Murderer of John Lennon gets parole hearing
by Tom Blanton
There are three types of dung beetles in the world: rollers, tunnelers and dwellers. The rollers are noted for rolling dung into round balls; the tunnelers bury the dung wherever they find it; the dwellers neither roll nor burrow, but simply live in manure. It was a mixture of these three types of beetle that stealthily crawled onto a plane from Hawaii to New York City on the sixth of December, 1980, with a .38 special revolver, wicked intentions and less of a grip on reality than Dorothy when she dropped into Oz.
Mark David Chapman murdered John Winston Lennon, a Beatle of much more respectable sorts, on the night of Dec. 8, 32 years ago, and is now facing possible parole at the end of this week. The initial reasons behind his murder were found in a copy of Catcher in the Rye (CitR) Chapman had purchased the morning of to have on hand. In this copy, on the inside cover, he wrote: “This is my statement,” before signing it as “Holden Caulfield,” the protagonist of the novel. In all the craziness of the latter half of the 20th century, the murder of John Lennon, like the Manson murders a decade prior, marked the lower points in that phase of societies “mental” deterioration.
It’s hard not to question why they even began debating whether to give that savage little toady another chance at being a big boy after he so publicly killed a man, one of the greatest musicians that has ever been, at that. Chapman was diagnosed with insanity by the psychiatric evaluations he underwent, as though the CitR-driven murder of Lennon weren’t a dead giveaway. He’s still in prison and should remain there for life, not only for the safety of others, but for his own as well. If they could get their hands on him, loyal Beatles fans would stick his head on a spike and mold it to the top of the Apple Records building to ward off any more Chapman-type ghouls.
Now, three decades later, we see economies failing, countries internally bleeding, and the same mass paranoia resulting from the daffy aftermath caused by a few devilish beings. The now infamous “Dark Knight slayings” and Wisconsin Sikh Temple shootings, which have haunted an otherwise mundane and warm summer, have again teetered universal faith in humanity. With James Holmes, the self-proclaimed “joker” behind the midnight premiere massacre, set to stand trial for insanity, it can only be questioned when correlated to Chapman’s case whether or not he should be given the chance to use his obvious lack of sanity as an excuse.
“We’re all a bit mad here,” Lewis Carroll once proclaimed, and the words stand tough to truth. Without singularly looking at the aforementioned crimes, the insanity plea has been elevated to an easy “get out of jail” card for many sick freaks that should otherwise be fed to the chair or hung by their manhood. “I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Chapman recently stated about the murder, “I made a horrible decision to end another human being’s life, for reasons of selfishness.” Selfishness? You weak little tool; if selfishness were the motive then you belong to the gallows. Despite that, it’s hard not to respect Chapman – just a wee bit – for taking his punishment like a man and not standing behind the insanity curtain. As for Holmes, his insanity is so ridiculously transparent it should be physically impossible for him to hide behind it. Unfortunately, the law acknowledges “insanity” as a justifiable excuse for murder.
If Chapman is let out this week, Holmes can almost expect even better treatment with his cowardice stance behind the madness we all experience, but he was too weak to control. Heed these words, yee of little faith: vengeance on the murderer doesn’t bring the victims back; but when vengeance and justice overlap, it can sure as hell ease the parting blow.