Tag Archives: Mark David Chapman

Forgiveness for Lennon's killer? Oh, boy

Mark David Chapman wants what from Yoko Ono?

He wants the wife of the man he murdered 34 years ago to forgive him?


This one boggles my mind.

Chapman received a 20-years-to-life prison sentence for shooting music legend John Lennon in the back. He’s been denied parole several times in the years since then. John’s widow has argued with the New York state parole board against setting her husband’s killer free.

Now the man who put several generations of music lovers — not to mention those of us who loved The Beatles — into perpetual mourning wants Yoko Ono’s forgiveness.

How would I feel if such a tragedy had occurred in my life? Would I be able to forgive the individual who did such a terrible deed to someone I love?

I do not believe I could.

Then again, it is impossible to thrust oneself into another’s conscience when pondering such a request.

Therefore, I won’t offer any advice to Yoko Ono on how she should respond to this request from the man who murdered her husband.

But if it were me …


John Lennon helped raise a generation

Allow me this admission: I was one of relatively few Americans who did not hear the tragic news on this day 34 years ago from Howard Cosell during a “Monday Night Football” telecast.

Nope, I heard it on NBC News, which cut into one of its programs to tell me that John Lennon had been shot to death outside his New York apartment.

How does one describe the feeling of hearing such news? I cannot recall precisely how I felt. It might be that shock set in and with it a form of amnesia.

Time magazine’s cover the next week had the headline “When the Music Died.” And for me, it truly did die that night in front of the Dakota Building, where John lived with his wife, Yoko, and their young son, Sean.

I’ve said it many times over many years to many people: John Lennon and the fellows with whom he played some damn good music, The Beatles, helped raise me. Indeed, music was one of the defining characteristics of the period when millions of us came of age. It was in the 1960s. OK, maybe it was music and war — two curiously juxtaposed features of a time of profound change in this country.

John’s music will stand forever, as will the music he made with Paul, George and Ringo. It was difficult back then to explain this phenomenon to our parents. My own mother and father didn’t quite get it, although Mom later would appreciate The Beatles’ music performed by, say, a symphonic orchestra. Dad? He was a “big band” guy all the way.

The really cool and enduring part of that era’s music — exemplified by The Beatles — is that it’s easier now to explain to the generations that have come along in the years since that time. My own sons get it. It just knocks me out to see teenagers traipsing around Amarillo wearing shirts with “The Beatles” emblazoned on them, or with pictures of The Boys.

All of that — not to mention his active commitment to world peace — must be John Lennon’s enduring legacy to this very day.

I still miss him.




This killer must never walk free

Mark David Chapman has been denied parole yet again.

For the life of me, some elements of the criminal justice system seem unsolvable. Such as why someone like this ever would be considered for parole.

Chapman shot John Lennon to death on Dec. 8, 1980. As the parole hearing today noted, the officers interviewing Chapman denied him parole because “the victim,” Lennon, showed kindness to his killer before the bullet started flying that night in New York City.


The former Beatle had signed Chapman’s copy of Lennon’s new album, chatted briefly with him, boarded his limo and then returned later in the evening — to meet his bloody death at Chapman’s hand.

“This victim had displayed kindness to you earlier in the day, and your actions have devastated a family and those who loved the victim,” the parole board wrote. Among those who “loved” John Lennon was, well, me and millions of others around the world.

Chapman is among the world’s most notorious murderers who go through this parole ritual every couple of years, only to be denied. Two other stand out:

* Sirhan Sirhan, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s killer, gets the same treatment. As he should. Sirhan’s gunning down of RFK, it’s been argued, changed the course of political history in this country as Kennedy died while campaigning in June 1968 for the presidency of the United States.

* Charles Manson, who ordered the murders of actress Sharon Tate and several others in 1969, is a raving bleeping lunatic. If you’ve ever listened to this man talk — today — about what happened 45 years ago, then you understand that he needs to stay locked up forever.

Chapman has exhibited all the signs of a sociopath, someone with no conscience. OK, so John Lennon wasn’t a world leader. He was a musician and a songwriter whose work still stands as an anthem for several generations of people all around the world.

Good night, Mark David Chapman. May you rot in that cell.