John Lennon was assassinated by odd-ball, psychopath Mark Chapman, thirty three years ago, last Saturday [8th December], gunned down as he strolled from his limo to the entrance of his New York home, the Dakota Apartments on the posh upper Westside. John had what Gerry Adams might describe as a “laissez faire” disregard for his personal security.
Despite his swish address, he seemed to forget that he was in New York, a volatile city at anytime and he was careless enough to think he was immune from any attack. Tragically for him it turned out not to be the case.
As he cried out “Mr.Lennon,” his assassin, Mark Chapman, a twenty-five year old security guard from Honolulu, missed with his first shot and then fired four more shots of hollow point bullets into John’s back. These murderous bullets expand as they hit their target and there was nothing the surgeons could do to save John, when they got him to Roosevelt Hospital.
It’s not unreasonable to speculate that if John had a bodyguard with him on that fateful night, he could well have been saved in the tiny hiatus between the first missed shot and the other four bullets that struck him.
At his trial, Chapman cited part of his reason for murdering John was the flippant remark John had made, that The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”
Despite the fact that he was right, at that particular time, in the wake of his wry witticism, John had to bear the brunt of righteous anger that rose up and declared him to be a heretic.
Clearly, the decision to continue to travel as frequently as they did across New York in his limo, left John and Yoko open to the real possibility of attack. John had no borders. He was too trusting, always happy to stop and sign autographs for fans who waited outside the Dakota Apartments. At 5.40 p.m on that fateful evening, as John was leaving to go to the recording studio, he signed autographs for a small group of people, who had been keeping vigil from earlier. Chapman was in that group and John signed his copy of the Double Fantasy album.
Chapman continued his deadly vigil for the next few hours, waiting for John to return. He was noticed standing in the shadows by a cab driver and the doorman, who was an ex-CIA operative.
How ironic it was that the murderous security guard from Honolulu should take advantage of John’s personal lack of security. And on that fateful night, John became even more exposed when his limo pulled up at the sidewalk, outside the apartments, instead of driving into the more secure inner courtyard.
As he exited his limo, John glanced at Chapman and seemed to get a flash of recognition, probably from the earlier encounter, when he had signed Chapman’s album. Seconds later, the treacherous Chapman ended the life of one of the major musical talents and most interesting characters of the 20th century. When the ambulance hadn’t arrived quickly enough, John was lifted into the back of a patrol car and whisked away to Roosevelt Hospital. Chapman took off his coat to show that he had no weapons other than the gun, which he placed on the sidewalk beside him. He sat down calmly and waited for the police to arrive and in his hand he was clutching J.D. Salinger’s famous book “Catcher In The Rye”
The doorman shouted at him “Do you know what you have done?,” Chapman replied, “I just shot John Lennon.”
Monday Night Football is like a religion in America and a huge audience was watching and listening on the night of December 8th, when America’s most famous sports commentator, Howard Cosell, interrupted the final seconds of the football commentary, with the words, “remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps, of all of The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which, in duty bound, we have to take.”
There was a lot of people duty bound, the afternoon that Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were ambushed, but sadly there was no door-man to shout “do you know what you’ve done?” But finally twenty four years later. Gerry Adams finally volunteered the answer.
“I have commended these officers, these RUC officers Buchanan and Breen as men who were doing their duty as they saw it, in the same way as it is my belief the IRA volunteers were doing their duty as they saw it.”Article Written by Shay Healy First Published in The Irish Daily Mail, Saturday 14th December 2013 Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99 Free Kindle Reader – download app