Revisiting History – the Amish School Massacre – October 2, 2006; A teaching article, Part 1 of 3, The Facts

West Nickel Mines Amish School

Paradise, Bart Township, Lancaster County, PA, USA

by Marilyn J Muir, LPMAFA

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Known facts:

Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV, a 32-year-old milk tanker driver who lived in nearby Bart, got off work about 3 AM and returned home. He and his wife took their kids to their school bus at 8:45 AM and his wife left for a church activity. Roberts left notes for his wife and kids to explain his immanent actions. His wife returned home around 11 AM, found his notes, and tried to call him with no success.

Roberts, the gunman, entered the one-room Amish schoolhouse at 9:51 AM, took ten girls (ages six to thirteen) hostage and allowed fifteen boys and four adults, including a pregnant woman, to leave. In addition, one girl did escape with her brother simply because she did not understand the gunman’s instructions. The teacher escaped to run to a farmhouse to call police. The gunman lined the captive girls up in front of the blackboard, tied (soft cuffed) at least some of their feet to one another (to hobble them?). He had come prepared and barricaded the doors with 2 x 6’s and desks. He apparently had pre-planned the event for some time, bringing lumber, shotgun, handgun, rifle, 600 rounds of ammunition, toilet paper, etc. He used the schoolboys to help him unload his truck. He apparently intended to molest the girls because he had KY Gel and soft cuffs with him.

  • The first call to the police came at 10:36 AM from the teacher who had run to the nearest farmhouse with a phone. Remember, this is Amish country with sprawling farms and limited phone access.
  • Police arrived at the scene at 10:45 (9 minutes after the call).
  • The gunman called his wife at approximately 10:50, said police were there, that he was NOT coming home and that he loved her.
  • The police tried to call him on his cell phone but with no success.
  • The gunman called 911 and told them the police had seconds to evacuate the property or he would start shooting.
  • The shooting started scant seconds later, sixteen shots in all.
  • The victims (all young girls) were shot execution-style to the head, some to their upper bodies.
  • At least one shot came through the window at the police.
  • The gunman then shot and killed himself.
  • Five victims died, three at the scene (one in a policeman’s arms), six more were hospitalized with critical injuries, and two died later. All the other girls were hospitalized with injuries.

The shooter was not Amish and had not had problems with the Amish. He lived about three miles from the school. The site was unprotected and convenient. Roberts had no previous criminal record. He was scheduled to have a drug test relating to his work later that same day. Reporting confirmed there was no history or evidence of drug abuse. Either in his notes to his wife or his conversation with his wife (much of this was rambling and did not make sense), he indicated the killings were revenge for:

  • First for sexual molestations that he claimed he perpetrated twenty years earlier (age twelve and he was the molester)
  • Second for the loss of his baby girl, Emily, born prematurely, who lived only twenty minutes. Roberts was angry at God for her loss. Perhaps that is why he went after a religion-based school.

The shooter’s wife, Marie, stated his actions were not those of the man she knew and loved for ten years. He was a good husband and father. He was not like that and she does not know what happened. While he was very quiet, he was not overly friendly. Neighbors were shocked because he was so mild mannered.

From the ramblings, the gunman said he had molested young cousins of three and four years of age when he was twelve, and he carried a grudge. The family was totally surprised by the revelation and had no clue as to its validity. Roberts had been having dreams and urges to molest young girls for several years and feared he could no longer control his urges.  As already mentioned, he had KY Gel and soft cuffs with him at the school and apparently had intended to molest the young female hostages. Because of the relatively short time span, the police stated that no molestation had occurred.

The amazing sequel to this tragedy was the spirituality of the Amish people. The individual families and the group tried to support the Roberts family. They chose not to blame and instead chose to forgive. Their personal strength and unity are a testament to their faith and a true example of spirituality.


This event has three timed charts provided with this article. Charts were drawn for…

  • 9:51 AM when the gunman entered the schoolhouse and took hostages.
  • 10:36 AM when the teacher reached a farmhouse and called the police.
  • The killings occurred after 10:45 when the police arrived and before 11:05 AM. I chose this later time for the final chart.
  • I could not find the exact time the police smashed their way into the schoolhouse, which would help indicate the end of the incident via the suicide of the gunman.
  • Times and info taken from several days of live newscasts, internet reporting and Wikipedia.

Because I do not have the birth time of the gunman (Charles Roberts), I have included two renditions of his birth: a sunrise chart, which is the traditional chart used for a time unknown, and a noonmark chart, usually used for business purposes. I like the noonmark chart because it conveniently splits the day in half and gives better planet positions for any speculative chart. Therefore, I prefer the noonmark charts for such progressions and diurnals. For all these charts, I have aspected the Midheaven and the Ascendant but please remember they are speculative. The Moon is the only body that can be a couple of degrees off (one degree for each two hours on the birth clock), so again remember it, too, is somewhat speculative.

In order to see the connections more clearly, I created a handy-dandy spreadsheet and color-coded the connections. There is no rhyme or reason to the colors selected – it is a simple tool to do all those aspects only once. I did start with tight orbs, but as you link the different charts together, the orbs tend to spread. It is very simple to ignore or remove any aspects you feel are too wide. Only hard aspects are given: conjunction, square and opposition. Why? Hard aspects are what made things happen, particularly for this tragic event.

The important charts for me are the Roberts noonmark birth and progressed charts compared to the event charts. The positions for the Roberts diurnal charts will be similar to the three event charts because they are all cast for the same day. The diurnal reflects the day’s events as it pertains to the gunman specifically. Again, there are diurnals for a noonmark and a sunrise chart, so they do have a speculative quality. All connections mentioned are hard aspects: conjunctions, squares and oppositions. The readings are also briefly noted on the spreadsheet.

  • The gunman’s Sun is at 15 Sagittarius 16-27, conjunct the sunrise Ascendant and conjunct the noon Midheaven. Yes, they join but they are natural aspects for those times of day so do not make them more important than natural placements. The most telling aspect is the Roberts noon diurnal Ascendant at 19:54. The Midheaven moves 1˚ of arc every four minutes on the clock. This slower moving Ascendant moves 48’ of arc for that same four minutes. The Sun moves one minute of arc every 24 minutes on the clock. Very little adjustment on either birth chart will create a closer connection. We are not looking for exact (speculative timed event), but we do want reasonably close aspects.
  • The day’s events show sunrise Jupiter at 18 Scorpio 47-50, Saturn at 21:31 Leo and Neptune at 17 Aquarius 13, a T-square, and does connect to the entry MC 20 Leo 21 and the teacher call Ascendant 20 Scorpio 43. These T-squares connect closest to the Roberts progressed Jupiter. 
  • Entry Ascendant and the incident and diurnal Moons aspect close to the Roberts natal Moon and Jupiter as well as the Roberts noon progressed Moon (wide), Venus and Mars, and potentially Jupiter (very wide but drawn in by the existing fixed Grand Cross.) Midheaven connects closely to the Roberts noon Ascendant and to Roberts birth and progressed Neptune.
  • Event Sun is widely conjunct event Venus, Roberts natal sunrise Midheaven and noon diurnal Midheaven and Roberts birth and progressed Pluto.
  • Event Venus connects to Roberts birth Saturn and Pluto and the sunrise diurnal Midheaven.
  • Roberts noon progressed Ascendant and Uranus connect with his birth Venus, Mars, Uranus T-square.
  • Event Pluto and N Node connect to Roberts birth and progressed North Node.
  • Roberts noon progressed Midheaven, Sun and Mercury connects to event Mars.
  • Roberts sunrise progressed Midheaven aspects all Moons.
  • Roberts sunrise progressed Ascendant, Sun, Mercury aspects all event and diurnal Mars.
  • Roberts sunrise diurnal Midheaven and Ascendant aspects Roberts natal Venus, Mars, Uranus.

Part two for this tragic event will be a delineation of the aspects themselves as given above, and I will pick up the out of sign aspects. Part three will be a study of the Symbolic Degrees associated with the massacre.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.