- A Jewish nurse described treating the suspect who shouted anti-Semitic sentiments during a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in a lengthy Facebook post a week after the attack.
- Ari Mahler, a registered nurse, wrote that the interaction made him determined to show “love in the face of evil” as he treated suspect Robert Bowers.
- Mahler wrote that his post was prompted by the widespread media attention on the Jewish emergency responders after it was reported Bowers said he wanted “death to all Jews” as he was wheeled into the hospital.
After a gunman killed 11 and injured six others in an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue, media attention quickly moved to the Jewish staff members at Allegheny General Hospital who treated the suspect.
Registered nurse Ari Mahler described treating Robert Bowers in a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday, in which he identified himself as “The Jewish Nurse” who was responding to the reports on him doing his job.
Mahler, the son of a rabbi who also described experiences with anti-Semitism as a child, wrote that Robert Bowers yelled “death to all Jews,” as he was wheeled into the hospital after being arrested as the suspect in a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue.
But Bowers later thanked the trauma nurse for his care.
“Robert Bowers thanked me for saving him, for showing him kindness, and for treating him the same way I treat every other patient,” Mahler wrote. “This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.”
It was immediately reported that Bowers shouted anti-Semitic slurs during the attack and throughout his treatment, and in the hours after the attack, multiple reports unspooled Bowers’extensive online history of spreading anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic ideas.
Mahler wrote that Bowers remained silent throughout the interaction, and that he “didn’t see evil” in Bowers’ eyes, but instead “a clear lack of depth, intelligence, and palpable amounts of confusion.”
Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, a top administrator at Allegheny Hospital, previously told CNN affiliate WTAE that one of the hospital staff dealing with Bowers was the son of a rabbi, who remained “extremely professional”, along with the rest of the staff.
“Isn’t it ironic that somebody who’s yelling in the ambulance and the hospital, ‘I want to kill all the Jews,’ is taken care of by a Jewish nurse, and there’s a Jewish hospital president that comes in to check on him afterwards,” Cohen told CNN last week.
“I chose to show him empathy,” Mahler wrote. “I felt that the best way to honour his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?”
Mahler continued: “Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you.”