Opinion: Supporting the Supporters: A Case for Martin Grossman

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grossmanBy S. Friedman, Matzav.com

There were many points brought up as reasons for not supporting Martin Grossman’s stay of execution, and would I like to address some of them.

He was a murderer

Martin did not commit a premeditated act.  For some strange reason, Governor Crist felt that the fact that Martin tried to cover up the act after he committed the crime somehow equated that.  He committed murder as a 19 year old while under the influence of drugs, was he expected not to try to get caught?

The issue of his IQ is not a minor one.  That seems to have been what prompted Christian groups, including even the Pope to intervene on his behalf as well.  Did he commit murder?  Undoubtedly.  Was he someone who was such a monster that society could not even tolerate his existence in a jail or mental institution?  I think not.

How can you consider him a martyr and say Hy”d?

I personally wouldn’t, and if I cared to get caught in phraseologies such as that, I would ask Daas Torah if he indeed was considered one.  People obviously felt compassion and pride that he had seemingly returned to his yiddishkeit instead of rotting out and further degenerating in jail.

If he had been a non Jew you wouldn’t care

Care?  Actually, we wouldn’t even know about it.  If you are such a person that concerns themselves with wrongdoings the world over, then perhaps his cause would appeal to you too.  But he is a Jew, and we look out for our own.  That’s not something to be ashamed of.

We’re in Golus, don’t make waves and try to tell the government what to do

We are in Golus, and it isn’t proper for Yidden to make a ruckus and in general we do not try to draw attention to ourselves.  But we are a talking about saving a Jewish life.  Should we give up on Jonathan Pollard so as not to seem prejudiced in the media’s eyes?

It is a tremendous Chillul Hash-m in the eyes of the victim’s family

Firstly, the Gedolim that signed onto this were well aware of that factor, and obviously deemed saving Martin’s life to take precedence.  Also, I once saw a comment on a goyish newspaper explaining the concept of an eruv, and how the religious Jews try to (chas v’sholom) “trick G-d” into “thinking” that a public domain is really a private one.  If we have something to do that is right, then we can’t change that because some anoy yehudim will condemn us for it

Stop saying everything is Anti-Semitism

I wouldn’t say that the execution had anything to do with Anti-Semitism.  The judgment was handed down many years ago, and when the time came to actually carrying out his sentence, then people came in to try and save his life (not pardon him).  I would say that if anything other than the judicial system influenced this case, it was that the victim was a government worker, and they feel they have to take an extra harsh stand (which I can’t blame them for doing).  If people are caught up with faulting the government, then I believe they are wrong.  We had to try out best, and we did.       

After reading so many people’s comments to the effect of “being embarrassed,” and “he got what he deserved,” and to the general bitterness of those who themselves deemed Martin as unworthy of saving(living), I came to the following conclusion.  You can’t tolerate being moved.  You can’t acknowledge a cause to be worthy of making your heart sink, or conversely to open your hearts to inspiration.  Instead you come up with “brilliant” comments and rebuttals, and prefer being complacent on your high loft and not having to actually feel or do anything as a response to any situation. 

It is the same commentators who try to dismiss any happening that stir emotions amongst those in our community as being “naïve” or “fanatical.”   The notion that anyone should have to improve, take action, or change seems to abhor you. If you choose to live your life tightly protected by layers of denials and mockery, then ultimately it is you who lose.

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  1. Thank you for writing what I was thinking.
    Just to add one point- the family may have gone through alot, but to seek revenge for 25 years, is not something I think is admirable. And if you read about how her mother stared and watched Martin be exucuted, I think she has issues as well. That is not something, as yidden we should relate to as “closure.”

  2. i dont know who is right or wrong

    another blog has a different presentation

    it would be nice to see the two blogs engaged in intelligent civil dialoge

    maybe we can start now


    no rechilus

    be nice boys and girls

  3. Supporting clemency for Martin A”H was the right thing to do. The death penalty should only be used for criminals who are a threat to society. Martin became a changed man during the years he spent in prison. He felt true remorse for his crime and expressed it in the last few minutes he had.
    The Jewish community had a responsibility to try and save his life. 50,000 of us did. As for those who did nothing, and those who crticized the efforts they will have to face their own concious. The Torah says”lo saamod al dam raecha.” Martins last two words were “Ahavas Yisroel.” A good lesson for eveybody.

  4. He killed a police officer who found him committing a crime.

    Under Florida law, death that occurs in the commission of a felony is First Degree Murder.

    So yes, he was a murderer.

    And, just so you know, the Pope is opposed to the Death Penalty in all cases; the Vatican sends letters opposing any execution. Unlike American Orthodox Rabbis, who are the only Jewish group in America to support the Death Penalty.

  5. There are plenty of worthy causes, but a druggie cop killer is not one of mine. I’ll rally around dying kids in Haiti, just off the top of my head.

  6. “he had seemingly returned to his yiddishkeit”

    A fried chicken sandwich from the canteen, just moments before he knew he was going to be standing in front of the heavenly court, does not “seem” like returning to yidishkeit.

    I cannot figure out why the frum media is trying to make this man out to be a B.T.. There must be a valid reason. I just don’t understand it.

  7. At first, I thought this is crazy to sign a petition for a murderer. But then looking into the info on the web site, I found that he had a difficult childhood and upbringing with the sickness and death of his father, and an inadequate mother. He also possibly had a learning disability.

    I was then motivated to sign the petition and email the governor and staff which I did. However, it was pointed out to me that just about everybody on death row has some bad circumstances. Take for example Lemrick Nelson. I believe he bounced around from relative to relative and was thrown out of various schools, but I don’t for one minute think that would excuse his killing of Yankel Rosenbaum HYD. I wish he received the death penalty for that, like he deserved. Being that the case, I cannot possibly make an exception for somebody just because he is a Jew. That is a lack of Yashrus. Automatically, that means the halacha can’t be any other way. Is our blood redder than anybody else’s? Yehareg val yaavor applies to shefichas domim of a non-jew as well, as far as I know. So we are not allowed (as if we need a rayah) to favor ourselves over other humanity.

    I have much charata over the chillul hashem this uproar created. We need to go back to emes and yashrus to guide everything we do.

    I am reminded of the story of the father in the holocaust who had a card that would enable his own son to be freed from the gas chamber, but it dawned on him that somebody else might be used to fill the quota of killing. The father asked a shaila and the Rov could not give him an answer. He said, if I can’t get an answer, there must be a problem, and he declined to use the card, and let his son be killed. This is what a Yid must aspire to. This type of Yashrus and Anivus that says my own family is no more important than somebody else’s. In this case, it dictates that we have rachmanus on the Parks family, not on the murderer, just as by Lemrick Nelson.

    I am sure the RBSH took Martin’s tshuvah into account, and he is now clean. However, we do not have this power down here.

    May we know no more tzaar.

  8. “Martin did not commit a premeditated act,”
    writes Mr. Friedman.

    But he really did—according to numerous
    reviews involving psychiatrists and mental
    health professionals. (There were those who
    contended that life imprisonment would have
    satisfied the demands of justice; hence the
    basis for all the appeals.)

    I need not recapitulate the entire story.
    But the fact remains that every feasible
    avenue was explored—for roughly 25 years–
    in search of mitigating circumstances.

    However you look at it, this was a heinous and gruesome murder. A dedicated
    police officer was brutally beaten and shot
    to death.

    Any murder is horrendous. It diminishes
    the humanity of society. The Torah demands
    the ultimate punishment for this capital
    crime. Therefore, it is wrong to cast aspersions on the Governor of Florida for
    enforcing the law in light of the incriminating
    data. Baruch Dayan Emes.

  9. 1)If a yid kills a goy he is not chaive measa.
    so we have to do what we can do so save the life of a yid.

    2)In golus we cant do what we can to save a jewish life through thr gov’t?

    3)If we do whats right in G-Ds eyes it not called a chillel Hashem!!!

  10. Are you just a kind hearted individual, or do you belong to the Jewish nation? If you are Jewish, we happen to have a Torah that guides us, and if the Torah says a Jew (albeit a “druggie” as you say) must be saved, that comes before Hatian kids.
    Please do not fall for the trap of feeling guilty for your religion. We DO value yidden’s lives, no matter hos flawed- accept it; don’t try to convince yourself that it is “morally” better to help out Hatians.

  11. For my impulsive comment #12:Oh I take that back! To: S. Friedman (author of the article above). I misread and misunderstood the point. I like very much this article and have read it fully now. Thank you for taking the time to write this and share.

  12. If you read the whole article, I think he’s over Mr. Grossman, a”h. What he’s not over is bitter/cynical people such as yourself (your name, in addition to your comment suggests as much) who dismiss all “ernste” causes as being misguided and hypicritical.
    Stop criticizing and open your heart to feel another yid’s pain (even if he did bad things) instead of looking for ways to knock down everyone (especially if they’re yeshivish or not as “open minded” as you think yourself (yourselves) to be.

  13. #10 “He is not chaiev misa.” Rambam paskens
    he is chaiev (Mishnah Torah Hilchos Retzeekha 1:1) Explicit reference is made
    to a human being who is murdered.

    “We have to do what we can to save …”

    All legal avenues were explored. Those
    in favor had good intentions. But those
    who upheld the verdict also had good

  14. Enough with making all Jews look ridiculous because of this crazy effort to back up a murderer. What’s next, naming a street in Monsey “Martin Grossman Avenue”? Having our children dress up as brutal cop-killers on Purim?

    We’ve become a joke because of this Grossman movement. Not just to many of us, but to outsiders. I googled last night and saw how ridiculous we look to the world.

    Just wait until the Jews need to organize against something really important. The world will laugh at us. We’re like the boy that cried Grossman.

  15. #20- why don’t YOU stop letting google trends and perceptions of goyim (who will always hate us anyways; eisav sonei es yaakov) guide what you do or won’t.
    We’re not “honoring a hero.” We were trying to save a Jewish person. It’s called hatzolas nefoshos. The Gedolim that supported this thankfully are above the influence of “how the world looks at us” via chat rooms, blogs etc… and they made their decision based on the situation.
    (Not saying it’s open shut- he did commit murder, but the Gedolim said to try to save his life)

  16. 21, we WERE trying. If this would have happened twenty years ago, at this point, his name would be said in hushed tones, with a pain in the heart for the chaval that was his life, but there would be no talk about his being
    – a tzadik gamur
    – on his way to being a tzadik gamur
    – a semi tzadik gamur
    – 7.3 on the tzadik gamur richter scale.

    And no one, NO ONE would put the initials hy”d after his name as I’ve actually seen.


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