In South Carolina, hate is met with forgiveness

I was driving home from work last night thinking about the shootings in South Carolina and also one of the most amazing mass murder stories I’ve ever heard.

In 2006, Charles Roberts walked into an Amish schoolhouse and shot 10 girls and killed five of them before killing himself.

That evening, the parents of the girls visited the parents of their executioner to forgive him and tell them they didn’t want the family — they were not Amish — to leave the community.

Days later, 75 members of the Amish community showed up at the killer’s funeral.

(Video link)

I did not think I would hear of such grace again. And I didn’t.

Until today.

At a bond hearing for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist charged with murdering 9 people in a Charleston, S.C., church this week, family members of the dead forgave him, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

“I just want everybody to know … I forgive you,” the daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the victims, said. “I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you and have mercy on your soul.”

  • Wow. Just…wow.

  • Kassie


    While I’m not surprised that someone who has deep religious convictions to eventually come around to forgiveness, I wouldn’t expect it quickly or publicly. I can’t imagine the pain the victims’ family members are feeling and to show the opposite of what the killer showed is amazing and takes a lot of strength.

  • Mike

    As hard as forgiveness is most of the time, it is the first step to finding closure and inner piece. Her forgiveness won’t mean much if anything to the killer but will mean everything to her going forward, hopefully allowing her to keep living her life, even though it will never be the same.