Vintage Video: NBC News Report on the Murder of John Lennon

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11 & VVN Music

John Lennon was murdered in New York on December 8, 1980. Since then 1.1 million more people have been shot dead in America.

Lennon’s death stunned the world but it did not change America, a nation that claims to believe in God but murders more of its citizens than any other nation on Earth. The only three letter G word gun-toting Americans really believe in is GUN.

John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman has been in prison for the past 35 years. The then 25 year old Chapman shot John Lennon outside of John and Yoko’s home at The Dakota building in New York. Lennon was 40. He would now be 75-years old.

What is eerie is that the story may have ended differently. Chapman was also obsessed with Todd Rundgren and had previously searched around Woodstock for Todd but didn’t find him. Chapman was wearing a Todd Rundgren t-shirt when he shot Lennon.

I spoke with Todd Rundgren about Chapman’s obsession with him. “There are a number of aspects. One is the danger of celebrity and watch out what you wish for,” Todd said. “I have never wanted celebrity and I don’t know if John Lennon wanted the celebrity he had at the time the fatal event happened. By then it was a mute question. John Lennon was a world wide recognised celebrity and I’m not. Therefore your profile makes you a bigger target because there are wacky people out there who get ideas and obsessions in their head that maybe have no basis in reality but in the end they are going to focus them on you.

Rundgren said he never felt threatened by Chapman’s fascination. “I don’t know that I was in any danger from him but I know that like, most artists, you encounter crazy fans, some of which you may suspect have the potential for violence. You experience the threat of violence. I have had assassination threats like somebody will call somebody before a show and say ‘if Todd Rundgren appears on stage I’m going to shoot him’. You can’t take that seriously. It’s just something that is a product of the cult of celebrity. Since I’ve never been committed to that I guess it keeps me out of the limelight and away from that”.

Chapman was given 20-years to life for his crime. He has appeared eight times before a parole board. The last time was in August, 2014. His parole has been rejected each time. His plea for release the last time was “I have peace now in Jesus. He has forgiven me and loves me.” Society did not.

Chapman is next eligible for appeal in August 2016.

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