Jewish nurse who treated suspected synagogue shooter 'chose to show him empathy'

Pittsburgh Police direct traffic as their vehicles close the street adjacent to the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday Nov. 3 2018 as a curbside Shabbat morning service is held on the street corner in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The

Pittsburgh Police direct traffic as their vehicles close the street adjacent to the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday Nov. 3 2018 as a curbside Shabbat morning service is held on the street corner in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The

But Mahler says he personally chose to act out of love rather than fear.

"I can tell you that as his nurse, or anyone's nurse, my care is given through kindness, my actions are measured with empathy, and regardless of the person you may be when you're not in my care, each breath you take is more attractive than the last when you're lying on my stretcher", he went on to say.

People pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oct. 29, 2018.

He was working his job as an RN at Allegheny General Hospital when news about the horrific mass shooting at a local synagogue broke on the news.

After the shooting, Dr.

Mahler now works as a trauma nurse and was at Allegheny General Hospital when Bowers was wheeled into the emergency room, yelling, "Death to all Jews".

In the long post he cited evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Southern Poverty Law Center which found that although Jews account for two percent of the Jewish population, they suffer 60% of all religious hate crime.

He said he didn't reveal his religion to Bowers ― or say anything at all to the man, for that matter.

Mahler described his role as "The Jewish Nurse" who treated the suspect, saying that he felt nervous about sharing his account but that "I just know I feel alone right now, and the irony of the world talking about me doesn't seem fair without the chance to speak for myself". This was "like saying, 'Don't worry, I'm not that Jewish, therefore, I'm not so different than you, ' and like clockwork, people don't look at me as awkwardly as they did a few seconds beforehand".

Mahler said he would not go into great detail, because of privacy rules. I wanted him to feel compassion.

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As an adult, he sometimes sought to minimize his Jewishness, telling people, "I'm not that religious". "I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong", Mahler wrote.

"I experienced antisemitism a lot as a kid", Mahler, a rabbi's son, wrote. And, he said, he did not tell anyone about the anti-Semitism he endured.

He said that he wasn't shocked by the shooting. "To be honest, it's only a matter of time before the next one happens", he said. "History refutes hope that things will change. My heart yearns for change, but today's climate doesn't foster nurturing, tolerance, or civility", he added.

The Pittsburgh shooting occurred during a nationwide spike in anti-Semitism. "The FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center note that Jews only account for two percent of the USA population, yet 60% of all religious hate crimes are committed against them".

Jewish students have reported finding swastika vandalism on college campuses.

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 October 27.

Mahler said less than an hour before Bowers arrived at the hospital, he had been terrified that his parents were among the victims.

"Love. That's why I did it", he wrote.

Love. That's why I did it. 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. I've read articles mentioning me in the [New York] Times and the Washington Post. "That's why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term", he wrote.

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