Saturday, February 6, 2010

Innocent Because He's Jewish?

I never heard of Martin Grossman until now. After being on death row for 25 years without a peep from anyone, people are suddenly scrambling to his defense.
Amnesty International says he had a rough life, some Jews say he's sorry. Now, I'm getting emails to sign a petition protesting his sentence.


People have suddenly woken up and decided to protest the impending execution of Martin Grossman, the man who shot and killed police officer Margaret Park because she was arresting him for possessing and discharging a stolen firearm, as well as violating his parole as a previously-convicted felon. His appointment with G-d is scheduled for February 16th.

On the petition site, where they're trying to gather 10,000 signatures, the story behind the murder has been carefully blurred and distorted into cyber-hoax that too many people believe, no matter how many clich├ęs give it away.

He intentionally attacked a police officer and then shot her to death... specifically to avoid going back to jail. He told her so. Now they want me to sign the petition. Are you with me so far?

The petition website throws a creative, flowery spin on the story, crafting a fairy tale that makes Grossman look more like an innocent bystander than a proven killer. Among other travesties of the truth, throughout the revised story, the writer conspicuously avoids mentioning that the actual victim was a police officer.

Being "taken aback by her sudden approach" and that he just "lost it" is not only false, it's a laughable defense. He was caught playing with a stolen gun. If he was truly startled, he would have shot her on the spot. Instead, he just asked the officer not to send him back to jail, which is what ALL ex-cons say when they're stupid enough to get arrested again. He and his friend attacked her, beating her with her own flashlight, she shot his friend, Grossman grabbed the gun and killed her, with no regard to her life or to his Judaism. He knew what he was doing, which is why he was found guilty. There's no grassy knoll in this story.

His sentence is no less deserved than any other cop-killer in a similar case...which brings up another point: Contrary to the petition's claim, there's nothing "unusual and arbitrary" about this death sentence. It also says that if Grossman were tried today, he wouldn't get the death penalty, but that's false as well. In fact, sentencing today is harsher. If Joel Steinberg was tried today (instead of 1987) for his 6 year-old daughter's death, he would have been convicted of 2nd degree murder instead of manslaughter. David Berkowitz (Son Of Sam) would have gotten the chair if not for a plea down to life (though he does get released after 957 years). To this day, we never cared about their sicknesses, upbringing or bar mitzvah parshiot. They kill, they pay.

This is, unfortunately, a crime that has occurred many times before & since in a similar manner with similar motives. Jews wouldn't think twice about putting him to death if it wasn't for this bogus petition that validates itself by lying and hiding behind the killer's birthright, which he tossed away years before. Beyond that, it just relies on the ridiculous, which is apparently acceptable to many.

"He didn't mean it..." "He promises never to do it again..." and "He regrets it" are script lines normally recalled from a bad 1970's courtroom TV show, but over 4,000 people have fallen for it so far. In actual fact, the goal of 10,000 signatures probably won't change the governor's mind, but I wish I didn't have to watch this.

Posting his bar mitzvah picture and sobbing over his unfortunate upbringing doesn't change the original truth. He stopped being that bar mitzvah long ago. Very sad teen years, a burglary conviction, then, at 19, a murder conviction. It's easy to find G-d while on death row, but that doesn't change the facts. Feel sorry for him, even mourn for him, but don't pretend he's innocent or that he's changed. I should hope he has. Repentance before death is one privelige Officer Park wasn't granted.

Suicide bombers often come from abused, tragic lives with no future, but that doesn't make them innocent and defending them desecrates all that's holy, especially the memories of the victims.

Unfortunately for Grossman, like any cop-killer, Jewish or not, he is being punished according to the law of the land and Jewish law as well. It's a shame, but it's not wrong.

If his name wasn't "Grossman," we wouldn't be here, 25 years late, considering the manipulative, yet surprisingly flimsy revisionist story put across here. None of us even cared a month ago, because most of us never heard of him. Some now even refer to him by his Hebrew name. Tragically absurd.

I'd like to see what a petition
in favor of his death sentence would yield. I also wonder what would have happened if Officer Park was Jewish. Martin Grossman murdered a police officer with full awareness of his actions and even admitting his motive as he did it. The punishment for that in Florida is death. Very sad, but simple and just.

1 comment:

Mike Greenberg said...

and I thought it was just me who thinks as you do. Kol HaKavod for writing what needed to be written, saying what needed to be said. Too many people I have spoken with about this give the "he only got the death penalty because he was Jewish." Laughable is the right word.