various grasses and clover to return the site to pastureland.

What a contrast to another site of violence, ground zero, where the bickering and gawking continue five years later.

Perhaps it’s as simple as the vast difference in the value of the two sites financially, but the Amish seem to have the right values about moving on.

IN THE COMMENTS: Is snark called for? If so, Jeff has it:
I'm sure we'll see another letter to the Times, postmarked Park Slope or the Upper West Side, stating that no healing can begin until the Amish understand the root causes of the murderers grudge against young schoolgirls!

Perhaps the field will need the addition of a Ford or Soros funded International Center for Learning showcasing the achievements of child murderers that have been shamefully hidden by the theocratic Amish culture.

30 comments:

vnjagvet said...

I am reminded of a scriptural passage that, in which, I am sure the Amish take great comfort:

"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
-- Job 1: 20-21 (KJV)

There will be another school built on another Amish place. It will be as simple as the one it replaces. The children will be tought as they have been tought for generation after generation.

My great grandfather tought at one of those schools in Lancaster County in the late 1900's. I have a picture of him with his students, clad in their farm clothes, in front of that school. Here we are over one hundred years later, and that educational tradition still lives on.

I sometimes wonder if children educated this way are not as well educated in eight years as those educated in "modern" public schools in twelve.

Maxine Weiss said...

No they don't. They don't do a very good job in acknowleging, or standing up to, evil.

You don't forgive it, and you don't act like it doesn't exist.

Anabaptists, and ridiculous Mennonites....are not folks Christians should take their cues from.

Although, I do admire their refusing to be dependent on the digital revolution and gadgets.

Spiritually, though, they are whacked.

Peace, Maxine

Ron said...

Just because you tear down a building, doesn't mean you move on, and doesn't mean you aren't haunted by what happened there. What it takes...that comes from within ourselves, and it's more than what we do with the physical representation of our grieving.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Would the Amish consider five years a long time? I don't know.

vnjagvet said...

Logically, Ron, you have a point.

But you can see the symbolic value in the ritual of razing a building and making a pasture where bad stuff happened, can't you?

Even if it doesn't help everyone, it may help some among the victims' friends and relatives.

Jeff said...

I'm sure we'll see another letter to the Times, postmarked Park Slope or the Upper West Side, stating that no healing can begin until the Amish understand the root causes of the murderers grudge against young schoolgirls!

Perhaps the field will need the addition of a Ford or Soros funded International Center for Learning showcasing the achievements of child murderers that have been shamefully hidden by the theocratic Amish culture.

They should include Chomsky quotes in the memorial.

downtownlad said...

I'm sorry - but what a crock of shit statement that is.

They've actually been working on the Ground Zero site since day 1.

1) Cleaning up the destruction
2) Repairing the subway and Path stations and building a temporary Path station that has been up and running for several years.
3) Repairing the "bath tab" that is holding back the Hudson River.
4) Blasting for the foundation of the Freedom Tower that is currently underway.

Are people even aware that the steel for the Freedom Tower has now been produced? It had to be built out of Luxembourg and has now arrived in the United States. It will take at least a year to build the foundation.

People have absolutely no clue what's involved with building a skyscraper of the size of Freedom Tower. And the idea that we should just rush and build a tower based on the first crappy design is bogus too.

Much better to take their time and get the design right, for a building that we hope we last for 500 years.

And there wer complicated legal issues with Ground Zero. Such as the fact that the government did not have legal right to rebuild the property. Insurance disputes that had to be resolved. Unless people think we should just trample on property rights to rebuild.

Oh - and by the way - 7 World Trade has been rebuilt and has people working in it already.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Oh - and by the way - 7 World Trade has been rebuilt and has people working in it already.

You mean, people doing regular office-type work? Or people sneaking around secretly planting the thermate charges for next time? (g,d,&r).

Cedarford said...

I remember a conversation at Belmont Club where the subject was excessive Memorialization and celebration of Victimhood - and how past generations did not wallow in it.

An interesting spin is that some believe a religious people do not get overwrapped in tragedy - "God's will", "Bad things sometimes happen" "for everything there is a season, so mourn and move on.." Those religious cultures even had norms against excessive mourning - as not good for other people, and too vain self-indulgent. People that went on too long were told to knock it off and move on...People did not relish others putting up ostentatious memorials.

In a secular culture, we seem to be going more and more to Mournathons and excessively over the top memorials...Perhaps to compensate for that very loss of spirituality and acceptance of death and tragedy as not being extraordinary part of the world we live in.

What is healthier?

The Amish tearing down a place of death, converting it to other uses to avoid a ghoulish tourist attraction and painful sight, and leaving grief to be private to the families?

Or America's WTC response?

A Memorial that kept on adding gold-pating until stunned auditors found it cost over a billion dollars as planned? Making each "Victims Family" special experts on all matters related to terror and grief and building desing in Panderfests where all bowed to their moral authority? Declaring them so special that only multimillions given to them would somehow compensate for their tragedy being so much greater than the family of a car accident victim or kid lost to cancer? Where millions of tons of rubble were sifted by hand at a cost of 100s of millions for "pieces of Closure"? Where The Pit was billed as a great tourist site as being "One of the World's greatest Tragedies, Ever"? (Go to Europe and see some of the war memorials to cities that lost between 50 and 1000 times the 9/11 dead and you will see a single nice monument)


I think the Amish response is far healthier than the Cult of Special Victimhood our secular society confers on certain highly public tragedies. And for it's demand that Government serve in lieu of Priests as The Designated Consolers...who hand out money, goodies, and pandering for "deserving victim relatives." Politicans and bureaucrats as Healers through largess...Or the new phenomenon of people pushing their grief and entitlement on others...Even heroism - as we more and more characterize victims as heroes..

Value Jet. A Rhode Island music club where 100 people died in a fire is demanded to become an eternal shrine in it's shopping center. Oklahoma City. Katrina. 9/11. All the roadkill shrines that have sprung in the last 15 years - crosses, fake flowers, other junk in piles - pronouncing - "This was where our private tragedy happened, Acknowledge us! Notice us and our grief!"

Gee, sorry, but 2 million people a year die in the USA, many tragically.

Maybe it is true for most of us that we have to deal with our grief privately and still interact with and function meaningfully in society while we still feel hollowed out and punched in the gut - and we don't appreciate the excessive intrusion of others grief into our lives or collective affairs. It's for us to pick ourselves up and mobe on. We know that the Pentagon couldn't indulge in the luxury of convering the Pentagon into a Mausoleum for the 63 "heroes" whose heroism consisted of nothing but unexpectedly getting whacked in a war they missed was underway. So it's damage was repaired in under a year and it was back in business.

But in NYC, the Cult of Victimhood leaves us The Pit...5 years on.

We re-learn from the Amish because they show us how society successfully dealt with grief and loss before the recent revolution in societal thinking.

PS - Anyone want to buy a 19.95 WTC memorial coin or a "Flight of the Heroes" pendant for 24.95? Portions of the proceeds go for the upkeep of the Pit or the 2,000 acres of the Flight 93 National Monument..

mcg said...

You don't forgive it, and you don't act like it doesn't exist.

And your evidence that they are doing either is...? Or are you just misinterpreting their compassion for his family, who had no part in his evil, as such?

Cedarford said...

downtownlad - People have absolutely no clue what's involved with building a skyscraper of the size of Freedom Tower.

Sure we do. In the middle of the Great Depression, the Empire State Building was designed, constructed, and opened for occupancy in a year.

Since then, improvements in construction techniques, logistics, and project management skills means a good Chinese, Japanese, or American construction firm can put up an impressive skyscraper in Shanghai, Dubai, Madrid in under 6 months.

After WWII, rubble was cleared and cities largely rebuilt by 1950.

5 years running with The Pit is an embarassment and a globally damaging reflection on America - gripped by pandering and litigation - losing the ability to confidently deal with recovering from a disaster, and with our country losing it's ability to accomplish rapid rebounds.

Derve said...

Carl Sandburg, 1918, Grass:

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work -
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

downtownlad said...

But in NYC, the Cult of Victimhood leaves us The Pit...5 years on.

Actually, the cult of victimhood is spearheaded by people like Cedarford and other conservative bloggers.

Let's not forget the Freedom Center - which was sabotaged by a bunch of hick, right-wing, non New Yorkers. And then they have the audacity to complain that nothing is built there - as they sabaotage one project after another. Frank Gehry's cultural center will be the next project to sabotaged by people like Cedarford.

And the original World Trade Center started in 1966 and wasn't completed until 1972. That's six years. And you didn't have to deal with inconviences like finding random body parts and figuring out how to dispose of them properly.

downtownlad said...

And let's not forget that the market (funny how conservatives don't like the "market" when it gets in their way) is implying that people do not want to work in 100 story office towers on Ground Zero. Yet - here are we are - going ahead and building four towers over 1000 square feet - even though everyone I know has said that they would not work in them.

So we have the government promising to pay inflated rates to move city workers in there.

Sven said...

Maxine,
The fact that you are confusing Mennonites with Amish speaks somewhat to your expertise in declaring their religious beliefs "whacked". You imply that their forgiveness isn't something Christians should take their cue from, but that their retreat from the world at large is. It seems to me that you have it distinctly backwards.

Maxine Weiss said...

Rejecting the Digital Revolution--and the resulting lack of creativity/originality, lack of charm...

... and denouncing Wireless Gadgets (radiation) is not retreat; it's healthy.

derve: That's one of my favorite poems by Carl Sandburg, but I always get that one mixed up with 'Fog'...."I am the fog; I cover all"

BOTTOM LINE: The Amish are severely misguided spiritually. Healthwise, physically---they are better off not having the stress of overreliance/overdependence on gadgets.

Peace, Maxine

reader_iam said...

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Amish life is agragrian-based. Their daily lives are arranged such that, by design, their routines must go on (one example would be any animals that require care daily, and not just once; another would be seasonal/season-based activities that can't wait).

I think this also helps explain the response. In a number of respects, it's similar to the way in which traditional farming communities (suc as the one in which my mother was raised, and her parents before her) reacted to things.

It's also something that specifically has come up in recent conversations I've had with friends who live/work in Lancaster or have close, regular ties there.

Sven said...

Why is it necessary to just dismiss a whole belief system? And for that matter, why the assumption that "gadgets" etc. increase one's stress level and are less healthy for you. The fact that no one had ready access to a phone meant that the police weren't called until 30 minutes after Carl Roberts had arrived, giving him time to barricade himself in the school. I'm not suggesting that the outcome would have been any different, but it couldn't have hurt to have a police presence on the scene earlier. It seems that their rejection of technology hurt them in this case (radiation or otherwise).
On the other hand, in the aftermath of what has happened. How does a religious belief in forgiveness harm them or make them severely misguided. Would holding on to the hatred of a dead man make life easier or somehow be "confronting evil"? Should the Amish community stop turning the other cheek and go kill his family in revenge? What about them makes them severely misguided?

Wade_Garrett said...

Jeff,

You know what, you're right, this tragedy in Amish country DID give you a GREAT opportunity to take a pot-shot at all of those pointy-headed New York liberals. You REALLY let'us have it. And with good reason! Park Slope and Upper West Side liberals ARE the root cause of extremist violence! It all makes sense to me.

Terry

Revenant said...

Holy cats. Downtownlad is the voice of reason? My world is all askew.

mcg said...

Well, again, Maxine, you claim they're misguided spiritually, but I don't see the evidence. You suggest that they are "forgiving evil" and "acting like it doesn't exist", and I think it would be good for you to state just how they are doing so. I don't see that at all.

Brent said...

We often hear, "what's happening to the world today with all the shootings?".

Anyone remember this one?

On July 18, 1984, an unemployed security guard, James Oliver Huberty, walked into a McDonald's in San Ysidro, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, and began shooting. Armed with three guns, he killed 21 people, including five children and six teenagers, and wounded 19 before he was shot and killed by a police sniper.

At the time, his 77-minute rampage was the largest single-day, single-gunman massacre in U.S. history.

"It was new then, as flying an airplane into the World Trade Center was new in 2001," said Chuck Foster, the police sniper who ultimately ended the rampage. "All of the responders -- the police officers, the firefighters, the paramedics -- weren't foreseeing the scope of this killing spree."

In the years since Huberty's rampage, his gruesome death total has been surpassed, but people who study homicide say there is something lasting and shocking about the McDonald's massacre.

"I think a lot of it had to do not with the victim count but with the location, that it was a McDonald's. Everyone has a McDonald's in their town; they connected with it," said James Alan Fox, a professor at criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston who studies mass murders.

In the weeks after the tragedy, thousands of sightseers drove by the restaurant to gawk before McDonald's razed the building. Survivors and relatives of the victims received letters from around the country. After a lengthy debate about what to do with the site, a community college was built, along with a memorial of white marble blocks to honor the victims. Two blocks away is a new McDonald's, which opened in 1985.

Palladian said...

Anything that stops another horrid Frank Gehry pile from forming in my otherwise Gehry unafflicted city is ok by me. But otherwise there are agreeable points in both downtownlad's and Cedarford's comments. One point of disagreement: The cult of mourning is not a recent invention, Cedarford. The kind of mourning you object to has its roots in 18th and especially 19th century England. If you think public grief sessions are out of control now, read up on Victorian England. They used to photograph dead babies and print the pictures on cabinet cards and weave things out of dead people's hair. Victoria wore black for the rest of her life after the Prince Consort died in 1861.


Maxine is expressing the timeless view that living like unevolved agrarian quasi-primates is somehow virtuous. It's the "noble savage" idea in 19th century clothing. Did you know that the Amish family that lived next to one of my high-school friend's houses had a telephone in the barn? And the kids used to come over and play Super Nintendo games with us?

Dave said...

DTL's arguments are valid; the comparison between the actions of the Amish and the action (or inaction) at Ground Zero are ludicrous, considering, among other things, the Amish apparently owned the property on which their children were murdered. No one person owns the property under ground zero; it is owned by a motley crew of government agencies, and, therefore, subject to the whims of politicians.

None of this, of course, excuses the ineptitude of the management of the Ground Zero sight (DTL's comments notwithstanding). However, to infer, as the letter writer does, that lessons can be learned from the efficiency with which the Amish dispatched the scene of their bloodshed is to ignore the very different situations surrounding the two events.

Drawing lessons from one situation which can be applied to a second situation require that the two situations be similar. They are not; it is ludicrous to suggest that they are.

Maxine Weiss said...

Well, there's a middle ground. I admire they're not being tethered to these gadget/devices.

I don't admire their insistence on looking Evil squarely in the eye, and going up head-to-head with it.

Forgiveness is an idea that takes time. It doesn't happen in a day.

And, if it does, they allow the evil to come right back in again....copycat shootings etc...

Cultivating the evil, and welcoming it......I don't believe that the "wife" is as innocent as she is being made out to be.

These people, these Anabaptist, Mennonite simpletons are in denial.

But I do like the whole idea of lessening dependence on technology, which causes physical illness, and a lack of creativity.

Peace, Maxine

dave said...

I'm sure we'll see another letter to the Times, postmarked Park Slope or the Upper West Side, stating that no healing can begin until the Amish understand the root causes of the murderers grudge against young schoolgirls!

The Amish forgave the murderer. They even attended his funeral.

Fuck you, prick. You're not fit to wipe their asses.

Palladian said...

"Fuck you, prick. You're not fit to wipe their asses."

I'm sure the Amish would appreciate your plain-spoken charm, pinkshirt.

I'm surprised you're not denouncing them as theocrats. Isn't that the far left's approved response to the (Christian) religious?

downtownlad said...

Anything that stops another horrid Frank Gehry pile from forming in my otherwise Gehry unafflicted city is ok by me.

What city are you talking about? New York already has a Gehry building, whose shell is already completed on the West Side Highway and 23rd street. And it's getting rave reviews. Not to mention the skyscraper that is due to go up at Beekman street and of course Ratnerville in Brooklyn. And the culturual center if we're lucky. That would be four huge Gehry projects for New York.

no1special said...

The Amish seem to have it right in my book. Life goes on. We're not all that. (god, did i just type that?) The reason it doesn't wash with the rest of us is because 'our shrines' 'our cemetaries,' 'are memorials' make us feel better...no guilt- we tried. We say we'll remember, and in turn, we want to be remembered,,but unfortunately reality says otherwise....and that reality is a little too much. and 'Peace Maxine' seems to me to be a oxymoron.

nedludd said...

One big difference between Nickle Mines and New York. The schoolhouse is/was under control of a small homogeneous community. There are no special interests that need to be met, no varied factions warring amongst each other.

One of the big reasons they tore down the building is to keep away tourists. What happened there will not be forgotten, this is a community that still reads “The Martyr’s Mirror” which covers Anabaptist martyrdom in the seventeenth century.

They don't do a very good job in acknowleging, or standing up to, evil.

You don't forgive it, and you don't act like it doesn't exist.


The evil has been acknowledged, and the dead rule out any ability to act as if it didn’t exist. Why not forgive? The shooter is unable to perpetrate any further evil. By forgiving the families are able to more fully move on with their lives and perhaps even gain a positive from it through tighter community ties. If Roberts were still at large you may have a very small point. As it stands what would you like them to do? Dance a merry jig on his grave? Burn out his family? (BTW, the local paper today has a letter from the Roberts family thanking those in the area, particularly the Amish, for the help and prayers they have received).

The fact that no one had ready access to a phone meant that the police weren't called until 30 minutes after Carl Roberts had arrived, giving him time to barricade himself in the school.

Sorry man, you just hit upon one of my newest pet peeves. What difference would it have made if there had been a phone in the building? Have you ever been in one of these schoolhouses? I have. They are a large (usually about 20x30) single room. What would the teacher have done? “Excuse me Mr. Psychopath, but may I stand over here and make a phone call to the police?” Even if there had been a phone in the building it would not have been able to be used without the full knowledge of the killer. The house where the call was made is only about 75-100 yards down the road. It is not like they had to go crosstown to get to it.

Forgiveness is an idea that takes time. It doesn't happen in a day.

For you, not for others who have been raised, and firmly believe, that forgiveness is not only the right course of action but the only course. The Amish know when someone has wronged them, but still feel the proper course of action is to forgive and move on. Not what I would want for the SecDef, but in everyday life I think I would be happier if I was able to more fully adopt this view.

And, if it does, they allow the evil to come right back in again....copycat shootings etc…

Yes, we here in Lancaster County are all in fear of another shootout at Amish Corral.

These people, these Anabaptist, Mennonite simpletons are in denial.

Tell that to all those worldwide who have been helped Mennonite Central Committee Disaster Relief Services.

I don't believe that the "wife" is as innocent as she is being made out to be.

Why the scare quotes around wife? They were married for many years in a marriage ordained by both church and state, meeting every legal and social definition of a married couple. You think she was in on it or what? You are at odds with the Amish who knew him, the community at large, and the police. Maybe you can see if Ann can get you a position at UW, they seem to go in for this type of conspiracy theorist.

The Amish are severely misguided spiritually. Healthwise, physically---they are better off not having the stress of overreliance/overdependence on gadgets.

Is this based upon anything other than your own narrowmindedness?

To hit just one point, where exactly are the Amish misguided? Because they don’t wear burkhas? The Pope has not ordained there preachers?

Can you cite anything to back you up on their improved health? Hell, they have all sorts of health problems due to inbreeding. Try looking up “Maple Syrup Urine Disease” and see how common it is amongst the Amish versus the larger population.

Do you get your information on the Amish from a comic book or a coloring book