Saturday, September 1, 2012

Justice still preserved: John Lennon's killer denied parole again

Lennon sometime in the 1970s
Late last month, New York officials denied Mark David Chapman's seventh request for parole, and he will remain imprisoned for murdering musician and former Beatle John Lennon back in 1980.

He has been imprisoned since he pled guilty to the crime back then and was sentenced to a 20-years-to-life term.  Looking back through the haze of almost 32 years, it is amazing that his sentence was that light.
The circumstances in which he murdered Lennon were horrible. The musician was returning to his home after an evening in a recording studio. Chapman stepped out of the shadows and shot him four times in the back. Lennon received massive injuries and was pronounced dead soon after at a local hospital.
Murder is a cowardly act, but Chapman’s execution of Lennon was especially cowardly. What kind of a person lurks in the darkness and then shoots an unarmed man in the back? There has been much written about Chapman's mental state at the time, and maybe this helps explain his deeds.
Still, it is hard to imagine why a man who committed such a grisly crime would even have the option to apply for parole. I believe in rehabilitation, and I hope Chapman has experienced that in prison. Despite this, his crime was so heinous that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.
However, in a few years, I am sure we will hear another report about another parole hearing regarding Chapman. I suppose there is a chance he could get out someday, but given the nature of his crime and who he killed, I think those chances are slim.
Even after all these years, I would not rule out the possibility of another misguided person lurking in the shadows waiting to kill Chapman if he got out. Let us face it – we are a violent society, and people are becoming more and more uninhibited when it comes to administering what they feel is true justice. Vigilantism is not the way to go, especially in a case like this because Lennon advocated concepts of love and peace so much.
Based on what I have read, Lennon was a man of many faces. Though he advocated peace, he was deeply complicated, and even he admitted he had aspects of his personality that were not so pretty. Despite this, there can be no denying the impact he and The Beatles had on contemporary society.
I am sure some people could have quite a discussion regarding whether that impact was totally good, but the fact there was an impact is a matter of historical fact. A generation was changed primarily because of The Beatles. Not many other musicians can say that or many other people period for that matter.
Though December 8 will mark the thirty-second anniversary of Lennon's death, it is a memory that remains as vivid as yesterday. I am not old enough to remember The Beatles before they disbanded, but I was aware of the four members when I was growing up in the 1970s.
Like with so many other prominent people, I can remember where I was when Lennon died. I was 15 years old and laying in my bed watching Monday Night Football.  The New England Patriots were playing the Miami Dolphins. Commentator Howard Cosell announced Lennon’s death and I was aware enough of his importance that the game lost its significance to me.
Though Chapman's crime was horrible and is still remembered, Lennon is the one who will be remembered as we go through time. A hundred years from now, Lennon will still be played on the radio. As for Chapman, I do not think we will give him a second thought.

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