The Jewish nurse who treated Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers says that he treated him with care and compassion, as he does for all of his patients. What’s more, Ari Mahler wrote a lengthy Facebook post calling for “love in the face of evil,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting.
Following last Saturday’s deadly shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, which claimed the lives of 11 people, suspect Robert Bowers was wounded in a shootout with police. The extent of his injuries remains unclear; regardless, he was taken while in police custody to Allegheny General Hospital.
There, the man who had written on social media of his belief that Jews were funding “genocide against his people,” had allegedly told a SWAT team member that he wanted to “kill all Jews,” and had allegedly murdered 11 Jews minutes earlier was treated by a Jewish doctor and a Jewish nurse.
Hospital President Dr. Jeff Cohen, who also is Jewish, has declined to name the doctor and nurse who treated Bowers. But in a lengthy Facebook post, nurse Ari Mahler identified himself.
“I am The Jewish Nurse. Yes, that Jewish Nurse.”
Even though he knew full well that he was treating a man who had, moments earlier, allegedly committed an act of mass murder against his fellow Jews, Mahler says he gave his patient the same care and compassion that he would give any patient.
Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers pleads not guilty and asks for a jury trial. The grief-stricken city will lay more victims to rest today. https://t.co/UI6Ob8yyfK pic.twitter.com/tj2qFa4mAD— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 1, 2018
That compassion wasn’t lost on Bowers, whom Mahler admits likely didn’t know that his caregivers are Jewish.
“[He] thanked me for saving him, for showing him kindness, and for treating him the same way I treat every other patient… I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse [when you had just allegedly murdered 11 Jews]?”
Mahler was circumspect in his description of his interactions with Bowers – indeed, he’s likely already run afoul of his hospital’s privacy rules, which are themselves dictated by federal HIPAA law – simply by admitting that he treated him.
But Mahler also spoke to the larger point: that even in the midst of hate and violence, love and compassion should still rule the day.
“Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings.”