News media are moving, once again, to report on a tragedy in an Amish community—in this case, what appears to be a drunk driver swerving into a van full of Amish men and women. Five are dead. Others are hospitalized. It turns out that the driver had a prison record for earlier misbehavior with a car. Again, Amish are making their way to the affected community to mourn and make peace with an overwhelming tragedy. And, once again, Americans will hear the bitter-sweet stories of Amish grace.
NEWS ON ACCIDENT THAT KILLED FIVE AMISH IN JULY 2011
OVERVIEW OF ACCIDENT AND ARREST OF INTOXICATED DRIVER: Here’s an Associated Press report on the basic facts of the incident. THEN, 24 hours later, Associated Press updated with more details about the driver’s earlier criminal record and prison time for stealing a police cruiser in 2006.
NEW YORK TIMES OVERVIEW OF AMISH COMMUNITIES: On its Thursday front page, the Times reports on the tragic accident and also on the migration of Amish into rural communities. In many cases, the Times reports, residents are happy that the Amish are saving small rural towns. (May require making a free registration with the Times site, if you have not used it before.)
LOCAL VIDEO REPORTS, MAP and NEWS UPDATES: YNN in Syracuse, New York, a regional TV news service, is posting various clips and updates on the story. Some YNN clips require watching a brief advertisement before the news begins, but the YNN reports do include some interesting information, such as a press conference with the Yates County sheriff.
READ ABOUT INSPIRATIONAL AMISH WAY
FROM SCHOLARS WHO HAVE BEFRIENDED THE AMISH
Earlier this year, we published an excerpt from a new book, The Amish Way, by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher. This is the team that earlier brought us the superb “Amish Grace,” about the 2006 shooting of Amish school children in Pennsylvania and the aftermath. That horrific event—and the healing response of the Amish community—raised fresh interest in this people often regarded as quaint farmers suitable for drive-by photography while on summer vacations.
We followed that overview of the book by publishing our in-depth interview, talking with Don Kraybill about his years of research with the Amish. If you think you know all about the Amish, this interview will surprise you. Here is one of Don’s comments in the Q and A: “I often tell audiences when I lecture that it’s hazardous to talk about “the Amish.” There are 1,825 local congregations and ecclesiastical authority for the Amish rests in these local congregations, so here in Lancaster, one congregation may permit power lawnmowers and the one across the street may not.”
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.