Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One (Hopefully) Last Word On The Execution Of Martin Grossman

Unless you've lived under a rock for the last two weeks, you're probably aware that Martin Grossman was executed last week for the murder of wildlife officer Peggy Park in 1984. As the execution date drew closer, the case gained a lot of publicity as many Jews in the Orthodox world (as well as many non-Jews as well) attempted to persuade Governor Crist to either commute the sentence to life in prison without parole or grant a stay of execution. In the end, Grossman's appeals were exhausted and he was executed.

During the course of the campaign, some people decided to reach out and harass the mother of Peggy Park for not joining the campaign for clemency for Grossman. The blogger, OnionSoupMix, lives in Mrs. Parks' neighborhood and has written a letter to her apologizing for the actions of her more extreme coreligionists. You can find it on her blog, Matzav and ChabadOnLineLive. I urge you to read it and, if you agree with her sentiments, send her your name so she can attach it to the letter.

Personally, I am sickened by some of the sentiments expressed by people towards the Park family in the aftermath of the execution. Some of the "choice" comments from Matzav and COL commentators include (anything in brackets is my own translation/interpretation):

L’ma’ashe she caused retzichah, we do not have to apologize, even mitzad menshlachkait.
(Translation: In fact, she caused murder [Martin Grossman's, I'm presuming] we do not have to apologize, even with regard to being a mentsch[acting properly]).

the man did tishuva [repentance]! all he wanted was to live in jale [sic] for the rest of his life….and even so this rishanta [wicked woman] insisted on his death and went to watch it!

wow, it would be nice to focus more on ahavat yisroel [love of your fellow Jew] than feelings of a mother who waited 25 years to have a Jew dead!

"halacha shesav sone leyaakov" [it's a "law" that non-Jews hate Jews] she hates you and you r [sic] going to gather apology signatures!

tell her to get A LIFE!
Martin Grossman killed Margaret Park in 1984.
the state of Florida executed Martin Grossman in 2010.
MOTHER OF PEGGY PARK, MOVE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Personally, these comments disgust and sicken me and make me feel ashamed to be in the same species, let alone religion. Whether you think the execution was justified or not, I utterly fail to understand how someone cannot empathize with a woman who has waited twenty five years to see justice done in the murder of her daughter. People who, God forbid, lose children NEVER "get a life" and "move on," even when they die natural or accidental deaths.

To me, someone who cannot empathize with a mother wanting the full measure of legal justice for her slain child, regardless of the length of time involved, is simply uncaring, unfeeling and does certainly does not possess one of the traits that is supposed to be characteristic of Jews -- rachmanim (people who have mercy). And I feel sorry for them -- moreso than I do for Mr. Grossman. At least, at the end of his life, he learned to empathize with someone else and apologize for causing them pain. Others in our community seem to relish in it and want to victimize the Parks all over again.

The Wolf


Aaron S. said...

IF there is any validity or truthfulness to the claim that Mrs. Parks was harassed, it was done by lone rangers few in numbers, who represented no one but themselves.

And indeed it would have been counterproductive to the massive (50,000 Jews calling, mailing and emailing the Governor - by the Governors own count of just who got through) effort of the Frum Community's Pikuch Nefesh campaign to save Reb Michoel Yechiel z"l.

BrooklynWolf said...


It may be true that it was only a few "lone rangers," but, in the end, it reflected (very badly) on all of us. Showing that we are distancing ourselves from them is a good thing, IMHO.

The Wolf

Aaron S. said...

Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill.

BrooklynWolf said...

Sadly, I don't believe it's just a molehill.

The Wolf

Aaron S. said...

I do.

BrooklynWolf said...

Then we just have to agree to disagree on this issue. You don't put it on your blog and I'll put it on mine. :)

The Wolf

SubWife said...

For the lack of better word - ugh. Completely agree with you.

Moishe said...

>>Reb Michoel Yechiel z"l<<

Off the Derech said...

Now that's what I call a good post.

Neil Harris said...

Great post and very well stated.

Bob Miller said...

Jews at all levels should not be stampeded into actions that could have negative effects. We have had the reputation of a thoughtful people.

Those who encourage Jews to petition, write in, or call in about an issue of concern owe us a complete, factual explanation of the situation and the needed response. Hyperbole, extreme language, evasion of relevant facts, and oversimplification are not helpful.

E-Man said...

I wish every Jew thought like you Wolf. These idiots make our religion look stupid and uncompassionate. I am truly disgusted with these people. This is probably one of the worst Chilul Hashem's I can think of.

frumskeptic said...

"Personally, these comments disgust and sicken me and make me feel ashamed to be in the same species, let alone religion."


Frayda said...

It is sad and scary that people think this way and say it out loud. Don't people have any empathy for non-Jews? They are still created btzelem Elokim.

Nice Jewish Guy (signed out) said...

Nutters abound. I awear, this religion is going to hell in a handbasket.

And "Reb Michoel Yechiel Z"L" (Barf indeed!) ate a treif chicken sandwich before he was so rightfully executed. For, you know, bashing a woman's head in and then blowing her brains out all over her vehicle.

BrooklynWolf said...

"Reb Michoel Yechiel Z"L" (Barf indeed!)

This post is not really about Grossman, but about the harassment of Mrs. Parks. But that said, I'm reminded of the following exchange from "The Green Mile" by Stephen King (an excellent book, BTW). It happens just after Arlen Bitterbuck is executed and his body loaded onto a gurney.


Percy slapped the dead man's cheek. The flat smacking sound of his hand made us all jump. Percy looked around at us with a cocky smile on his mouth, eyes glittering. Then he looked at Bitterbuck again. "Adios, Chief," he said. "Hope hell's hot enough for you."

"Don't do that," Brutal said, his voice hollow and declamatory in the dripping tunnel. "He's paid what he owed. He's square with the house again. You keep your hands off him."


The Wolf

Shlomo Zalman said...

Jewish Guy -

Reb Michoel Yechiel HY"D ben Avraham Grossman did NOT eat treif. So stop the sheker about a kodosh who was niftar al Kiddish Hashem - BECAUSE HE IS A JEW. The murderous State of Florida would never have sentenced a non-Jew given all the facts (i.e. non pre-mediatated and a whole host of other reasons) if it was a sheigitz. Reb Michoe Yechiel HY"D ben Avrohim received a kosher meat sandwich from the prison canteen -- which was required to provide kosher food equivelent to their non kosher menu after Florida lost a civil rights lawsuit by Jewish prisoners.

BrooklynWolf said...

The murderous State of Florida would never have sentenced a non-Jew given all the facts (i.e. non pre-mediatated and a whole host of other reasons) if it was a sheigitz.


Two points:

First, please do not use derogatory terms like "sheigitz" on this blog.

Second, oh, please. Florida has executed 69 people since 1976. It doesn't matter one iota whether the convict is Jewish or not.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

And see that... you made me forget myself. :)

The thread isn't about Grossman, it's about Mrs. Parks. I purposely avoided commenting on whether the sentence should have been commuted or not BECAUSE I didn't want to open up this debate.

The Wolf

Shlomo Zalman said...

Mr. Wolf -

You completely missed the point. It certainly did matter much more than one iota that he was Jewish. Florida does NOT execute every convicted murderer. In fact, they don't even sentance to death (let alone carry out) a majority of convicted murderers. It is a distinct minority that are accorded this treatment.

Therefore it is based upon the circumstances of the murder that determines whether capital punishment is applied. You will NOT find another single case similar to the Grossman case where the facts (i.e. non pre-meditation etc.) resulted in the carrying out of a death sentence.

BrooklynWolf said...


Personally I think you're wrong. Not necessarily about the fact that Martin Grossman shouldn't have been executed but that he was executed because he was Jewish. Sorry, don't buy it.

In any event, it doesn't matter -- it's not the point of this thread. If you want to talk about Martin Grossman, then start a thread on your own blog. If you want to talk about the harrassment done to Mrs. Parks, you're more than welcome to comment.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Follow Up:

I went to visit with Mrs. Park this afternoon. She was very grateful and after she read the letter, she started crying and asking me how she can ever thank these Jewish people who signed the letter because there were no addresses or numbers. She asked me to thank them for her if I ever see them. I thought the readers here would want to know, so I am passing that on.