Editor's Comment: Since publishing this article, the Governor of Texas refused to grant a stay of execution. They killed Mark Stroman yesterday. See the second article below. - LMB
The guy on the right is Mark Stroman, and the Great State of Texas plans to murder him on Wednesday.
This post is not about him, except incidentally.
The guy on the left is Rais Bhuiyan.
This post is pretty much about him.
On September 21, 2001, the guy on the right shot the guy on the left in the face, hoping to kill him. Just as he'd killed Waqar Hasan on September 15 and as he would kill Vasudev Patel on October 4 of that year. His death sentence is for the murder of Patel. It was a hate crime. All three shootings were. Stroman, a white supremacist, was targeting men he believed to be of middle eastern descent in revenge for the September 11 acts of terrorism.
Except Bhuiyan didn't die. And in the last few months, he's undertaken a truly daunting task.
He's trying to save Stroman's life.
I wrote about Bhuiyan's astounding capacity for forgivenessback in May. That post was occasioned by a press conference at which Bhuiyan announced his efforts. It will be no surprise to anyone, I don't think, to learn that so far Bhuiyan has not succeeded. As I said, Texas intends to murder Stroman on Wednesday. It still intends to.
But where press conferences and a websiteand a fair amount of publicity (and a lonesome blawgger in Ohio) haven't achieved anything what can you do.
Bhuiyan wants to meet with Stroman. Stroman wants to meet with Bhuiyan. They both want to engage in a process of mediation leading, perhaps, to reconciliation. The Texas Department of Criminal Juistice (the state prison folks) have a mediation program in place for violent criminals and their victims. Just as soon as Stroman's legal efforts to avert his execution next week, the TDCJ can begin deciding whether to allow mediation for the two of them which could begin as soon as 5 or 6 months after Stroman is dead.
Oh, that won't work.
Texas, of course, like Ohio, like other states, like the feds, is deeply committed to ensuring the rights of crime victims. Their voices will be heard. Their needs will be met. They will be offered support and comfort and help. As long as they seek vengeance. The rights of victims don't extend to seeking mercy. At least, not so far.
Bhuiyan's rights have been violated and are being violated. He wants Stroman's execution stopped so that they can engage in mediation. Wednesday he filed a lawsuit. He explained why in an op-ed for the Austin American-Statesman.
I love the great state of Texas, but it makes me mad that some of the state's elected and appointed officials want to kill Mark. He shot and tried to kill me, yet I have never wanted him to die. The family members of Mark's other victims support my personal battle to stop his execution.
So why do some of the state's elected and appointed officials think we should execute him? In whose name is this going to happen?
That is why I am taking Gov. Rick Perry to court. Perry decreed that April 10-16 would be Victims' Rights Week. "I encourage all Texans," he said, "to join in this effort by learning more about victims' rights and supporting victims of crime whenever possible. We can help our fellow Texans on the road to recovery with compassion and respect."As a victim of a "hate crime," I had hoped to see a little of that compassion and respect. The Texas Victims' Bill of Rights says I am entitled to dignity. I have been bitterly disappointed by the legal process, which only causes me more suffering. Nobody told me what was happening at the trial; the prosecutors told the jury, "This man needs to die."
Why? Mark Stroman is no saint, but he is not the man who shot me. I met a lady recently who described to me how Mark had saved her 78-year-old mother's life; even today he writes to her every week, helping to encourage her out of her suicidal depression.
I have no recollection whatsoever of ever being asked if I wanted the death penalty; I have never been allowed mediation with Mark.
Source: Gamso - For the Defense
Texas Man Executed for Race-Related Killings
By Timothy Williams
July 20, 2011
A Texas man who said he wanted to kill Arabs to avenge the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was executed on Wednesday evening, after a last-minute appeal by one of his victims to save his life was rejected.
The man, Mark Stroman, 41, shot at least three men he mistook for Arabs in the weeks after the attacks, killing two of them. He had said he shot the men out of a sense of patriotism and likened them to acts undertaken during war.
Mr. Stroman was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., The Associated Press said.
His surviving victim, Rais Bhuiyan, a 37-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, who was partly blinded in his right eye after being shot in the face with a shotgun, led a campaign to spare Mr. Stroman.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lee Yeakel, a federal court judge in Austin, Tex., denied a lawsuit filed by Mr. Bhuiyan to delay the execution. Mr. Bhuiyan had sought to meet with Mr. Stroman as part of a mediation process that his and Mr. Stroman’s lawyers said were guaranteed under Texas law. The lawyers tried to get a state judge to intervene, but late Wednesday the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to stop the execution.
In a separate effort, Mr. Stroman’s lawyers petitioned the United States Supreme Court to delay the execution because Mr. Stroman’s previous legal representatives had failed to detail adequately the childhood abuse and other trouble that may have led him to go on the shooting spree. The court rejected those appeals.
In the past several months, Mr. Bhuiyan had been meeting with Texas officials and started an online petition to try to prevent the execution.
Mr. Stroman was convicted of killing Vasudev Patel, 49, an Indian immigrant, during the attempted robbery of a convenience store near Dallas in October 2001. Mr. Stroman was also charged in the fatal shooting of Waqar Hasan, 46, a Muslim born in Pakistan.
Mr. Stroman was not tried in that shooting, or that of Mr. Bhuiyan, because he had already been convicted for the murder of Mr. Patel and sentenced to death.
Mr. Stroman had a long criminal record, including time in prison for robbery and credit card fraud.
In a July 13 note posted on his blog, Mr. Stroman wrote that the last few days before his scheduled execution had been strangely rewarding.
“It is definitely an experience that has already molded me into a new person,” he wrote. “I’ve seen so many people worldwide trying to save my life in the last few days and weeks and it’s a surreal feeling. It’s like my life is flashing right before my eyes. As I said in an earlier blog ... the closer I get to my death Peace I seem to find.”
Source: New York Times