A list of Iowa's worst mass killings
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#1 Oct 16, 2006
The senseless murders of the five-member Bentler family in Bonaparte, Iowa this past weekend caused my heart to sink yet again. I was still reeling from the news of the tragic deaths of five young Amish girls in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania earlier this month, and the recent school shootings in Cazenovia, Wisconsin and Bailey, Colorado. But, having grown up in Iowa and lived there most of my life, the Bentler murders struck me as if I were a next-door neighbor. Yes, I know there are many “JonBenet” stories that exist in our nation’s history. But some how, the idea that the lives of innocent children can be taken so easily, so readily, so systematically, is horrifying, and rips at the heart of our country. The Bentler murders will soon take its place among the list of Iowa’s other worst mass murders--very near the 1912 Villisca, Iowa axe murders, where six of the eight victims were children. How can we not be impacted, haunted, and driven to productive response by the loss of “our” children? Whether it be a little girl named JonBenet, students at a High School in Columbine, four little girls at a Birmingham church, six youngsters in Villisca, or three young teens in Bonaparte, Iowa, we as a nation should grieve deeply, and wonder collectively if we lost the child that would grow to cure cancer, lead the world into peace, find THE way to solve world hunger and poverty, or discover why… WHY? Why such violence exists in this abundant land we call America.
#2 Nov 2, 2006
I live in south eastern Iowa, actually only about 10 miles from Bonaparte. However I didn't know the young girls or the brother that commited the crime. My brother and his girlfriend had planned on getting an apartment with the oldest of the girls. This news reached my brothers ears just days after we lost our beloved grandfather who he was very close to. It most definitly was a very rough time for this small country part of the nation. And it's really nice to see others that care so much even though they are so far away.
#3 Apr 22, 2012
I worked with Bentler's cousin in Houghton back in 2006, tradgic.
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