Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Nickel Mines Horror: 2006-2011

Five years ago today, on October 2, 2006, a would-be rapist barracaded himself in a school building with ten young Amish girls, all aged thirteen and younger, in the little town of West Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He had brought with him a large supply of weapons and sufficient equipment to tie them all in place so that he could put into effect his plan to defile them all.

He shot the girls without raping them; five died, and then he killed himself.

One made herself immortal in their defense.

I've told this story before. I'll tell it again. It should not be forgotten.


"Shoot Me First": Marian Stoltzfus Fisher (1993-2006)

One of the great plagues of the past century has been that of the exploding malign narcissist. We all encounter one in the news every few weeks or so. Somewhere in the world, some individual suffering from some degree of mental decay, fanaticism, hate, and evil lays their hands on a weapon or weapons of mass destruction and goes berserk, killing as many people as possible in a few minutes, people whose only crime was being within his range. They come one after another, the names, the incidents – Columbine, the Austin Clock Tower, This-Or-That-High-School – in an endless thudding of horrors that eventually get forgotten, replaced by the next one in the sequence.

The victimizers elbow their way into our consciousness and their names take up space in our heads in spite of ourselves. But the victims fade into statistics, if they are ever known at all.

Rarely does an incident happen that makes us remember with pride those who lose their lives.

Marian Fisher was one such. She was only thirteen--the youngest of our Tattered Remnants.

In keeping with the customs of her people, no photograph exists of this astounding girl.

She, her younger sister, and eight other little Amish girls were at the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Bart Township, Pennsylvania on October 2, 2006, when a man came in with a gun and took them hostage. The man, a sexually obsessed truck driver, had come to molest them; he decided to kill them.

Marian Fisher was the oldest of her classmates. She was thirteen.

She stepped up to him and is said to have spoken three words that make her immortal.

She said, "Shoot me first."

(And it is said her younger sister Barbara echoed, "Shoot me second.")

The man shot all ten girls, muttered "Pray for me," and then shot himself.

It is believed that Marian may have been buying time, attempting to throw the man off of his stride, or perhaps to consume a bullet that he could not shoot at another. It is even possible that he was deterred from his plans of rape by her courage.

But in that simple act, those three words, she showed that She Got It.

She understood what the fight was about.

And she gave her life on the off chance that others might live in her stead.

It should be mentioned: of the ten girls that were shot, five survived, including Barbara (although one of the five was left helpless for life).

"Shoot me first."

Which of us would have such courage to choose to die at the blink of an eye?

The outside of the cemetery in Lancaster, PA, where Marian is buried. Its exact location is private.


Along with Marian, let us remember her sisters in Christ who died with her:
Naomi Rose Ebersol, age 7;
Lena Zook Miller, age 7;
Mary Liz Miller, age 8;
Anna Mae Stoltzfus, age 12

Let us also remember those other victims of the shooting:

Rachel Ann Stolfuz, age 8;
Barbie Stolfuz Fisher, age 10;
Rosanna King, age 6;
an unidentified girl, age 12;
an unidentified girl, age 13.


It should be mentioned that the Amish community even took up a collection for the wife and children of the murderer.

Which of us would have such courage to forgive at the blink of an eye?

Photo credits: Alex Pendjurin (first and second picture); (third picture).

1 comment:

Keep it clean for gene.