Friday, November 25, 2011

The odd Amish crime wave

I can no longer ignore the drumbeat of demand I address a topic I’ve managed to avoid for six months.

Yes, it’s time to talk about the rogue Amish barbers.

And wouldn’t that be a dandy name for a punk band?

“Ladies and gentleman, get ready to rock! It’s time for the Rogue Amish Barbers!”

R.A.B would be rad.

I was hoping the story would go away because I don’t want this blog to become a clearinghouse for Amish news.

The title’s already confusing enough to researchers who in just the past week have stumbled in by clicking on search terms that include “amish nudes,” “amish blog,” “do amish can bacon,” and inevitably “insane amish barber scissors.”

The blog title refers to how long before my teetering finances force a drastic lifestyle change. I don’t want people mistakenly concluding this blog has anything to do with making fun of Amish.

Just the opposite. If anything I’d like to exalt the Amish. Can you imagine how the world would be better if in eight days we all became Amish?

Gas prices would plummet. We’d know more about our families than we know about Snooki. We could all text while driving as long as our horses didn’t. Our police forces would get so bored they’d have to kill time pepper spraying one another.

The Amish are among the world’s least divisive people. They don’t start bloody my-God-is-better-than-your-God wars, protest soldier funerals, or knock on anyone’s door and annoy them with talk about eternal salvation when -- “Come on down!” -- The Showcase Showdown is getting revved up.

They are the Chicago Cubs of religious devotions, innocuous and utterly non-competitive.

Even their crimes are quaint.

Imagine what would happen if you called 911 and said, “Help! Some polite men just came to my house, asked if they could come inside and then trimmed my beard!”

You’d get a more sympathetic response if you reported a wedgie.

But if you’ve read any of the stories, you’ll understand this is a devastating crime to Amish men. Their beards carry great religious significance.

My beard carries great chunky remnants of soup I had for lunch three days ago.

I started growing my annual chin divot last month to help my face fend off winter’s bitter bite and because I wanted to make myself more appealing to women like the one in my new profile picture.

If convicted the men charged in the barbering crime -- and speaking of barbering crimes, the ringleader is named Mullet -- the accused could face 10 years in federal prison. It could be life if they can prove kidnapping.

It’s unsettling to see mounting evidence that instead of society at large becoming more Amish, the Amish are becoming more like society at large.

They’re the subject of federal investigations involving kidnapping, assault and other activities tantamount to bully hate crimes. And just like our daily headlines, there are even allegations of unseemly sex crimes.

Mullet is accused of locking husbands in chicken coops while “cleansing” their wives of the devil with acts of sexual intimacy.

And that last line is loaded with reasons why I’ve for so long resisted writing about the Bergholz, Ohio, Amish crime wave.

It’s all too sad when a people renown for gentle devotion, thrift and all the best humanity has to offer become punchlines for crimes we have trouble understanding.

Again, I think the world would be better off it we were all eight days to Amish.

What scares me is a world where all the Amish are eight days to us.


shrink on the couch said...

Amish nudes. Now I've heard everything. I wonder what happens when you google that. If I'm not back in two minutes? Proceed without me.

Chris Rodell said...

You'd be surprised how often that one pops up. Worse even. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!