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Cameras Allowed in Amish School
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



State police momentarily reopened White Oak Road Wednesday so camera crews and onlookers could photograph the one-room Amish schoolhouse where Charles Carl Roberts IV executed five little girls and wounded five others.

Boarded up and cluttered with yellow police tape, it did not look like a place that until Monday had been full of life.

"I'm glad our children aren't subjected to television. They won't see the coverage," said Sam Fisher, an Amishman who manages the auction house that has served as a parking lot for the TV trucks whose crews are roaming the countryside.

Mr. Fisher, 57, knew all 10 victims on sight. They would make a beeline for his business every Thursday. Just like everybody else in town, they wanted to sample the excitement of auction day.

Ten families sent children to the school. Seven of them had kids who became Mr. Roberts' victims.

"It's incredibly sad," Mr. Fisher said.

Families of the dead asked police and Mr. Fisher to move the media headquarters to a church yesterday. The shifting of lights and microphones should make the area a little more peaceful for the funerals today of four girls. The fifth child will be buried tomorrow.

Mr. Fisher, a patient and courteous host to a vast international press corps, became so angry yesterday that he said he wanted to throw out the media on his own.

"I saw some of the photographers taking pictures of an Amishman and woman in a buggy, so I stepped in to stop it," he said. "When I found out one photographer was local, it made me all the madder."

For religious reasons, the Amish do not like to be photographed, a known fact of life in Lancaster County.

The tragedy even brought out an Amish impersonator trying to exploit the moment for monetary gain.

The man wandered into the press area Tuesday and made himself available for photographs and interviews. Then, Mr. Fisher said, he passed out business cards for a buggy service linked to the tourist trade. The impostor left after real Amishmen confronted him.

Most people who gathered on the long country roads near the school only wanted to express their sorrow and condolences.

Amy Yoder, of Ephrata in Lancaster County, journeyed to the area with a half-dozen Amish friends.

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