July 20, 2009
"Texas reporter's seen unrivaled number of U.S. executions"
The title of this post is the headline of this story now being featured at CNN.com. I am not quite sure why CNN now thinks it is newsworthy to note who has been a witness to the most executions, but here are snippets of this (human-interest?) piece:
It takes seven minutes to execute a death row inmate, according to the state of Texas. At that rate, Mike Graczyk has spent about 40 hours of his life watching men — and a few women — die.
Graczyk, a correspondent for The Associated Press, is believed to hold a macabre record. He's almost certainly watched more executions than anyone else in the United States....
He's on the witness list for 315 of the state's 439 executions — more than any other reporter, prison employee or chaplain — and no records were kept for another 80. In his early days, he kept count. But he eventually stopped. He didn't want to know....
Graczyk works in the AP's Houston bureau — it's closest to the state's execution chamber in Huntsville. Since the early 1980s, he's made the hourlong drive north almost every time an inmate has faced the needle....
Don Reid, a writer for the AP and, before that, a Texas newspaper, witnessed 189 executions in the 1960s, when Texas still strapped inmates to "Old Sparky," the nickname for the state's electric chair. The experience changed Reid, who died in 1981, from a supporter of the death penalty to an opponent. He wrote a book, "Have a Seat, Please," chronicling that transformation.
Graczyk said he doesn't worry about the mental toll of watching so many deaths. His bosses with the AP have offered counseling. He's declined. "To see someone go to sleep — not to sound insensitive — but the carnage at the murder scene is harder than what you see in the death house in Huntsville," he said.
July 20, 2009 at 12:31 PM | Permalink
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The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
Posted by: Dante | Jul 20, 2009 12:38:11 PM
Yeah, Dante, an AP reporter doing his job belongs in hell . . . .
Were you born that stupid, or did you have to work at it?
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 1:29:43 PM
I was blessed at birth to look stupid to people like you.
I'd say the attitude revealed by Grackzyk amounts to an almost Berman-like shrug of the shoulders about the matter.
Any one who displays an attitude of indifference to what has been going on in Texas in particular is jaded, not objective.
Posted by: Dante | Jul 20, 2009 2:36:38 PM
Whatever, Dante. It's this guy's job. What's he supposed to do, cry about it? Even assuming the death penalty is unjust, there are a lot more injustices in the world than the execution of murderers, both in terms of scale and in terms of justice.
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 2:43:55 PM
For some of us the unnecessary taking of a life by the state is the worst injustice of all.
Absent perhaps some sort of "rebirth" of your own, Fed, I suspect you're not going to have an inkling of what that's about.
Posted by: Dante | Jul 20, 2009 3:05:39 PM
"For some of us the unnecessary taking of a life by the state is the worst injustice of all."
Wow. I would think that the wrongful incarceration of an innocent person would be more unjust than a murderer being executed, but hey, Dante's got his code, and he's sticking to it. For the benefit of those less enlightened than you, Dante, could you please explain how the execution of a murderer is worse than the incarceration of an innocent person. Just like to hear it.
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 3:56:47 PM
Thank you for a demonstration of professional nuanced legal analysis of levels of justice. You must have gone to a tough law school.
Back here in simple land: You won't hear it. And that's the point.
Posted by: Dante | Jul 20, 2009 4:09:46 PM
Called out on hyperbole and no response . . . .
Way to go, genius.
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 4:19:01 PM
Posted by: Dante | Jul 20, 2009 4:28:50 PM
Whatever Dante. I ask you to explain something, and you cannot. When I toss around ad hominem, I can at least defend my point of view and deal with the merits. You cannot, and yet you act like your oh-so-enlightened. Take your unilluminating dorm-room twaddle to the DailyKos.
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 4:56:37 PM
Your should be "you're"
Posted by: federalist | Jul 20, 2009 6:46:40 PM
Dante: The abolitionist immunizes all crime after the first murder. As James Bond does, the murderer has a license to kill with governmental immunity. Is that OK with the left wing ideologue, criminal lover, rent seeking lawyer?
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 21, 2009 9:07:54 AM
“See someone go to sleep?” Interesting way for anyone over the age of 5 to characterize an execution…but then Graczyk is a Texan.
And federalist, did we learn nothing from Strother Martin’s character in Cool Hand Luke? Calling it your job don’t make it right.
"What’s (Graczyk) supposed to do?"
Well, he could ask for another assignment. Apparently his bosses would understand. He could quit.
As a last resort he could fake a more humane response to the question: What’s it like to watch 400 ritual killings?
Dante’s word, "jaded," seems apt...maybe even charitable.
Posted by: John K | Jul 21, 2009 10:11:28 AM
John K, as much as I can be sure in life, I could perform 400 executions and sleep just fine. It's. Just. Not. That. Big. Of. A. Deal.
Reporters have a job to do. It brings them to witness all sorts of unpleasant things. How is Graczyk any different from a war correspondent?
Posted by: federalist | Jul 21, 2009 11:13:40 AM
Why does it always come down to slandering Texas? This article could have been just as well posted without the additional commentary on a specific state.
Posted by: Concerned Texas | Jul 21, 2009 3:05:04 PM
Hey I'll take the mans job, I would have no problem whatsoever sleeping at night. As far as i am concerned, Texas is the only state that is doing it right and has their crap together when it comes to executing these monsters. Oh, and to the tree huger Dante, you think there is not a bigger "injustice in the world" than to execute a cold blooded murder? OK idiot, what about the "injustice" of the murderous act itself that got these heinous, inhuman beasts where they are to begin with? Go screw yourself Dante, and you too John K., and take your little violins with you. And the next time some murderer comes up for parole and God forbid makes it, you can let them move in with you and your family. Time to thin the herd anyway.
Posted by: L & N | Jul 28, 2009 10:57:26 AM