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"I decided that forgiveness was not enough."
July 18, 2011 7:04 PM   Subscribe

"I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." Rais Bhuiyan petitions the state of Texas to stay the execution of a white supremacist who shot him and murdered two others in a hate-motivated crime.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (87 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm just going to throw this out there...

These are intensely graphic violent stories. If you're not the type that enjoys that I'd say you might want to go find a kittens thread.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:08 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That is hard-core belief - the kind that actually changes things.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:15 PM on July 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


NYT warning would be nice.
posted by clavdivs at 7:15 PM on July 18, 2011


Oh yeah, there are two NYTimes links. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:17 PM on July 18, 2011


extremely moving, what mr. bhuiyan is doing. such strength of character. thanks.
posted by facetious at 7:18 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is hard-core belief - the kind that actually changes things.

Testify.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:19 PM on July 18, 2011


Hovering over a link is usually a pretty good way to tell where it goes.

Weirdly (or maybe not), the part of the story that I found most enraging was this: ( Mr. Bhuiyan was discharged the day after being treated; he was told he did not have health insurance. For the next several months, he slept on people’s couches and had to rely on physicians’ samples for medication, including painkillers and eye drops. He had several operations on his right eye; he now has only limited vision in it.) [From the first link.]

Rais Bhuiyan is an extraordinary human being.
posted by rtha at 7:20 PM on July 18, 2011 [27 favorites]


The worldwithouthate site is a bit Time Cubey. [in a cute way, not in a "what is this bogus shiat?" way]
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:23 PM on July 18, 2011


No way Texas will miss out on killing this guy, regardless of Mr Bhuiyan's efforts.

Good for him for trying, though.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I admire Mr. Bhuiyan's integrity and his ability to forgive and in the abstract I wish that we could all be more like him.

But on the other hand, I wonder about the utility of so much forgiveness. Please keep in mind that I believe that a democratic government violates its stated goal by murdering people, even criminals, and I am against the execution of Mark Stroman on this principle.

But then I think of the people who are the ideological brethren of Mark Stroman, reading this eloquent argument for sparing him, and imagine their toxic sneers and their laughter at this victim's "weakness." Fascists thrive on the passivity of their victims.

I thought I had a conclusion when I started typing, but I just don't. I think that Rais Bhuiyan is a remarkable person and someone worth emulating, but I also wish that decent people would fly into a berzerker rage over these types of crimes and brutally eradicate Stroman's kind.

How's that for a contradiction?
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:31 PM on July 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


What a brave man. Thanks for posting.
posted by vidur at 7:35 PM on July 18, 2011


imagine their toxic sneers and their laughter at this victim's "weakness."

They can sneer and laugh all they like. It doesn't matter if they see his actions as a sign of weakness. He's doing it because it's right, not because of what people will think. If only more people would try to kill their enemies with kindness.
posted by chmmr at 7:44 PM on July 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is certainly a topic that brings about conflicting emotions. A small part of me sort of instinctually feels that this much incredible compassion and forgiveness is being "wasted," if that's even possible, on someone who doesn't deserve it. But then again, what Mr. Bhuiyan is doing is so completely good, so utterly and completely brave and heroic, that I can't really muster any real cynicism. He's turned "kill 'em with kindness" on its head, and it's a great reminder that responding to hate and violence with love and hope is a truly powerful act.

Bless that man.
posted by ORthey at 7:44 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


First of all, this is amazing.

Second, what the motherfuck:
Mr. Bhuiyan was discharged the day after being treated; he was told he did not have health insurance. For the next several months, he slept on people’s couches and had to rely on physicians’ samples for medication, including painkillers and eye drops. He had several operations on his right eye; he now has only limited vision in it.

He gets shot in the face and is discharged the next day for insurance reasons? The hospital didn't have a social worker? Any program to work with him? I mean, what the fuck Texas?
posted by schroedinger at 7:48 PM on July 18, 2011 [27 favorites]


Worst of humanity meets best of humanity. All kinds of moral explosions here.
posted by smirkette at 7:56 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mayor Curley I am with you. I don't even know what to say other than that I am opposed to the death penalty but I have completely conflicting emotions when it's pressumed that victims NEED to forgive their perpetrators and that that is an ideal that is ultimately the goal. I think from the outside watching someone who was horriffically violated/attacked etc there SHOULD be outrage on their behave and not an expectation that they will just forgive everything and make nicey. But of course, I also hold the kind of compassion that can truly forgive anything dear to my heart.

These things are so confusing. I heard an interview by him on NPR a while back and I was so deeply and unspeakably moved.
posted by xarnop at 8:11 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER: All kinds of moral explosions here.
posted by philip-random at 8:13 PM on July 18, 2011


Peace be with you, Rais Bhuiyan.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:25 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seems to me that Mr. Bhuiyan is a better Christian than most people who self-identify as such.
posted by notsnot at 8:37 PM on July 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


<derail />

A There were 38 pellets in my face. I couldn’t open my eyes or talk or open my jaw. I couldn’t even eat or drink anything. It was very painful to even swallow because I was shot in my throat. After a few hours in the hospital I could open my left eye. My face was heavily swollen. There were gunshot wounds. My face was horrible. I couldn’t believe it was my face. I prayed, “Please God, give me my face back.” ( Mr. Bhuiyan was discharged the day after being treated; he was told he did not have health insurance. For the next several months, he slept on people’s couches and had to rely on physicians’ samples for medication, including painkillers and eye drops. He had several operations on his right eye; he now has only limited vision in it.)

Sorry, an Australian here - how can this happen? How can a hospital do this? Isn't there some sort of - I don't know, I'm at a loss to understand. It's so utterly heartless, who could make a decision to discharge someone who is in obvious need of care?
posted by the noob at 8:40 PM on July 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


We are more an empathic species than a killer species. Ironically, empathic behavior and propensities evolved from a base of self interest. The small nomadic groups that watched out for each other; that shared their food; that shared child rearing; we have their genes, because those are the ones that survived.

Rais Bhuiyan is a remarkable example of empathic giving, and just for the record, note what a *powerful* impact this kind of act has. Also note, it's an *action*; it's a purposeful giving up of advantage and revenge, for the betterment of another human. I can't emphasize strongly enough that this is "catching", just like a virus. Also note that revenge also has survival value for our species, and is a part of who we are (although not so much as empathy [[cognitive neuroscience plays large here, in support]].

What an outstanding show of empathy; the power in what this man has done is simply beyond what most of us realize. It's just huge.

Last, I'm with "schroedinger" with outrage that this poor man, this victim was not shown even a fraction of the empathy by our sad, sad, sad poor-excuse-for-a-safety-net health care system that he has shown for his transgressor.

I am not a religious person, but must say with deep feeling to Mr. Bhuiyan, "may your god bless you as you have blessed your fellow man, with good feeling, and an object lesson in humanity that is as rare as they come". Thanks for helping me and everyone who hears of what you have done, to be reminded of a very important part of our humanity.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:43 PM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't have much hope that even Mr. Bhuiyan's actions will change the viewpoints or behaviors of the violent racist extremists, but I'd love to think that what he is doing will nudge some of the much larger number of people who have that tinge of xenophobia that they may never even acknowledge... people who will find themselves surprised (maybe even despite themselves) that a non-white, non-Christian person can display such grace, such love, and such soul.

And that America is better for having people like him in it.
posted by mauvest at 8:43 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, an Australian here - how can this happen? How can a hospital do this? Isn't there some sort of - I don't know, I'm at a loss to understand. It's so utterly heartless, who could make a decision to discharge someone who is in obvious need of care?

Every doctor in America.
posted by secondhand pho at 8:44 PM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mr Bhuiyan's attitude is commendable, but criminal law is not about the victim v the perpetrator. It is the state punishing the perpetrator, on behalf of all citizens. That's why criminal trials are expressed as The People v [accused person]* - once the matter is in police hands, it doesn't have all that much to do with the victim any more.

* or, in Commonwealth countries, R v [accused person], where R stands for either Rex or Regina, depending on who the monarch is at that point in time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:47 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems to me that Mr. Bhuiyan is a better Christian than most people who self-identify as such.

"The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget" - Imam Ali, son-in-law of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Forgiveness is not solely a Christian virtue.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:54 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seems to me that Mr. Bhuiyan is a better Christian than most people who self-identify as such.

He is no more a good Christian than he is a good Jew. The religion he's good at is the one he actually follows. (xp, what UR said.)
posted by escabeche at 8:56 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, an Australian here - how can this happen? How can a hospital do this? Isn't there some sort of - I don't know, I'm at a loss to understand. It's so utterly heartless, who could make a decision to discharge someone who is in obvious need of care?

I could say the same why your country cannot even supply water to a population of 20 million.

I don't know why he was discharged. Probably should not have been released. The important thing is he is alive and filled with compassion.
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could say the same why your country cannot even supply water to a population of 20 million.

How is this the same thing? My country can however extend universal health insurance without an irrational fear that a harbinger of a SovietNazi regime.
posted by the noob at 9:02 PM on July 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


So the good people of Texas won't trouble themselves to give the victim of this crime proper medical care, but they'll do him the solid of killing his assailant. At many times the cost.

Texas, shit like this is why residents of neighboring states groan inwardly when they see a car on their roads with a Texas plate.
posted by Pants McCracky at 9:12 PM on July 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Clearly execution is unpopular around here. But under a retributive theory of justice, as discussed by Kant, for example, Bhuiyan's opinions aren't relevant. Indeed, the execution of the defendant has nothing to do with the crime of which he was a victim.

I'm not going to get in to it more than that, as mine is obviously the minority opinion around here, but someone needed to at least raise the issue.
posted by valkyryn at 9:18 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Killing is always wrong.
posted by chmmr at 9:28 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


but someone needed to at least raise the issue.

The issue is raised. It is ever-present. Many more states than not have the death penalty.
posted by rtha at 9:28 PM on July 18, 2011


Secondhand Pho: That's not really fair. I've two doctors personally who have helped people in extenuating circumstances without insurance. For-profit hospitals are another issue.

Otherwise, I just have to say that I admire Mr. Bulyan immensely, because I don't know if I could ever feel the same way, were I in his position.
posted by KGMoney at 9:32 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I understand that while the Muslim religion has penalties for people who do bad things to other people, forgiveness is strongly encouraged. You can have the perpetrator's life (vengence) a financial compensation or you can forgive. As I understand it, this is not a State matter, but a matter if negotiations between offended and offending parties.
Mr Bhuiyan probably finds our concept of justice, where forgiveness by the victim is of no importance very odd.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:37 PM on July 18, 2011


Also, just because Kant said it doesn't make it right, or okay, or a correct analysis. It's certainly not a given that what even an extremely smart person in the 18th century thought is applicable today.

Did Kant's thinking on the issue take into account a system that is stacked against the poor, against people of color, against anyone not lucky enough to live in a county (like San Francisco) where the DA is unlikely to ever bring a capital crime charge? Did Kant wrangle with the reality of the cost (just the financial cost, let alone all the other kinds) of a capital punishment system? Would he approve of the system we have now, wherein not all murders are punished by execution? Was he thinking about this as an exercise in public policy, a system which must be implemented by actual people, using actual money and resources that must be balanced against other needs?

Yeah.
posted by rtha at 9:37 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


And not to derail too much, but I don't believe that Capital punishment is morally wrong; given the circumstances, I think it's completely warranted. My general opposition to the death penalty stems from all of the cases where the alleged perpetrator was the wrong color, or known to have other undesirable associations. If you have concrete evidence that the perpetrator shot somebody in the face with malice aforethought, especially given the state of our prison system, it's better to execute than to give life in prison, yeah?
posted by KGMoney at 9:39 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I also wish that decent people would fly into a berzerker rage over these types of crimes and brutally eradicate Stroman's kind.

Yr crazy nazi shit on here the past couple of days has been really ugly and off-putting. Be a little more Wade Watts. Wishing for people's eradication is always fucked up and gross.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:41 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was appalled by the fact Mr. Bhuiyan was kicked out of the hospital in his condition. The man could have died.
Here in Washington State there Are ways to help a man in his position.
Sliding scale clinics for example.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:45 PM on July 18, 2011


But on the other hand, I wonder about the utility of so much forgiveness.

Executing Stroman will likely make him a martyr and steel the resolve of those who agree with him.

Forgiveness, especially forgiveness of this magnitude, is far more likely to move and change the hearts and minds of Mark Stroman and his kind.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:55 PM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Secondhand Pho: That's not really fair. I've two doctors personally who have helped people in extenuating circumstances without insurance. For-profit hospitals are another issue.

I never said they all do that. The question was "who could make (such a decision)?" and the answer is all of them. They can all legally do that, if they so choose. I'm perfectly aware of some noble doctors out there, but there is no law preventing this from happening. That was my point.
posted by secondhand pho at 10:00 PM on July 18, 2011


Rais Bhuiyan: Another Irrelevant Victim?
posted by homunculus at 10:19 PM on July 18, 2011


You have to ask the question, is it legal to discharge a patient with life threating injuries. Perhaps I'll use this weeks greenchip on ask the experts. (no pun intended) Blanket assumptions are no substitute for research but I'm going to take a stab and say No, 99.6% of the time doctors would not release a patient with that medical criteria (Life threatening) Of course we know thats bullshit because somewere in there is the insurance company and it's regulations etc.

which leds to a higher question of healthcare in America, have fun with that. The amount of money america spends on healthcare astounds me, the maleficence does not.
posted by clavdivs at 10:22 PM on July 18, 2011


Hi. I witnessed a murder and was the victim of attempted murder. The murderer was caught, and sentenced to what is essentially life in prison. During the trial, the possibility of the death penalty was discussed, but for reasons I don't completely understand, it was removed from the list of options the prosecution was considering.

Before the murder, I supported the death penalty. But now I do not. However, I don't attend protests or candlelight vigils at the prison where the executions are held, I don't argue for their releases, and I think the people who do are misguided, ignorant, crazy, or just stupid, because I know from firsthand experience that with very few exceptions, the people in prison are exactly where they must be.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about the meanings of forgiveness and the goals of punishment. I don't know how, when, or if I forgave the murderer, but I never had a "moment of revelation"; at some point I simply realized I was no longer angry about what he did to me and my sister.

But I don't want to be the murderer's friend, or his pen pal, or campaign for his release. His thirty-year criminal record is a litany of arrests and prison time for assault and battery, rape, child molestation, armed robbery, and a long list of other offenses, and is capped with the murder for which he is incarcerated. He is a very dangerous sociopath who is incapable of functioning in society, so prison is where he belongs.

I don't know when or why I changed my mind about the death penalty, but I like to think I was able to hear some of the more rational reasons why it should be abolished and also because I believe we and society should strive to be better than what we are, and because I believe ultimately it accomplishes nothing except engender more of the violence it is intended to curb. I applaud Mr. Bhuiyan's efforts to save Mark Stroman's life, and for everyone's safety, the rest of Mark Stroman's life should be spent in prison.
posted by whoa is me at 10:30 PM on July 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


How is this the same thing? My country can however extend universal health insurance without an irrational fear that a harbinger of a SovietNazi regime.

It is not the same, it is a mis-matched comparison with only one basic question, how can this happen with a basic social need. The higher point is that your country has some geography but a small population, healthcare is an easier issue in regards to the amount of resourses needed to keep your population healthy.

A healthy population is an educated population.
posted by clavdivs at 10:32 PM on July 18, 2011


I thought I had a conclusion when I started typing, but I just don't. I think that Rais Bhuiyan is a remarkable person and someone worth emulating, but I also wish that decent people would fly into a berzerker rage over these types of crimes and brutally eradicate Stroman's kind.
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.
Socrates taught us: "Know thyself."
Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't...
From good to evil is one quaver, says the proverb.
And correspondingly, from evil to good.

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Ego and moral vanity fools us into thinking that we are good while evil men walk among us. The fight to brutally eradicate Stroman's kind is in your own heart.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:36 PM on July 18, 2011 [21 favorites]


"It's a universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility."
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (August-1914)

but

"Education doesn't make you smarter."
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

but on subject.

"To stand up for truth is nothing. For truth, you must sit in jail."
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
posted by clavdivs at 10:48 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


In response to the talk of the death penalty - given the wide variability of genetics and upbringing, there will always be a tiny minority of people like Mr Stroman who are unable to live within the rules of society we have created for ourselves. There are always contributing factors - mental illness, poverty, impulse control. It would be curious to "blame" him, strange as that term is - people like him have and will always exist - it's we who have outlawed killing. If we had, in some dystopian wild wild west alternate universe, created a society where killing is allowed, he could possibly be an upstanding member of the community.

Simply put, people like him are incompatible with the society we wish to create. We walk down the same path whether we expel them from society (imprisonment) or remove them entirely (execution).

Which goes back to the original statement: what kind of society do we want to live in? For reference, Singapore swiftly and efficiently executes murderers as a matter of course, and has a homicide rate of 0.39/100,000 as compared to the United States, which has a homicide rate of 5.5/100,000. It's not meant to be a fair comparison, but just a thought experiment: as a hypothetical, if the death penalty could reduce the number of homicides in your country from 16,000 per year to 1,000 per year, would you support it? What if it "only" reduced it to 8,000? Or what if it reduced it to 10?
posted by xdvesper at 10:55 PM on July 18, 2011


The low-hanging fruit in that thought experiment has nothing to do with the death penalty. Just get rid of that ridiculous right to bear arms. Her Majesty has no intention of seizing back her former colony, believe me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:58 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Clearly execution is unpopular around here. But under a retributive theory of justice, as discussed by Kant, for example, Bhuiyan's opinions aren't relevant. Indeed, the execution of the defendant has nothing to do with the crime of which he was a victim."

Sorry, Kant loses me right here: from your cite:

paraphrasing Kant: "The right to administer punishment is the right of a ruler to make violators and criminals suffer. It is impossible to punish the ruler himself since the authority to administer punishment belongs to him. A ruler can retire due to his crimes but cannot be punished."

I would guess you don't agree with that, unless you buy Kant's ideas, wholesale. Kant is far from the last word. He has some things to say, but he's fallible.

Here's my $.02: No one man's ideas about morality are universally correct; even the gods didn't/don't get it exactly right.

Of course, my $.02 contradicts my little aphorism. See what I mean?

posted by Vibrissae at 12:35 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I applaud Mr. Bhuiyan's efforts to save Mark Stroman's life, and for everyone's safety, the rest of Mark Stroman's life should be spent in prison.

That's a pretty bonkers and harrowing story, whoa is me. I'm sorry you had to live through that. But I don't think that Mr. Bhuiyan or anyone else is advocating for Stroman's release. thay're just advocating for a stay of execution.

From the website:

• The execution will only end another human life without eliminating the root cause.

• We need to show that bridges can be built between victims & victimizers through forgiveness.

• Stroman should have the chance to realize, through time & maturity, that hate is not the answer.

• The widows and children of the murder victims do not wish for the execution to happen.

• If executed, Stroman’s children would lose their father; they would become victims also.

posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:06 AM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


And why the fuck are we discussing Kant?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:07 AM on July 19, 2011


Singapore swiftly and efficiently executes murderers as a matter of course, and has a homicide rate of 0.39/100,000 as compared to the United States, which has a homicide rate of 5.5/100,000. It's not meant to be a fair comparison, but just a thought experiment: as a hypothetical, if the death penalty could reduce the number of homicides in your country from 16,000 per year to 1,000 per year, would you support it?

No, because it doesn't work. And even if it worked, there is still quite some room for error in sentencing, sentence being bought by judge election politics, sentence being bought by having more money for an army of lawyers (read, by money), sentence being lost for scarcity of money (read, relative poverty). But it doesn't work anyhow, for it doesn't reduce crime to zero, as one would expect when a potential criminal is faced with a likely, swift death sentence.
posted by elpapacito at 1:33 AM on July 19, 2011


Rais Bhuiyan is a truer American than most.
posted by bardic at 1:33 AM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


as a hypothetical, if the death penalty could reduce the number of homicides in your country from 16,000 per year to 1,000 per year, would you support it? What if it "only" reduced it to 8,000? Or what if it reduced it to 10?

It's hard for me to get into hypotheticals when they're suggesting something completely ludicrous. Since the death penalty was declared constitutional again in 1976, Texas has executed about 10 times the number of people as it's closest competitor, Georgia. If the death penalty is a deterrent, that should mean that Texas would have the lowest murder rate, right? Or at least it should have a lower murder rate than some namby-pamby liberal state like Massachusetts that doesn't execute anyone, yeah? Well, the Massachusetts murder rate is half that Texas (PDF), and Texas has a shockingly average murder rate. You're not asking us to consider a hypothetical; you're asking us to consider a demonstrably false premise.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:34 AM on July 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


I don't have much hope that even Mr. Bhuiyan's actions will change the viewpoints or behaviors of the violent racist extremists

Wahabi whackjobs? Or white Americans? Being Metafilter, I'm guessing you meant just the latter.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:37 AM on July 19, 2011


Concerning Mark Stroman (from the second link):

"Q What do you think of Rais Bhuiyan’s efforts to keep you from being executed?

A “Yes, Mr Rais Bhuiyan, what an inspiring soul...for him to come forward after what ive done speaks Volume’s...and has really Touched My heart and the heart of Many others World Wide...Especially since for the last 10 years all we have heard about is How Evil the Islamic faith Can be...its proof that all are Not bad nor Evil.”

Q Tell me what you are thinking now, a few weeks before your scheduled execution.

A “Not only do I have all My friends and supporters trying to Save my Life, but now i have The Islamic Community Joining in...Spearheaded by one Very Remarkable man Named Rais Bhuiyan, Who is a Survivor of My Hate. His deep Islamic Beliefs Have gave him the strength to Forgive the Un-forgiveable...that is truly Inspiring to me, and should be an Example for us all. The Hate, has to stop, we are all in this world together. [...] We need More Forgiveness and Understanding and less hate.”

I don't think he'll make a good martyr for those who agreed with (former) him.
posted by hat_eater at 2:56 AM on July 19, 2011


Yr crazy nazi shit on here the past couple of days has been really ugly and off-putting. Be a little more Wade Watts. Wishing for people's eradication is always fucked up and gross.

Yeah, when people tell me to tone down the violent anti-fascist rhetoric, I imagine them as Weimar liberals: watching Nazis sharpen knives while wringing their hands and saying "We should send someone a strongly-worded letter about this."

Using shame by example as your primary weapon is a beautiful, noble, ultimately effective route if your enemy actually can be shamed. Fascists can't be. It's hard to sing "We Shall Overcome" with a boot stomping your face. Direct action is the only solution for fascism, and it's best that every right-thinking person reconcile the notion that we may all be one day forced to take it. My notion of people flying into a "berserker rage" over a single hate crime is fanciful, but the underlying sentiment is absolutely not. I can admire the integrity and beautiful soul of Rev. Watts or Dr. King while acknowledging that their path is not always the appropriate path.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:59 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clavdivs

It is not the same, it is a mis-matched comparison with only one basic question, how can this happen with a basic social need. The higher point is that your country has some geography but a small population, healthcare is an easier issue in regards to the amount of resourses needed to keep your population healthy.

Need to get this out of the way...
Initially I thought you were making a point of Australia's shameful treatment of Aboriginal people - and heath standards amongst much of that poor population are comparable with the worst of the third world. - I thought this as is seems mentioning Australia in a metafiler thread invokes an instant YOU ARE ALL RACISTS reaction. I thought perhaps you were all about me and my kin being racists.

There are plenty of countries in the world with large populations and constrained geography with excellent universal healthcare - Taiwan, Japan, um... all of western Europe - Cuba. Lots. Sadly the US stands pretty much alone as a western democracy with no system of universal health care - interestingly it's also the the ONLY western democracy that has the death penalty - I don't think that point scoring on national rainfall totals really advances your argument in this.

There is a fascinating radio documentary from the excellent publicly funded and well resourced ABC that details the life of the allied prisoner of was under the Japanese - Prisoners of War: Australians under Nippon - I commend it as a great set of podcasts.

In this ex Commonwealth service men talk about being in the camp with the Americans, the Australians, Poms and Kiwis all pooled what meager food and medical supplies they could find, where the American prisoners wanted no part of this, for them it was every man for himself. It wasn't long before the Americans started dropping like flies - no support, no help, these sick POWs were cared for by the Commonwealth soldiers - it was that or they died.

I don't mean to make a point beyond the fact that a culture of universal inclusion does not necessarily mean that the population well educated or unconstrained by geography. Many of these men would have been rough "bushies", straight from the depression, not educated at all.

Sadly this culture of the "commonwealth" is rapidly draining away, largely I believe through the pervasive nature of the internet and with US attitudes.

The "higher point" you refer to has nothing to do with population, geography or precipitation.
posted by the noob at 3:50 AM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is not the same, it is a mis-matched comparison with only one basic question, how can this happen with a basic social need. The higher point is that your country has some geography but a small population, healthcare is an easier issue in regards to the amount of resourses needed to keep your population healthy.

Yes, all countries have the same amount of medical staff no matter what their overall population. That is why they have the same level of medical resources, and why it's easier to provide medical care for everyone in small countries. You should see Luxembourg!

It's just lucky that the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc. also have a tiny population, or as an EU national I'd get no medical care at all. In an unrelated note, the EU population is around half a billion.
posted by jaduncan at 4:51 AM on July 19, 2011


I never said they all do that.

Every doctor in America.

Relying on the subjunctive tense in the line you quoted is a pretty thin shield. All that aside, an amazing story.
posted by yerfatma at 5:10 AM on July 19, 2011


...Jesus don't like killin', no matter what the reason's for
And your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore...

-John Prine

It's always been very interesting to me how people react to a pacifistic stand. It's like there's a need to pick it apart and find examples of why it's not a logical or practical viewpoint. And for most people, logically, it's really not defensible. But ethical arguments almost always resolve to the argument that some things are right and some things are wrong.

I wish more people thought like Mr. Bhuiyan. I give him much respect, and wish him peace going forward.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:53 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


He gets shot in the face and is discharged the next day for insurance reasons? The hospital didn't have a social worker? Any program to work with him? I mean, what the fuck Texas?

"Texas, with over 300 people on death row, is spending an estimated $2.3 million per case."
posted by crayz at 5:59 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, all countries have the same amount of medical staff no matter what their overall population. That is why they have the same level of medical resources, and why it's easier to provide medical care for everyone in small countries.

"Texas, with over 300 people on death row, is spending an estimated $2.3 million per case."


Just maybe if they spent some more on education and healthcare...
posted by the noob at 6:41 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


During the trial, the possibility of the death penalty was discussed, but for reasons I don't completely understand, it was removed from the list of options the prosecution was considering.

I can speak to that.

Death penalty prosecutions are incredibly expensive. There are essentially two separate trials, one to establish the defendant's guilt or innocence, and then another to impose the death penalty. Then, because it's a death penalty case, the thing is going to be appealed all the way to the state and federal supreme courts, and though neither court is likely to take the case, there's still the prospect of a total of at least five "trials", two just to get the death penalty in the first place, then arguing the result before the state appellate court, then again before the federal district court on the habeas corpous plea, and then again on the federal appellate level. In short, trying for the death penalty essentially means signing up the Attorney General's office for about a decade of litigation. Oh, and they're likely to wind up paying for both sides of the litigation, as the vast majority of death penalty defendants have state-appointed counsel. Sure, some non-profits exist to defend death penalty cases, but they're over-worked and under-resourced, so there's no guarantee that they'll be able to help out.

With state budgets being what they are, most prosecutors only go for the death penalty when there's a pretty compelling political reason for doing so. Otherwise it's just not worth the hassle or expense.
posted by valkyryn at 6:50 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Singapore swiftly and efficiently executes murderers as a matter of course, and has a homicide rate of 0.39/100,000 as compared to the United States, which has a homicide rate of 5.5/100,000. It's not meant to be a fair comparison, but just a thought experiment: as a hypothetical, if the death penalty could reduce the number of homicides in your country from 16,000 per year to 1,000 per year, would you support it?

Another thought experiment: Singapore doesn't allow everyone and their dog to buy handguns. Would you support a ban on handguns in the US if it reduced the number of homicides to their level?
posted by ymgve at 7:22 AM on July 19, 2011


With state budgets being what they are, most prosecutors only go for the death penalty when there's a pretty compelling political reason for doing so.

Which is among the more disgusting things about the death penalty. If you kill a storekeeper while robbing the store, but the store is in a poor part of town with lots of crime, and the storekeeper isn't politically connected in some way, the likelihood of you being charged with a capital crime is a whole lot lower than if you shoot a storekeeper in a nice part of town, or if you shoot a cop, or if you commit the crime in a county where people consistently elect DAs who say they will not charge people with capital crimes.
posted by rtha at 7:57 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


or if you commit the crime in a county where people consistently elect DAs who say they will not charge people with capital crimes.

Need moar coffee This should say "consistently elect DAs who say they will charge people with capital crimes." San Francisco, for instance, tends to elect DAs who are against the death penalty, so your death penalty-eligible crime would have to be orders of magnitude more terrible in order to get you sent to the death house than if you committed one in Contra Costa, right across the bay.
posted by rtha at 8:08 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since the death penalty was declared constitutional again in 1976, Texas has executed about 10 times the number of people as it's closest competitor, Georgia. If the death penalty is a deterrent, that should mean that Texas would have the lowest murder rate, right? Or at least it should have a lower murder rate than some namby-pamby liberal state like Massachusetts that doesn't execute anyone, yeah?

What? No. There are other variables.

Personally, I go back and forth on whether the death penalty is a good idea.
posted by Jahaza at 8:11 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


the noob: "Just maybe if they spent some more on education and healthcare..."

For the record PDF, that's about all we spend our money on: 41.4% on education, 32.8% on health and human services. Police and public safety makes up 5.9% of the 2010-2011 budget. Is either of the first two figures enough, in raw dollars? I don't think so, but they both form a huge chunk of the state budget.
posted by fireoyster at 8:18 AM on July 19, 2011


Personally, I think some people probably do deserve to die for the things they've done.

But.

A government should not be in the business of killing its citizens.

It's as simple as that.
posted by slkinsey at 8:28 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


What? No. There are other variables.

Of course there are. There are many variables that contribute to an area's murder rate, and the presence of executions is not one of them. I will demonstrate this by taking the opposite tack and assuming that the assertion is correct instead of false.

We're assuming that the suggestion is true: executions are a deterrent to murder.

For the sake of this discussion we will assume the Texas and Georgia have had similar percentage gains in population since 1976. One might have outstripped the other a bit, but not by anything shocking.

Georgia has 9.8 million people.
Texas has 24.7 million people.

Georgia has executed 39 since 1976.
Texas has executed 379 people since 1976.

Since 1976, Georgia has executed 3.9 people per million of current population.
Since 1976, Texas has executed 15.3 people per million of population.

Georgia has a murder rate of 7.1 per 100,000 people.
Texas has a murder rate of 5.6 per 100,000 people.

We know (for the sake of this discussion) that state executions are a deterrent to murder. There are two possible conclusions.

Possible conclusion 1: The effect of executions is really negligible, and every execution has a nearly immeasurable effect on the overall rate. This would explain why the Texas murder rate is 20% lower than Georgia's despite having an execution rate that is 400% of Georgia's.

Possible conclusion 2: Every execution does have a decent effect on the murder rate, and Texas is some incredibly fucked up wasteland where the murder rate would be astounding if they didn't have capital punishment. Texas needs to execute 4 times as many people per capita as does Georgia to prevent the state from turning into Somalia.

Conclusion 2 is very unlikely. Conclusion 1 would suggest that executing people has essentially the same effect on murder rate as not doing it.

Conclusion: You are correct in asserting that there are many variables that dictate what an area's murder rate would be. If the presence of capital punishment is one of them, it is one of the least important and should not be touted as an effective tool in reducing crime.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:12 AM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Which is among the more disgusting things about the death penalty.

I'd tend to agree, but for completely opposite reasons. I think executions should be a lot more common, so passing on them when they aren't politically expedient bugs me. Poor and/or "unimportant" murder victims don't deserve justice any less than those which result in a media circus.

Note that my support for the death penalty is completely independent of its alleged effects on crime and criminality. I simply view it as the only moral response to murder,* i.e. I consider no result that ends with a convicted murderer not being executed to be just. As a result, I consider statistics about which states/countries have more/less executions/crimes to be irrelevant.

*I do mean murder here, in the technical sense.
posted by valkyryn at 9:23 AM on July 19, 2011


Murderers probably don't deserve to live, but I don't understand why anyone would assume that what people deserve has anything to do with the correct, moral way of dealing with those people.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:33 AM on July 19, 2011


There are plenty of countries in the world with large populations and constrained geography with excellent universal healthcare - Taiwan, Japan, um... all of western Europe - Cuba

Again, who in part pays and supplies protection for these countries, the U.S. The benefits of closing our bases and not giving a dime in material aid to these countires or any country might offset our health care systems problems but unlikly.

I agree that health care in america needs a serious overhaul. The larger issue is that your country is addressing these problems, desalination (sic sp) might help and I see alot are being built. perhaps what I want to take away here is that many countries have problems and it is important to recognize those countires who are changing. On a personal level, i live near the largest supply of freshwater in the world (well close to being the largest) so drought is not a concern of mine directly though I am not ignorant to it's effects. I also have no insurance but the state has provided me with good care for which i thank my country and state.

I was not aware of the indigious problems cocerning people and I was not alluding to that at all and from what i understand alot is being done to help change this.

and Noob, thank a Aussie serviceman for me for your countrymans help of our solders, i was aware of that and gratitude should expressed.
posted by clavdivs at 9:56 AM on July 19, 2011


bardic: Rais Bhuiyan is a truer American than most.

That is completely ridiculous. Are you honestly trying to say that American-ness is tied to forgiveness? At what point in history has this been claimed by the majority of the population? And if forgiveness defines Americans, but "most" don't measure up, then what? They lose their status as citizens?

Even as hyperbole, it's offensive: how dare you claim that behavior with national status? It's got nothing to do with what flag he flies.
posted by dubold at 9:58 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


With One Day Left to Save Attacker, Bhuiyan's Case Goes to the Media ... and Federal Court
posted by homunculus at 10:53 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading the complaint in the last link, it's not actually clear to me that Bhuiyan has standing to sue here.

True, he has been a victim of a crime. But not of crime for which Stroman is being executed. That would be murder. If Bhuiyan were a victim of murder, well, he wouldn't be filing lawsuits, that's for sure. Bhuiyan is not a victim of the crimes Stroman committed against the other victims, so why he has any right to speak here is not clear to me.

True, he has made out a basic claim that the state has interfered with his rights with respect to the crimes of which he himself was a victim, but one cannot be executed for attempted murder, so why he should have any input into that process is beyond me. Perhaps a Texas criminal attorney would care to chime in?
posted by valkyryn at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2011


I thought if somebody shot you in the face in Texas you had to apologize to them.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:36 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am surprised that none of the physicians or law enforcement people involved referred him to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. Not only should his expenses been reimbursed under Texas law, many professionals will bill the fund directly and the victim will have no out of pocket expense.
posted by colt45 at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Relying on the subjunctive tense in the line you quoted is a pretty thin shield.

Not really. The question was "Who could (do such a thing)?

And I stand by my answer that EVERY doctor could. That was the entire point of my comment. Do you really think a person could believe every single doctor in America is motivated entirely by profit? But I appreciate you trying to clarify the intent of my own statements to me. Thanks for that.
posted by secondhand pho at 4:45 PM on July 19, 2011


The point of forgiveness of an enemy is not to change the minds of those that hurt you (though it's nice when that happens).

The point is not to become like the ones that hurt you. It's an advanced form of moral action, and also a form of self-preservation, because if you allow yourself to be consumed by hatred, then you might as well be dead already.

You can see it in religious terms, or you can see it as a sophisticated form of coping mechanism in a world where shitty people do shitty things. It's damn difficult to do and extremely commendable, though, and I am in awe of Mr. Bhuiyan's strength.

WTF Texas?

Honey, I live here, and I say that every damn day.
posted by emjaybee at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bhuiyan is not a victim of the crimes Stroman committed against the other victims, so why he has any right to speak here is not clear to me.

He has the right to speak, because he is a victim of Stroman, in spite of managing to survive his attacker. He has the right to point out that the families of the victims who died also object to Stroman's execution. He also has the right to speak his mind as much as anyone who lives in the United States.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


and Noob, thank a Aussie serviceman for me for your countrymans help of our solders, i was aware of that and gratitude should expressed.

Have done, and they said - np, anything for clavdivs and his homies
posted by the noob at 2:09 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am surprised that none of the physicians or law enforcement people involved referred him to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund.

He did get that compensation -- see the interview with him here.
posted by Houstonian at 5:05 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


He has the right to point out that the families of the victims who died also object to Stroman's execution. He also has the right to speak his mind as much as anyone who lives in the United States.

And he can stand on a soap box and point that out all day long. No one's stopping him, and that's not the basis of his lawsuit.

The lawsuit refers to a Texas statute regarding victims' rights. Specifically, it gives victims the right to be heard at the sentencing hearings of their attackers. My question is why Bhuiyan has the right to speak at a sentencing hearing related to a crime of which he was not the victim. I'm not sure the statute gives him that right, and he certainly doesn't have it absent that.
posted by valkyryn at 5:26 AM on July 20, 2011


A DFW local news station is reporting that Stroman has been executed.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:16 PM on July 20, 2011


I'm not sure the statute gives him that right, and he certainly doesn't have it absent that.

Well, no worries. Stroman's dead. Case closed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 PM on July 20, 2011


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