Mark Anthony Stroman is a Texas man who shot several people he believed were Muslims just after 9/11. He murdered two (an Indian Hindi and a Pakistani Muslim), and tried to kill a Bangladeshi Muslim as well. That third man, Rais Bhuiyan has been pleading for a stop to Mr. Stroman's execution, which another article says is scheduled for today.
I'm not talking about the execution, really. Or even the fact that he still seems to Not Get It (see comments about how not all Muslims are evil, for example). What struck me was the interview responses he gave. See, Mr. Stroman was sent a letter and provided written responses which the NY Times printed. Here is him responding to what he thinks of Mr. Bhuiyan's efforts:
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.
I'll be honest, I found myself cringing as I read that paragraph and others like it - and not because of the sentiment expressed in that last sentence. The random capitalization, the overuse of ellipses, the apostrophe use... I found myself wondering whether the word "literate" could truly be applied to him. And that's not a swipe; it's tragic. Here is a man offered a national spotlight at the very end of his life, facing the exact day he knows he'll die, but he cannot express his ideas or even his outrage or angst in a way that communicates those ideas to others. I struggle to see anything but a killer and a racist lacking all education. And I know no person can be boiled down so simply.
This is the purpose of education: to give people the tools needed to express what they think and feel. It is in a way a human right. I know it's hard to work up pity for hate crimes, but the fact that Mr. Stroman can't offer something better than this when he has several days to work on it and knows it's going in a major newspaper - or maybe that he doesn't feel better is expected of him? - that's truly pitiable.