On October 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts IV walked into a one-room schoolhouse in Lancaster. He was armed with a 9mm handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun when he ordered the teachers and male students to leave. Roberts bound the 10 remaining female students together with wire and, as police organized outside the building, shot each of them at close range before taking his own life. Five of the girls died and the others were severely wounded.
A few days later, when Roberts' family came together for his funeral, many members of the Amish community—including parents of some of his victims—attended to offer forgiveness and support Roberts' loved ones.
In the seven years since the tragedy, Roberts' mother Terri has maintained an admirable level of optimism as she travels the country speaking at high schools and churches about the incident, forgiveness, and staying positive in the face of alarming adversity.
Now, Charles' brother Zach is looking for help funding a documentary film about the incident and his mother's perseverance in its aftermath.
During a recent trip home, Zach's mother spoke to a local church group. He noticed how engaged her audience had become. "After seeing how powerfully her message was being received, at least to the churches and organizations she was speaking to, I knew I had to bring it to a larger crowd."
He had the background in film. Plus, he realized it would help him come to terms with a story he'd emotionally suppressed for almost a decade. He'd have to address it — relive it, even — through uncomfortable interviews and trips back home. But he felt it would lift a weight off his shoulders. So far, it has.
"Making this film is taking this giant burden off me. It's been difficult, but it's the right choice," he says. "I have a daughter now, and I don’t want her, or other future members of my family, to think of what happened as something nobody talks about, like a dark family secret. It’s important that it’s out in the open and can be freely discussed."
To read more about Terri's life as a speaker or to learn more about Zach's project, you can check out the full report over at Mashable, where they've got a video clip with some of the footage already compiled. [Mashable]