Thursday, August 30, 2007

John Graziano's Candlelight Vigil

Well, I really thought I might be able to only blog every other day, but it seems there's always something that I feel I need to say, so this may be a failed experiment at it's birth.

Yesterday evening I attended the candlelight vigil of John Graziano. Graziano is the young man who was the passenger Hulk Hogan's son's car. You've probably heard of that terrible car crash in Clearwater, which resulted in Graziano's current state.

John Graziano is in critical condition, and there appears to be brain damage (although they're not saying the extent of it). Last night, I heard a self-styled "missionary" (who has been with the Graziano family for the last 72 hours) whisper that Graziano is currently completely and absolutely unresponsive.

It is obvious to most people that Hulk Hogan's son is going to turn out to be the "bad guy" in all this mess, and well he should be. After all, he has received numerous tickets for speeding, is into "drifting" and has been seen to try to antagonize other drivers on the street, attempting to get them to race him. Obviously he's a dangerous speed junkie and deserves to have the book thrown at him.

But he's not the only speed junkie. John Graziano has been reported to love the adrenaline rush. Friends recount that he would do anything for it: Skydiving, jet skiing, he lived for the thrill of the thrill.

So at the candlelight vigil last night, emotions were mixed and his family was defensive. Repeatedly, family members and friends spoke defiantly, demanding that others pray for and care about Graziano without taking into account any personal defects. They talked about his service as a Marine in combat, and his heroism overseas. They said he is more than "just a friend of so-and-so" and I can agree with all of that. But knowing Graziano's history, it seems more than possible that he knew what he was getting into. And whether it was for the rush or because he was basking in the glory of being part of the entourage, he went willingly.

During the vigil, there were wretched moments. It was stomach-turning to see some of the photographers get within inches of a knot of sobbing people, so that they could get the best shot of a tear-streaked face.

The man who pulled the vigil together (the self-styled "missionary" I'd mentioned before) was most obviously doing it for the press. He puffed himself out, spoke in stentorian tones, and did his best to show his plumage. This was his chance at fame, and he wasn't going to give away a moment of his 15 minutes. He brought along with him a guy who played keyboards, and a pretty blond singer who couldn't carry a tune and was obviously more concerned about where to set up and how to perform.

When someone from the press actually cared enough to ask him for his personal information, the "missionary" was happy to give his full title and claimed credentials, finally admitting that he was presently a missionary without a country to go to. He quickly added that he prays constantly, however: Apparently that's the current mission. Good thing the Grazianos came along with a personal tragedy he could attach himself to.

It was a sloppy mess of a vigil, with constant distractions. First the rains and lightning came, and everyone was forced to find shelter under a smallish, tin-roofed area. The sound system was quickly re-arranged and the entertainment commenced. It was appallingly false, and those people who had come willingly to genuinely pray for Graziano seemed baffled at the show-and-tell. A supposedly simple prayer vigil had moments of prayer interspersed with vast amounts of showboating and the whir and click of cameras.

Growing sick of it all, many made their escape before the candles were even lit. And as I left, I had the eerie impression that the focus had never once really been on the man we were praying for.


mal said...

why should anyone be surprised that there is always some one out there trying to take advantages of the problems of others. They have such fine examples in Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson after all

Anonymous said...

This post makes me think about the book Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Beyond all of the science fiction parts of the book the premise is that the main character speaks for the dead but speaks the truth about their life, both the good and the bad. The idea being that the speaker was able to see and understand a person's life better than anyone else. I think the idea behind it is good, instead of building someone up in their death, to tell the truth of their life. This young man is not dead yet but things aren't looking good. Far too often people lose site of the truth in their lives. It really is sad when you see people use tragic events for personal gain, it seems to be happening more and more lately.


The Lazy Iguana said...

Why can this guy go out and legally buy a car that clearly goes well beyond the speed limit? Is there ANY reason I should be able to buy a car that goes 150 mph? Huh? Well a lot of cars are advertised going fast, power sliding, drifting, and so on. So why? What is the target market?

Next time you see a car ad, really watch it. They will say things like "now with a 250 HP V-6 supercharged engine". And the car is a light weight 2 door model. And what does the ad show? A car going really fast, skidding, and so on. And in little print "professional driver on a closed course".

It is very easy to limit a car's top speed.

spanky3 said...

Sweet Thang,

I've never liked pretty boy Kevin Hayslett. I don't like what he does, I don't like his attitude and I don't like his hair.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gator, :D Kevin's a nice guy. Bad choice of clients, though...

Lazy, I agree - I've always wondered about that!!!

Ange, very true. I hadn't heard of the book, though: Interesting!

Mal, ah, so very true. Everytime there's a tragedy, the societal vampires come out,sniffing for blood.

Anonymous said...

It doesnt matter if John was a adruneline junkie or not fact is Nick broke the law. What kind of a father is Hulk for letting his so drive knowing of all of his tickets and why wasnt his license suspended?
John is not resp for any of this its all nicks fault. BTW I am 39 years old and dont know either person.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's time for Nick to grow up. The kid has previously been walking around with his head in the clouds. There's a painful-to-watch movie call "the fast and the furious" (atleast i believe that's the name) which was created to target teenage viewers. I think Nick watched it and has been trying to eminate the main character ever since. The main character is a teenage boy who gets into drift racing, drives wildly on public roads, and challenges drivers he encounters on the road to races. The movie romanticizes the actions of the "hero" I'd never heard of drift racing before suffering through the viewing of this flick.

Nick went to his dad and said "I want to get into drift racing." Although it normally takes years of training (and the kid didn't even have his normal driver's licence yet) he was behind the wheel of a professional car, in a race, within 2 weeks. wtf? Oh, and so he crashes the car before the race begins during pre-race warm-ups. No worries. The Hulk quickly called a dealership, had them speed issue a very expensive car to him against policy, had a team transform it into a drift-racing vehicle, and gave it to Nick in time so that he could still participate in the same-day race. Big surprise: he crashes it. I believe he had other crashes after that, but i'm not sure of those details, or whether or not they are facts. It was obvious he didn't belong behind the wheel, but because of his star power, that was overlooked. It's like the kid watching "mission impossible" then going to dad and saying "dad, i want to be an espionage artist," and within 2 weeks being provided with bombs, a personal helicopter, and all that other spy stuff. It's ridiculous.

I feel for the kid, for he is just that, but now it's time for him to pay up and grow up. I believe he deserves atleast a year of jail time.

As for the marine, my genuine prayers go out to him and his family. My cousin, who served in afghanistan, died tragically recently in the states. I met several of his comrades who spoke of his deeds in a way i'd never heard spoken of before. It affected me in a great way. Marines are crazy sons-of-bitches and i love them to death. My thanks and prayers to John Graziano.

Anonymous said...

You're right on some accounts: People posing for the cameras, puffing themselves up....etc. I was there too.
What you're dead wrong about is pseudo-blaming John G. for his condition in the hospital.
Are you idiotic????
He knew what he was getting into?
This is the reason I don't normally read pseudo-bloggers: They don't know what they're WRITING about.
Grow up, go back to the job.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Anon 1, You are correct on all counts. And, of course, all we know is that John G willingly got in the car with Nick. No one forced him in at gunpoint.

Anon 2, dittos all the way. Thanks for a well-thought-out contribution. I appreciated reading it.

Anon 3, just because you're a friend of John's doesn't change the facts. I'm sorry. I am well-known for my blunt and honest opinions. I don't lie or cover-up someone's flaws in order to make others feel better.

"anon 2" said...

"anon 2," though i'm actually technically 3 (you missed an "anon" :)) ---

to saurkraut: Thanks for the responding to my previous post.
p.s. I would have attended as well if I were in the area (mom's in seminole, me: tallahassee).

to "anon 1": you just described my aunt perfectly, lol. she's crashed many a funeral for the better :) hmmm..."speaker for the dead"...suits her


Saur♥Kraut said...

Julia, GREAT to hear from you! Thanks again for the contribution. Tallahasse's a great college town - enjoy it while you can! I was just there on business and REALLY liked it! I have a list I'm always adding to... places I say "Hey! I'd like to retire HERE!" That's a long way off, thankfully, but fun to think about.

julia said...

hey saur,

I've never blogged before, but after seeing your post (and venting) I started.

God, I HATE college towns! (just learned this recently).

sorry, no hope for enjoyment, lol

In no way would I ever want to retire here. Hate it! Hate it! Hate it!

I was recently scanning the net for trips to the most northern point of alaska. It took a few minutes for me to snap out of it.

julia said...

p.s. check out the "lisey's story" comment i posted to you. *chuckle*

Saur♥Kraut said...

Julia, feel free to email me at saurblog at hotmail dot com! Where's the Lisey's Story comment? I missed it... :P Sorry. Yeah, I hated Gainesville when I went there. Perhaps it's merely the association of work and stress, and we didn't give that town a fair shake.

Anonymous said...


John was an adrenaline junkie
John also jumped in his mates car with no gun pointed to his head

Nick liked drifing
Nick was a spoiled brat
Nick couldn't drive for s*it

How in the hell can you let someone who (from just reading this page) crashes a car at high speed . and yes the police agree on that . still be walking around. this bastard should be in jail and locked up . how would you feel if this was your son that was brain damaged .

I've seen the result's of this exact kind of accident MANY times, being rescue in the fire brigade. Hell 9 times out of ten i was helping zip up the body bag for the corner . Ohhh but wait this guys dad is hulk hogan .. and i forgot this is america .. not Australia .

if it was Australia they'd of gone from hospital to court to jail .

Where is the justice? the guy broke the road rules and he should pay the price.

Anonymous said...

- yes nick loved speed
- yes nicks blood alcohol level was over the legal limit two hours after the crash
- yes he is hulk hogans son
but this was one of his best friends who hed known since he was six do you people really think he is walking around with his head held high NO he is not he sat with john every day in the hospital praying for his recovery and he has to live with this till the day hye dies so i think he will be punished forever but thats what you people want isnt you cant let anyone live their lives!!!!

Anonymous said...

I HATE YOU PEOPLE all you want is people to crash and burn so we can mock them you dont care their just front page news to you!!!

Anonymous said...

My friend was in combat in Iraq with John and this whole thing has done nothing but tear him apart. He has strong dislike for the Hogans seeing as how they keep "making excuses" and saying hes getting better. The truth of the matter is hes not getting better right now. yes he can blink his eyes and when u are comotose your body flinches because of muscle spasms. It pisses me off to hear people talk about it when theyve never been into that room with John. My friend goes down there about once a month to see him and its the hardest thing to see... i just hope nick doesnt get a free ride because of his fathers celebrity.

sarah said...

its not so much we want to see people crash a burn and be on the front page you shit head, we want fair sentencing for people who fuck up and turn there friend into a vegtable. the hogan family KNEW about nicks driving in fact i recall seeing several epasodes of hogan knows best were hulk is telling nick to quit the street racing! and this proved he just never listened. Oh yeah and if i was the one prosicuting nick hogans life would officialy have been over. oh and where is a 17 year old getting alcohol?!? and if john gave it to nick then shouldnt john have been driving insted oh yeah and john should have probably wore his seat belt i know in most starts it the law... to me they are both idiots one because he doesnt know how to NOT show off... the other because he doesnt know how to buckle up!
oh and i didnt believe nick hogans "im sorry" bullshit he fead to the judge the whole time i watched and all he gave a shit about was hearing he wasnt going to do some hard time in a jail cell... well nick maybe a penis up the butt is what you need right about now because obviously your dad telling yelling at you didnt work! you spoiled kid... oh yeah people i went there.... spoild as hell! i wish my dad would let me drive his sports car around with alcohol in my system and race it on teh street

Anonymous said...

Please boycott the Bollea/Hogan family!! Copy the following, Go to NBC & Viacom (VH1) websites & paste:

This is to let you know that there will be a major boycott of your networks if Viacom picks up & airs any show that the Bollea aka Hogan family are a part of. This is based on the just released audio conversations Mr. Bollea had with his incarcerated son placing blame on the victim of the tragic car wreck that Nick Bollea (who was drunk courtesy of his father who purchased the alcohol for his minor child) caused. It also shows they have no remorse for what has happened to John Graziano (the victim)& their only concern is for their own financial gain.
This notice is also being placed on TMZ's website for others to follow suit.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Why would you be surprise that people were there just because of press of 15 minutes of fame. I am sure that if this kid was not in an accident with Hogan's son most people would not care much less goes to a candlelight vigil. I do not think that you are better than these people, you are all profiting off this kid's tragedy and that is a damn shame, so I don't think that you should be too judgmental and sick to your stomach as you are in the same boat as the press and the minister.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to the family of John.
The young man fought for our country to come back and die in a car. I am deeply sad for this familly.
Nick should get time for the death.