Amish School Horror

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Monday was a surprise for all of us. We intended a show from D.C., but ended up in Pennsylvania.

About 3 p.m. ET, we decided to go to the scene of the school shooting in Amish country. We wanted to see for ourselves what had happened in order to better understand the events to better report and we wanted to talk to the people in the area who know the killer, etc.

And because I promised you the behind the scenes to give you a better idea of the business of news: We jumped in the car and I was the only one with clothes packed and ready to go. I keep a suitcase packed and en route to Pennsylvania, we stopped at my house and picked up my bag (it was on the way.) Needless to say, I was glad and lucky to have a suitcase packed.

My colleagues — Cory, Debi and Elizabeth — probably won't admit it, but they slept in their clothes last night in the hotel we found near the scene of the show. (That was after coaxing the hotel clerk to give us breakfast sandwiches for the microwave, since we arrived at the hotel after midnight and starving!) My colleagues did not have clothes packed and as we drove to PA, I listened to all three talk. All three agreed that in the future they would have packed clothes ready — either kept in their cars or brought into the bureau.

As soon as we get going this morning, the plan is to drop me at the train station in Philly (I need to be in NYC tonight) and they will drive my car back to D.C. (I hope in their plan is also to get some clean clothes they have not slept in. They each need to stop at their homes. They can't possibly go to work in the clothes they slept in — yes, the glamour of TV!)

We often go to murder scenes, but this was a tough one. Executing kids is really the worst. Going to the scene really drives home the cruelty of the crime. We spoke to many state troopers and each was extremely upset about what he had seen, but each could carry out his job.

When I have more time I will post the pictures I took at this remote location. The pics will give you a better idea of how the media covers these horrible stories.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

I hope you get to Phila. to give support to the Packers. I know Lancaster is close by. So sad about the kids. Why did he do it? Did you try to contact his wife? I also keep thinking of his three kids. Got to get back to game.
P.S. I can't stand the Eagles.

E-mail No. 2

My God, Greta, I can't believe that you can't see that the Congressional Republican Caucus move to have a federal investigation into the Foley matter is just an attempt to keep this out of the news and avoid commenting during the election cycle! Is money that important to you? Have you completely forgotten what you used to do? Shame?
Bradd Swank

E-mail No. 3

I am mortified at yet another school shooting. This latest attack is no less sad, the difference is the Amish themselves. We in "non-Amish" communities have a "fair chance" at beefing up our school security. I believe the Amish community will not succumb to the "English ways," but with lots of prayer maintain their community as it has been. I hope we can respect their self-exclusion. I too want to have some answers to this diabolical crime, but I fear our best intentions could be more intrusive and ultimately will not help.
Cathleen Schmeisser
Mason City, IA

E-mail No. 4

Something must be done about this trend of school massacres. I think that private citizens should be trained in the use of firearms, should be allowed to carry them concealed and they should be placed at all schools and other areas of opportunities for these cold-blooded killers around the country.
Defenseless innocents are being massacred. If I ever was in a public place and saw some nut rushing in with guns in hand and I had a concealed gun, I would blow his brains out.
Bakersfield, CA

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