Defense Tech Dad Tom Shachtman has written over thirty books -- including a trilogy on serial killers, and an exhaustive study of Amish youth, Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish.So it's only natural, in the wake of the tragedy at the West Nickel Mines Amish School, that the MSM is turning to him for analysis. Here's an NBC Nightly News segment from last night, and a Newsweek Q&A, posted this afternoon.
NEWSWEEK: Has the Amish community ever had to deal with anything like this?Tom Shachtman: No, this is terrifyingly unique. Thats not to say they havent faced tragedy before. On a regular basis you do hear about events where a truck hits a buggy on the road and kills four or five people. Less occasionally, youll hear about a fire in a home that cant get put out. But in terms of multiple deaths as a result of this kind of violence, this is incredibly unusual. I cant think of a similar incident.How familiar with violence are a lot of these children?Not at all. This is a total shock to these kids because they have no experience with violence. We do, and our children do. We watch violence all the time. Were not impervious to it, but we are familiar with it whereas these Amish children are not at all. They dont watch TV; dont watch movies. These are the most vulnerable children you could imagine. Theyve been tremendously sheltered all of their lives against depictions of violence. They are nave, but theyre very nice. You?ve never seen a group of more polite people in your life than some of these Amish kids. And theyre very vulnerable because of it and in our society, vulnerability gets taken for weakness, and thats what happened here.UPDATE 10/04/06 12:47 AM: Here he is in the Times, the New York Post, and the AP.