Jewish Nurse Showed Compassion While Caring For Synagogue Shooter
(JTA) — The nurse who cared for alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers identified himself in a post on social media.
Ari Mahler came forward in a heartfelt post Saturday night on Facebook.
Mahler was one of three Jewish doctors and nurses to tend to Bowers when he was brought to Allegheny General Hospital with gunshot wounds sustained during a shootout with police after he allegedly killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Congregation on Oct. 27.
The son of a rabbi, Mahler noted that he “experienced anti-Semitism a lot” as a kid, including swastikas drawn on his locker and pictures drawn showing him and his family being marched to a gas chamber. And, he said, he did not tell anyone about the anti-Semitism he was suffering.
Hospital president Dr. Jeffrey Cohen told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review after the attack that Mahler, who he did not name, broke down in tears shortly after treating Bowers. “I told him how proud I was. He went home and hugged his parents,” Cohen told the newspaper.
Mahler said in his Facebook post that he did not see evil in Bowers’s eyes but rather “a clear lack of depth, intelligence and palpable amounts of confusion.”
He said that Bowers “thanked him for saving him, for showing him kindness and for treating him the same way I treat every other patient.”
Mahler said that he did not tell Bowers that he was Jewish. “I chose not to say anything the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong,” he wrote.
Since it was posted on Saturday evening, the message has been shared nearly 34,000 times and liked more than 53,000 times. Most of the comments called him “strong,” and “amazing,” and thanked him for sharing his thoughts and message of love.