Amish Schoolhouse Murders: Role Models in Forgiveness

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On Friday, as you may know, we made another trip to Amish country to shoot more for our Saturday night special on this horrible crime (I hope you watched!) We got up very early Friday, drove to Pennsylvania, worked all day, drove back, got into the D.C. bureau, did more on the special and then did our live 10 p.m. show. Yes, it was a long day and it was difficult having to cover a terribly disturbing story. But our trip was not without some little pleasure — check out the pictures posted. While in PA, I had some great fun: I met some cute little girls in a barn who were having fun with a bunch of cats living in the barn. I also met a zillion barn cats who were very friendly and hanging around the cows. I could not help but take some pictures.

The pics posted also show some behind the scenes of shooting the special. If you watched, you know that going in and out of segments I did "wraps." The wraps were shot in another barn and you can see where we did it and how it was set up. By the way, I don't think I have ever been so cold in my life than when we shot the wraps — the wind was bitter.

I have received some e-mails — not many — telling me we should not do the Amish killing story since the Amish want privacy. In some ways, I agree: I want to respect their privacy. On the other hand, I want people to know about the Amish. I am in awe of them — especially their ability to "practice what they preach." They actually do forgive — many people talk about forgiveness, but can't or don't do it. Perhaps we can all learn from the Amish, so it seems important to me to talk about this news story. I am still stunned that the day of the killing, a grandfather of a murdered child went to the killer's house to tell the wife of the killer that they forgive.

I have also received e-mails asking where donations or kind words can be sent. A viewer sent me this Web address. I have no way of checking it out, but it looks legitimate to me:

E-mails from some viewers have come in asking why we did the John Mark Karr story the other night. Frankly, I think, we can learn from that story as well. We can learn that sometimes prosecutors move very slowly in evaluating their cases. As a result, thousands of taxpayer dollars are spent very foolishly, as in the case of detaining Karr in California for a month. Would you not prefer your tax dollars spent on matters such as education or crimes that could actually be proven? Or do you want it wasted on ridiculous prosecutions and detentions that have results like the Karr case?

A thorough California prosecutor could have made a phone call in August to the evidence custodian while Karr was still in Thailand and asked, "Do we still have the evidence?" The answer would have been no. Criminal Justice 101 is that you can't prove guilt without evidence — in this case, the computer with the supposed child porn on it was missing. How in the world did the DA think he/she would prove this case? How can you prove he possessed porn if the supposed possessed porn was in the custody of the authorities and disappears? That phone call would have saved lots and lots and lots of money. The DA could simply have said to the Boulder County DA, "Leave him in Thailand... or you (Colorado) keep him. We, (meaning California), don't want him. We can't possibly prove a case against him." Instead: the charade. So, yes, something can be learned from the John Mark Karr case.

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Dear Greta,
I would like to commend you on the "Crime Scene" special broadcast this evening regarding the Amish Schoolhouse murders. I live in southern Lancaster County and grew up in a home about two miles from the school. My father left the Amish church as a teenager and my grandmother is still Amish. I have always been proud of my Amish heritage and, although I'm not Amish, I do have a strong Christian faith. I have also always loved and appreciated the conservative Christian community in Lancaster County, but I've never been more proud of it than I am now.
I want to praise you for your coverage and emphasis on the forgiveness aspect of this tragedy. I was not entirely surprised to see our local TV station talk about how the Amish are already forgiving, however I was quite amazed to see the emphasis that your show placed on this unusual response to such an event. I believe that the media in general often goes to great lengths to avoid covering right-winged, conservative ideals, or their spin on it is negative. I am so glad that you have allowed the world to take a glimpse at the remarkable manner in which our Amish neighbors have dealt with this tragedy. I hope that through your show the world will see what a difference God makes in the lives of those who truly believe in Him and put feet to their faith. Thank you for bringing this story to the will be a better place for it.
I would love to purchase a copy of this "Crime Scene" special. Please advise if it is possible for me to do so. Thanks!
Heidi Scott

E-mail No. 2

Dear Greta,
Is there a reason Jon Scott is leaning on crutch-like-poles in the pictures from the party? I was just wondering.
Linda Thompson
Wales, ME

ANSWER: Some knee injury. I asked him, too, when I saw him...

E-mail No. 3

There is a report that some of these Amish girls asked to be shot first in order to give their friends more time. I think it is important to recognize that terrorists sacrifice themselves to kill others. These little girls sacrificed themselves trying to save others. A difference between faiths.
Dave Barker
Mount Vernon, PA

E-mail No. 4

We love you but you are beating a dead horse! Please stop talking about those poor people. Your persistence is becoming ghoulish. They do not know that you are going into such lengths and I am sure they would not want it. I will not watch your show tonight. It is being carried on LONG enough!
Grace Thoma Oshkosh
AuTrain, MI

E-mail No. 5

I noticed in the footage you showed that Karr's upper body doesn't move when he walks. His shoulders don't even flex. It's just one more peculiar thing about a very peculiar man.
Mary McLemore
Pike Road, AL

E-mail No. 6

I just finished watching your special on the Amish tragedy, I have a lump in my throat-I can't believe how gracious and forgiving, these people are... I like to think of myself as a person of deep faith, and spirituality but, when I hear of these horrible events, murders, child abuse, etc., I feel ashamed that "forgiveness" is not high on my list. I'm angry, I'm angry that, these sick minds always find a way to hurt the innocent and furthermore, scar the hearts and minds of us all. It is so very tragic that, this beautiful world has turned into such a violent existence for SO many, too many, good and kind human beings, it makes me very sad.
Las Vegas, NV

E-mail No. 7 — this next e-mail is about John Mark Karr:

He looks very happy about the recent court decisions, which he should:
1. He was in Thailand
2. He wanted to come home
3. He claimed that he was present for JonBenet's death
4. He gets a free "first class" flight home
5. He is not tried for that case
6. He's flown to Calif. and not tried for a case there
7. Now he's traveling around in limos
I'd be smiling my butt off.
Maybe FOX NEWS should take up a collection to pay for his flight back to Thailand and let him find his own way back.
Bill K.
North Platte, NE

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