On December 8, 1980, one of the world’s most famous musicians lost his life much too soon. That statement refers to the unfortunate death of the celebrated Beatle, John Lennon, who was shot and senselessly killed in New York City 35 years ago today. Had he been alive today Lennon would have turned 75 on October 9.
For his evil deed, the shooter, Mark David Chapman, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison and he was last denied parole in August of 2014. (Chapman has rightfully been denied parole 8 times and his next opportunity will come in August of 2016). When he was last denied parole Chapman could only remark that he was “sorry for causing that type of pain,” and that he was “sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory.”
(At a 2010 hearing, Chapman claimed that he had also considered shooting Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor however, he chose Lennon because he was more accessible and that his century-old apartment building by Central Park “wasn’t quite as cloistered.”). An appalling and delusional confession indeed.
The crime was committed at Lennon’s residence at a place called “the Dakota,” which was a century-old luxury apartment house.
Lennon resided there with his wife, Yoko Ono. Across the street from the Dakota was Central Park. Police would later say that Lennon and his wife were walking into the enclosed courtyard of the Dakota at about 10:50 p.m. when five shots rang out. Despite being mortally wounded, after being shot Lennon staggered up a few steps into the building and then he collapsed.
According to Jack Douglas, Lennon’s then producer, Lennon had come from a midtown studio called the Record Plant which Lennon had left at about 10:30 p.m. Lennon had said he was going to get something to eat and go home according to Douglas.
Unfortunately for Lennon, Chapman had been crouching in the archway of the Dakota and when Lennon arrived with Ono Chapman fired. Despite extensive resuscitation efforts and transfusions Lennon did not make it.
It is sad to think that anyone should lose their life to a murderous act. However, what is more disturbing about John Lennon’s death is that a lunatic at some point thought that by wrongfully taking someone else’s life that he could achieve “glory.” The heinous nature of that statement is about as repulsive as it gets. Lennon, despite his views or actions, did not deserve to die when he did and it certainly was not Chapman’s prerogative to make the choice as to whether Lennon lived or died. Unfortunately, Chapman thought it was.
However, today should not be about Chapman. Today should be about Lennon and remembering a musician who helped form one of the most popular bands of all time and who also made significant contributions to the world of music. Regardless of your taste and views Lennon’s passing is sad. It is sad because he lost his life when he did not have to and sad because the world was deprived of a unique musical talent, the likes of which we won’t see again. For that we take a moment to remember Lennon not just for the musician that he was but also for the person who left us too soon.